Who Accredits Ed.D. Programs?
It doesn’t do you much good to earn an Ed.D. — or any other advanced degree — from a U.S. school that doesn’t hold accreditation from its relevant regional accrediting agency. In the contiguous United States + Alaska and Hawaii, every school worth your time holds accreditation from one of six regional agencies: Middle States, New England, North Central (also known as the Higher Learning Commission), Northwest, Southern, and Western. You can find out if a school holds accreditation with one of these six regional bodies by searching here.
There are some legitimate national accrediting agencies that have been created as an alternative to regional accreditation, but their degrees aren’t as valuable; don’t bother with them.
Outside of the United States, different countries have different names for what we call accreditation. But if you’re pursuing a program in the United States, accreditation — and specifically regional accreditation through one of the six agencies linked above — is the minimum standard you want for your alma mater. Accept no substitutes.
Once you’ve verified that the school you’re interested in is regionally accredited, check to see if the specific program or department holds specialized accreditation. The most common kind of specialized accreditation offered for Ed.D. programs is awarded by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), an accrediting agency that primarily deals with teacher preparation programs. You can check to see whether the school you’re interested in offers CAEP-accredited programs by searching here.
CAEP Accredited Ed.D. Programs
History of CAEP
CAEP was founded in 2010 to “create a model unified accreditation system” encouraging consistent teacher and administrator educational standards throughout the United States.
It was created from the merger of two older accrediting bodies: the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), founded in 1954, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), founded in 1997.
How CAEP Accreditation Works
Unlike the six regional accreditors, CAEP does not accredit entire colleges and universities. Instead, it accredits specific departments and degree programs. Again, you can search for CAEP-accredited programs by using CAEP’s Accredited Provider & Recognized Program Search.
Is CAEP Accreditation Important?
Yes. While it’s less than a decade old, CAEP accreditation is already extremely common, even among low-cost and online Ed.D. programs. There’s no good reason to pursue a U.S.-based Ed.D. program that doesn’t have it, and there may come a time when Ed.D. degrees that aren’t CAEP-accredited will be of limited use.
Online Ed.D. Program Accreditation
It is worth repeating that in the United States, there is no substitute for regional accreditation. No U.S.-based school that lacks regional accreditation, even if it claims to hold some sort of special national or international accreditation, is worth your time.
That said, over 99% of U.S. regionally accredited schools now offer online courses or degrees. Every U.S.-based online Ed.D. program in our directory holds regional accreditation, and the majority hold CAEP accreditation as well. So don’t let shady online degree mills fool you into thinking you need to choose between convenient online delivery and accreditation. There are literally hundreds of schools that offer both.