There are plenty of places to find courses of education in the modern day. The majority of these are through institutions such as schools or colleges that have been approved and are managed by governmental employees.
However, more and more in the modern day, people are turning to alternative learning institutions, with the majority of the trusted ones being in the online sphere.
There are many platforms online that are specific towards educating people through courses or video lectures.
While these are all fantastic, the problem is with knowing whether certification from these courses will get you anywhere. If they are not accredited, then it is unlikely.
So, which courses are accredited courses? And what even is accreditation anyway? In this article, we will look at this in more detail and explore where you can get accredited courses nowadays.
What Is An Accredited Course?
Anyone can make an educational course – you can do it, I can do it – but that doesn’t mean that that course is going to be given any respect, hold any weight in education circles, or be free to give out legitimate qualifications.
While you can give out qualifications for your course no matter what it is, if they do not have an accreditation in them, then they are basically just scraps of paper.
This is where accreditation is vital, as an accredited course is one that has been examined and approved by a professional organization with key knowledge of what you are teaching.
For example, if you are studying Dentistry in the US and you study an accredited course, then it will likely be approved by the American Dental Association.
This will show that this course covers all the things you need to know to get by in this industry or perform in this industry to a legally, respectable standard.
It is a mark of quality and trust on a course, with it often being the thing that means you can actually get a job.
In fact, for most careers you need to be accredited or have done an accredited course to even get the job and if you can’t prove you have, they will almost never let you past the interview stage.
Not every profession needs you to take an accredited course, but they will often like your course to be backed up by years of experience and the course is simply proving you have the academic knowledge as well as the practical knowledge, for example, a civil engineer may have years of knowledge constructing highways, but may need to just get a course under their belt to show their superiors that they physical evidence along with their own skill.
Which Courses Are Accredited?
This is a bit of a tough question to answer, due to the fact that there are so many courses to take in the world and so many places where you can get accredited and non-accredited course certifications that it can be hard to organize them appropriately.
Therefore, we decided to put them into two categories: those that are physically in our world, but offer online courses and those that exist in the online sphere only.
Physical Accredited Courses
Most schools, colleges, and vocational schools offer accredited courses, in fact that makes up 99% of their courses. However, a few of them also offer online courses that are accredited as well.
These include some big names as well, including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Yale.
What’s even more extraordinary is that these places tend to offer some courses for absolutely free, including all of those mentioned above.
Considering how expensive these colleges are – some of them costing around $75,000 per year – the fact that they would just give away courses seems like a scam, but it is true and these are all accredited.
While this may seem like a dream come true, there are some caveats to this. For starters, most of these courses are basically additional courses or introductory courses, but not main ones.
You are not going to find an advanced Physics 101 in there, but you may find an interesting course about How Physics affects the earth’s orbit.
Another problem is that you don’t get all the material from these courses. You will actually probably have to purchase the material in addition to signing up for the course.
Sometimes these materials cost a little bit as well. In other cases, you may have to sign up to a different accredited online course to keep up.
This may seem a little disappointing at first, but honestly it is actually a good thing.
It gives you a taste of what you can do on a course like this and so you could easily go out and find a course more in your price range that is just as accredited, which there are plenty of other options for.
Online Platforms That Give Accredited Courses
While there are many learning platforms out there today that give you educational courses, only a few of them are truly accredited, however they are worth doing a course with:
One of the best online learning platforms around, Coursera doesn’t just offer courses, it offers actual academic courses that are taught by real professors who come from universities to do this.
Coursera has partnered with over 200 universities and professional companies to do this, with each of them approving the courses provided on the website.
Due to the respect this platform has, the course you take with Coursera could actually have some real life benefits and help you grow your career exponentially.
The only courses that are not accredited on the site are those that are free, as you don’t get a certification for them.
Coursera also offers multimedia courses, which means that for your course you can have lessons constructed based on your class, personalized videos uploaded, and be assigned homework that is then graded for you, adding to the real classroom experience.
The best part is that the courses are a fraction of the cost of a college course, with the cheapest being around $40 and the college-level ones being closer to $2000.
If you wanted you could pay $399 a year and get unlimited access to over 3000 courses for just that price.
While Coursera might be the best all round online accredited course platform, EdX might have the most pedigree and might rival it in almost every other aspect.
It was founded by Harvard and MIT in conjunction, with all the courses on the website being real college courses taught by college instructors from both schools.
The courses are normally quite STEM focused and tend to neglect the arts, humanities, and languages, but the focus on these subjects means that they are done really well.
In fact, you can do a micro degree course to a bachelors or master’s level, which is a huge plus for professional and work promotions.
The majority of EdX classes are free, which is fantastic, however there is a big old catch, which will trip people up.
If you want formal verification of your academic achievement for professional purposes, then you are going to have to pay, and that can be a steep amount.
It is generally $49 per class, which can add up if you’ve had to do a lot of them.
While they do offer financial assistance, some courses aren’t eligible for it, so you may be priced out of the market.
Is It Worth Taking A Course From An Non-Accredited Institution?
It depends on what you want to do with your new knowledge and what course you take. If you are looking to advance your career, then we would advise against it in most cases.
This is because most professional companies or workplaces won’t believe that you can actually do what you say you can, and if you may incur a lawsuit if you are found to be incompetent.
There are a couple of exceptions to this, like if you take a language course and master a foreign language, it is pretty easy to prove mastery over another language to a professional company in the space of a matter of moments, whereas proving that through engineering is way harder.
However, if you wish to take these courses for your own personal growth, benefit, or projects, then we say go right ahead.
Most of the people who work for these non-accredited institutions are experts in their own right and are doing this because they are avid hobbyists who can impart a lot of wisdom on you, maybe even to the level of an accredited course provided by an expert can.
Just remember to take anything that is said either with a pinch of salt or with the knowledge that there may be better ways to do this.
There are many courses out there, but not many of them are accredited.
Remember that accredited courses are the ones that employers and professionals will look for, but if you are just doing a course as a hobby then you should go do the non-accredited one.