Accreditation is a form of recognition that schools receive from an academic body. It’s akin to a certification from the body, and it certifies that a school meets certain requirements. Schools that become accredited usually must go through an initial accreditation process and then renew their accreditation every few years.
When you choose a bible college, there are two reasons why you should consider an accredited Bible college even though accreditation is an academic — and normally not a religious — certification.
Accredited Bible Colleges Provide Quality Education
First, bible colleges that are accredited are guaranteed to provide a quality education.
This isn’t to say that non-accredited bible schools don’t offer good classes or programs, but there isn’t an assurance that they do. Non-accredited schools might provide excellent programs or might not offer programs that are well developed. They simply haven’t proven to an independent body that they offer programs which meet the body’s requirements.
Accredited bible colleges have proven to an independent body, the accrediting board, that they meet whatever requirements the body deems necessary for a quality program. This normally ensures that their classes meet for a certain number of hours, their curriculum is well-developed and any degrees awarded are comparable to those given at other accredited institutions.
Credits from Accredited Bible Schools Can Transfer
Second, you can usually transfer credits from an accredited bible college to another institution. Whether another college or university ultimately accepts the transfer credits is up to that school, but most will take credits from accredited colleges. At the very least, other schools that are accredited by the same body typically accept the transfer credits.
There are a few situations where you may want to transfer credits. You might:
- Decide to switch colleges for personal reasons
- Change majors and want to switch colleges
- Spend a year at a local bible school before going to a different university
- Take an online or summer course at a bible school and apply it to a degree elsewhere
- Study abroad at a bible school for a semester
- Supplement a non-religious degree with basic bible classes
Even if you don’t expect to transfer credits, it’s often wise to make sure the option is available should you change your mind in the future (as many students do).
Multiple Bodies Accredit Undergraduate Bible Colleges
There are multiple bodies that accredit Bible colleges and other post-secondary Christian schools. Some of these are secular bodies that accredit schools regardless of religious viewpoint. Others are specifically focused on Christian or broadly religious schools, although they still maintain academic integrity.
There are six accrediting bodies that have been approved by the Department of Education in the United States:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Some of the most established religious accrediting bodies are:
- Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- Association of Theological Schools (ATS; mostly seminaries)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Find an Accredited Bible College
If you’re looking for an accredited Bible college, there are many to choose from. Browse the accredited bible schools that we list by geographic region, degree, or denomination.