There are many operators out there in the world offering ‘life experience’ qualifications, mostly online. These degrees/diplomas are utterly worthless because there is no real education, training or learning behind them. You pay your money and receive what is effectively a useless piece of paper.
How these degree-mills – or diploma mills – as they are often known, operate is that they usually claim to offer you a qualification based on your life experience, without any need to study. This, of course, is complete nonsense. While it is true that there are a small number of reputable colleges out there that count experience towards certain qualifications, there are some important differences. Such experience could more accurately be called ‘work-experience’, and in addition to being vocationally relevant, it is expected to be certified by a reputable employer. Furthermore, it is accepted for credits in lieu of part of the course of study. Rarely, if ever, is such experience accepted as the sole criteria for being awarded an educational qualification, such as the ‘mills’ offer.
Many people out there who pay for these so-called qualifications are aware of what they are doing, and they see it as obtaining, quickly and cheaply, a piece of paper that they believe will be of use. ”Hey, I can get my ‘qualification’ cheap and fast, and it will be enough to get me a job.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Any serious employer out there knows who these degree mills are, and they will treat the piece of paper you show them from these operations with the contempt they deserve.
Many other people genuinely believe they are getting a worthwhile certification. They are told by the operator selling them their degree that it is a fully accredited institution. Perhaps it is – but what they are not told is that the accreditation institute itself is not in turn accredited by any government, state, ministry or reputable international organization. These have become known as accreditation mills.
Ultimately, there is only one way to get a decent, worthwhile qualification: you work for it. There are no shortcuts. While we may all dread exams, and find it difficult to knuckle down to serious study, there is no other way. Plain and simple.
A list of these extremely disreputable institutions would be too long to publish here. However, here is a list of so-called accreditation bodies (as of May 2013). If you see any organization claiming to be accredited by these, be very careful. in fact, some of these ‘accreditation’ bodies approach legitimate institutions offering accreditation (we were recently approached by one of them) for a hefty fee, and in some cases, it is possible that these educational and training institutions may genuinely become prey, not knowing any better.
We suspect the list is not complete, but it will hopefully be a help to those of you who are seeking online courses leading to serious qualifications.
- Accreditation Council for Distance Education (ACTDE)
- Accreditation Council for Online Academia (ACOHE)
- Accreditation Panel for Online Colleges and Universities (APTEC)
- Accrediting Commission International (ACI)
- American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions
- American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
- American Association of Drugless Practitioners (ADP)
- Association of Accredited Bible Schools
- Association of Distance Learning Programs (ADLP)
- Association of Private Colleges and Universities
- Association for Online Academic Accreditation
- Association for Online Excellence
- Association for Online Academic Excellence
- Board of Online Universities Accreditation (BOUA)
- Council for Distance Education
- Council of Online Higher Education
- Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools
- Distance and Online Universities Accreditation Council (DOUAC)
- Distance Learning International Accreditation Association (DEIAA)
- Global Accreditation Bureau (GAB)
- Global Accreditation Commission for Distance Education (GACDE)
- Global Accreditation Council for Online Academia
- International Commission for Higher Education
- International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU)
- International Accreditation Association for Online Education (IAAFOE)
- International Accreditation Commission (IAC)
- International Accreditation Commission for Online Universities (IACOU) (Kingston)
- International Accreditation Organization (IAO)
- International Council on Education (ICE)
- International Education Ministry Accreditation Association
- International Online Education Accrediting Board (IOEAB)
- National Academic Higher Education Agency (NACHE)
- National Academy of Higher Education
- National Accreditation and Certification Board (NACB)
- National Board of Education (NBOE)
- National College Accreditation Council (NCAC)
- National Commission of Accredited Schools (NCAS)
- National Distance Learning Accreditation Council (NDLAC)
- New Millennium Accrediting Partnership for Educators Worldwide
- Organization for Online Learning Accreditation (OKOLA)
- Transworld Accrediting Commission Intl. (TAC)
- United Christian College Accreditation Association (UCCAA) (Divine Heart)
- United Nations Council
- United States Distance Education & Training Council of Nevada (NOTE: A similarly titled agency, the Distance Education & Training Council (DETC), of Washington, D.C., is a VALID and RECOGNIZED online learning accreditation agency.)
- Universal Accreditation Council (UAC)
- Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
- World Association for Online Education (WAOE)**
- World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)
- World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC)
- World-Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WWAC)
- Worldwide Higher Education Accreditation Society (WHEAS)