What's the Difference Between National and Regional Accreditation?

The following short article is written to provide general advice about online education and degrees, not just information specific to WGU. If you have specific questions about WGU, feel free to inquire online or speak with an enrollment counselor (1-866-225-5948).

Are you looking for an accredited online university? The jumble of letters that represent accreditation organizations may confuse you. The most common types of accreditation are:

  • Regional accreditation
  • National accreditation
  • Specialized accreditation

What does it all mean? And what’s the difference?

Geographic Scope

Geographic scope differentiates regional from national accreditation. Regional accreditation agencies concentrate on specific areas of the country: Northwest, North Central, Southern, Middle States, New England, and Western.

Any postsecondary school in the U.S. can apply for national accreditation. Many national accreditation agencies accredit faith-based schools.

Transfer of Credits

In deciding whether to select a regionally or nationally accredited school, keep in mind that credits from a regionally-accredited university may not transfer to a nationally-accredited college, and vice versa. If you select a school with both regional and national accreditations, the possibility exists to transfer credits or receive credits for prior coursework between almost any other accredited university programs.