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What Is the Difference Between ACCSC & ACCET?

by Sarah Moore

Both the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training certify institutions that offer higher learning for adults. Though they perform many of the same functions, however, the certification process is slightly different for each.

Accrediting Institutions

Accrediting institutions determine whether or not institutions are offering valid, valuable instruction and degrees that help their students succeed in their careers. By establishing standards, values and practices that institutions must meet to receive accreditation, the ACCSC and the ACCET both ensure that educational programs are performing adequately and that any institution that has received accredited status from them is worth attending for the programs it offers.

Trade and Tech Monitor

Originally titled the Accrediting Commission of the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools, or NATTS, ACCSC was founded in 1965 as a body that affirmed whether or not trade and technical schools were fulfilling their mandates. The U.S. Department of Education recognized NATTS in 1967 as a nonprofit authority on educational standards. After a few more convolutions, the organization settled on the name Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and now focuses on both non-degree-granting institutions and degree-granting institutions. It also certifies institutions that offer degrees through distance learning.

Continuing Education Expertise

Established in 1974, the ACCET is a bit later to the game than ACCSC. It performs many of the same functions, however, it determines whether education practices and training programs offered by institutions are valid and sound. Its standards for applying are rigorous -- including two years of operation and no withdrawal of accreditation from another institution -- and focus on continuing education beyond that required for academic credentials. However, the ACCET accredits almost any institution that provides degrees up to the level of an associate as long as they meet the requirements.

The Difference Is the Degree

While ACCET performs many of the same functions that ACCSC does, they do so at different levels. The highest-level programs that ACCET accredits are those handing out two-year associate degrees, in addition to less-intensive certificate and diploma programs. On the other hand, ACCSC certifies not only training programs and non-degree certification programs, it also accredits colleges and post-secondary institutions that offer degrees up through associate, baccalaureate and master’s levels. However, though it may accredit organizations with higher degrees, ACCSC mainly certifies institutions that focus on occupational, trade and technical careers.

About the Author

Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.

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