Private career colleges have to be licensed, but they can also request official accreditation. Accreditation means an independent agency evaluates criteria like the school's truth in advertising, reasonable tuition fees, up-to-date courses, clear guidelines and admission requirements, properly maintained equipment, qualified industry-experienced instructors, reasonable class size, and job search services.
A private career college in Canada may choose to become a member of an external association, such as the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), which maintains certain standards of quality. Each province also has an association committed to ensuring program quality that schools can join such as the Alberta Association of Career Colleges (AACC) or New Brunswick Association of Career Colleges (NBACC). As well, career colleges may be accredited by the Canadian Education and Training Accreditation Commission (CETAC), which accredits private post-secondary vocational schools demonstrating educational excellence. Be aware that this is voluntary accreditation, and just because a school does not seek accreditation does not mean it is not a good school.
At the program level, career college programs may be eligible for accreditation by professional accrediting agencies. Professional accreditation means a specific department or program has been evaluated as meeting the standards of the accrediting agency of a certain profession. Some accrediting agencies accredit college programs, and others accredit individual graduates of certain programs. Some agencies may certify, rather than accredit, a program. Examples of Canadian agencies that accredit or certify career college programs are:
In addition, career colleges may have membership in certain professional associations, which reflects certain standards of educational quality. Some examples are the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools or the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
Licensure, accreditation and association membership are all important indicators of a career college's commitment to quality.
Accreditation assures you and your parents that the school's programs are delivered by qualified faculty and are up-to-date. A degree or other credential from an accredited school or program can help make you more competitive on the job market.