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School accreditation is a voluntary process. Accredited schools are considered to have undergone a form of quality assurance that certifies curriculum, teaching staff and also scope of instruction to be competitive with other institutions of higher learning. In the United States, schools may be regionally or nationally accredited.
There are, however, additional accrediting bodies that fall under neither category. In the article entitled “How to Avoid Unaccredited Degrees," Bright Hub’s Thomas Trzyna explains that a selected number of accrediting bodies are currently recognized by the Department of Education (DOE). Other organizations – although they may offer accreditations to a variety of schools – are not sanctioned.
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Accrediting Bodies in Religious Studies
Ames Christian University – Bachelor of Biblical Studies
This Bible study bachelor’s degree allows majors in “Christian counseling," “Youth Ministry," “Music Ministry," “Evangelism" and “Pastoral Ministry." A three credit course costs $198. This school is accredited by the World-Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WWAC). This accrediting body is not recognized by the DOE.
Even so, the fact that the school operates out of Florida makes it potentially exempt, as a religious school, from the need for accreditations. This limits the educational value of its bachelor’s degrees to use within ministry work.
Christian Leadership University – Bachelor in Bible Knowledge
Students must finish a 120 credit program that covers Bible Knowledge, Life in the Spirit, Life Skills and Leadership Skills. This school, too, is accredited by the WWAC. In addition, it holds a certification from the Apostolic Council for Educational Accountability (ACEA). Neither bodies are recognized by the DOE.
Oral Roberts University – Bachelor of Science
ORU offers bachelor degrees in Christian Care Giving, Business Administration, Liberal Studies and Church Ministries. Per credit, tuitions costs about $399. Unlike the other schools, it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which is recognized by the Department of Education and therefore also eligible for financial aid.
In addition, it is recognized by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Moreover, its individual programs also hold accreditations by various accrediting organizations. For example, the School of Business is recognized by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
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Why It Matters
Attending an online accredited Bible study college is important if the degree is a springboard to another degree or may be used to earn a governmental licenser. If the school is not accredited by an organization that the DOE recognizes, your hard earned degree may matter little when you want to build on the bachelor’s with a master’s degree in a field that eventually leads to a clinical or teaching certificate or license.
On the flip side, if the degree is primarily for the sake of meeting an educational requirement for a faith community, then it matters little what DOE recognized organization accredits it, as long as the faith community does.
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- Ames Christian University – Bachelor of Biblical Studies: http://www.ameschristian.org
- Christian Leadership University – Bachelor in Bible Knowledge: http://www.cluonline.com
- Oral Roberts University – Bachelor of Science: http://www.oru.edu
Who Accredits Accreditation Agencies for Distance Learning Bible Study Colleges?
Whether students are looking for an online Bible college or a distance learning program to become a pastor or minister, understanding accreditations has the potential of making a huge difference.