The United States has no Federal agency or department to oversee postsecondary educational institutions in this country. Generally, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. Therefore, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs.
In order to ensure quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting non-governmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. National or regional private educational associations of quality have adopted criteria reflecting sound educational programs and procedures for evaluating these institutions or programs.
Accreditation does not ensure automatic acceptance and transfer of credits between institutions. Acceptance of students or graduates is always the prerogative of the receiving institution or employer. For these reasons, it is very important to determine prior to enrollment whether or not your education goals can be met at a particular institutions. Where possible, a personal inspection is recommended.