For those considering a Christian college after high school, one question that often comes up is whether or not the school is as good academically as it is spiritually. In other words, students want to be sure that when they graduate from the Christian school, they will be able to get the jobs they want in their fields. These students want to know whether the Christian schools they are considering follow the same educational guidelines as the non-Christian colleges they are considering.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Accreditation is a process colleges and universities go through to ensure they are adhering to academic standards set by the state and country. The accreditation is evaluated on a program-by-program basis, and is repeated to make sure colleges maintain their standards year after year.
In some programs, accreditation is a very important factor. Some programs, such as nursing, social work, and education, require graduation from an accredited program in order to become licensed to work in that field. For students who plan to continue their educations at the graduate level, graduation from an accredited program is a prerequisite for graduate school admittance.
Christian college guidelines and standards
The focus of education at Christian colleges and universities is creating a foundation for each program on the tenets of the Christian tradition the college was founded on. For example, a Methodist college’s programs would adhere to Methodist doctrine. As Christian educational facilities, Christian colleges’ first obligation is to the teachings and beliefs of Christianity.
In some cases, state accreditation guidelines may take a backseat to Christian teachings. In fact, some conservative Christian colleges may not follow certain state accreditation guidelines because they contradict with the religious standards of the college.
Do Christian colleges require accreditation?
Christian colleges do not require state accreditation. No college really does. However, for many, accreditation is a draw because it means that graduates are able to work in a particular field in the secular world. For example, a nursing student who wants to work in a public hospital will need to graduate from an accredited program. Many Christian colleges seek accreditation in these programs, such as through TRACS, to make sure they can give the students the best prospects possible for their future careers.
In some programs, a Christian college may not have accreditation. Students who graduate from these programs may not need to graduate from an accredited program, or it may simply limit their job prospects after graduation. For example, if a student graduates from an education program at a Christian college that is not accredited, that student will likely be able to teach in a Christian school associated with that Christian tradition, but will be unable to teach in a public school.
Some Christian colleges also have programs specific to their Christian tradition, such as missionary training or preparation to enter seminary. The standards for these programs are maintained through the Christian tradition rather than through a secular accreditation organization.
Overall, Christian colleges and universities maintain high academic standards. The major difference comes in that Christian colleges follow the standards of their Christian traditions first, and state academic standards second. However, with a little investigation into the programs, students can make sure the Christian college they attend meets their needs academically as well as spiritually.