International students who have done their homework, and have made the decision to study in America, usually make plans to study at an accredited university in the United States. To study at an accredited university in the United States most commonly implies that the college or university in question is (1) a degree-granting university and (2) it has been reviewed and approved for academic quality assurance by a U.S. government approved agency (and that it meets United States higher education standards as set out by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation).
For international students that plan to study in America, the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is an excellent resource to ensure the colleges and universities you look into meet the standards of academic quality and recognition you are seeking, as well as to ensure they will help meet both your long and short term academic and career goals. The decision to study at an accredited university in the United States guarantees international students that study in America can transfer with ease among the greatest number of reputable institutions of higher learning, while avoiding unintended application submissions to colleges and universities that may not be accredited through these desired channels. However, it is worth noting a number of technical colleges and specialty schools might not have these formal accreditations yet are worthwhile career paths for some individuals, depending on their unique situations.
So how does the CHEA accreditation system work? Let’s say, for example, you are an international student who has made the decision to study in Alabama at an accredited university. You begin looking into the many exciting and unique academic programs offered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. You decide you are interested in pursuing an undergraduate major in the health sciences, but want to make sure you can transfer to a prestigious American university in the north to complete your PhD in medicine. You can check University of Alabama at Birmingham to ensure they are accredited by CHEA and clicking on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS, the CHEA-related institution reviewing and granting accreditation to schools in the southern region of the United States) where you will find contact information and can email this institution to ensure that whenever you decide to study abroad in Alabama at an accredited university, they are indeed accredited by CHEA (especially if you have difficulty finding out or confirming accreditation information about the university using other online resources). There are seven regionally sanctioned accreditation bodies regulated by CHEA, with jurisdiction over colleges and universities within the U.S. States in their region. To see which accreditation body sanctions colleges and universities in your state of interest, visit http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp.