To begin, let’s take a look at what accreditation means and who’s accrediting.
There are six regional accreditation agencies, but there are also national accreditation and specialized accreditation agencies. The six regional accrediting agencies cover the United States and review the programs, campuses, and education delivery of their respective, regionally located colleges and universities. National accrediting agencies perform the same functions as the regional agencies; however, they generally focus on for-profit schools. Some of the national accrediting agencies are Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT), Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), and Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). They also accredit faith-based colleges and universities. Lastly, students studying in such fields as dentistry, medicine, nursing, and law generally need to graduate from accredited programs with specialized accreditation from professional associations.
When people speak of accreditation, they generally are referring to the regional accrediting agencies because they cover the majority of traditional colleges and universities. And for some reason, students and parents believe that because an institution is accredited that if they study a particular curriculum it is preparing them for a particular career. Not always the case.
Personally, my undergrad and graduate degree are in English; however, none of the courses prepared me for teaching: composition, literature, technical writing, critical thinking, and so on. Even when I studied to obtain a position in the computer field, the curriculum did little to prepare me for the type of programming I ended up doing. In addition, I have met, spoken to, and read about numerous business professionals who mention that their business degree has been of little use to them. Even my lawyer friend—the university he attended receiving specialized accreditation—speaks to the fact that there is a great difference between what he learned in school and what he is now doing on the job.
My point being that, certainly, there is a great difference between theory and application, but more importantly, the majority of time students attend a college or university believing that the education received will prepare them for a particular career. No. It is critical that students do their research to discover not only what they want to do but what the job they’ll be doing requires. And this involves more work than one may initially perceive.
To limit the poor education to job or career match, first one must thoroughly know one’s talents, abilities, and gifts, for it is here where one will not only find a career but in exploiting these personal attributes life-satisfaction and self-actualization. But this is an involved process and even after discovering what one was put here to do, it is imperative that he or she stick to it.
For example, Albert Einstein knew what he was put here to do; however, he went a good decade of seeing his great insights ignored. At times he was so despondent he felt little desire to carry on. At one point he even considered going into sales. Imagine seeing Einstein at your door selling encyclopedias. Even the great politician Abraham Lincoln had to put aside his talents, ambitions, desires, and gifts for close to three decades as he failed time and again to get elected to office. He finally succeeded at the young age of fifty-two. Imagine where this country would be if he had given up?
So after one truly discovers and, most importantly, commits to exploiting one’s talents, abilities, and gifts, he or she must understand the success principles involved that will aid in the achieving of one’s goals: self-control, accountability, doing more than one’s asked, how to profit from failure, and so many more.
Bottom line, it is the individual’s responsibility to know the limitations of education, what he or she was put here to do, how to stick to the plan or goal of exploiting and capitalizing on those gifts and talents, and to build an accurate match between education and career. No accrediting institution will do this work for you. And equally important is to avoid going into a career because a parent has or advises you to go into a career against your better judgment (for how can you do that which will occupy one-third of your life without passion?), because that’s simply where the prestige or the money is; go into a career because you know that is where you need to be to not only satisfy your desires but to come to the aid of all those you may touch as you apply your craft in a focused and impassioned manor.
Please choose wisely and knowingly, for the world is in great need of those who do more than the minimum. Pick up your torch, the reason you were put here, and through your passion build a better community, state, country, even nation and world.
Here’s to your success!