When students begin their quest to earn a college degree, their own personal research and advice from career counselors will often bring them back to one important word: Accreditation. What is Accreditation and why is it so important? In short, accreditation means that a school is recognized as doing a good job of teaching and that the skills passed on to students are valued by the workplace. It speaks to the overall credentials of a school, and receiving an education from a highly rated school is better for the student. As a matter of fact, some degrees are worth less if they do not come from a highly accredited school.
The Big Deal With Accreditation and Math
Mathematical jobs such as accounting are highly dependent on accuracy. An inaccurate accountant is a liability to businesses and to customers who must file their taxes based on the figures and estimates created by accountants. The numbers tallied by accountants are used by tax collectors and sometimes find their way into legal disputes. Quality matters in the science of numbers.
Accountants can create their own reputation over many years of performance and a long list of satisfied customers. An accountant straight out of college will be evaluated based on the grades received at college. While many businesses are hungry for low cost accountants, they are also leery of the risk of hiring new graduates. This means that businesses want evidence that new hires can get their numbers straight.
Specific Credentials for a Specific Purpose
Grades are as good as the college they come from. An “A” means a high percentage of accuracy but not perfect accuracy. This is why accreditation is so important to employers. It is one way they can gauge the skill of people with no experience. A school might be recommendable overall, but might not have any particular reputation for training accountants.
Some schools specialize in accountants or have a well recognized program. The credentials of this school might be specifically geared towards mathematics, which is what businesses are looking for in an accountant. Refinement in fringe areas might be helpful but might not be the crux of the job
More to It Than Grades
A person who excels in mathematics will not find it impossible to land a job in accounting. There is enough demand for tax preparation alone to guarantee plenty of business. Large corporations hire armies of accountants in order to find tax loopholes and to squeeze as much out of government hands as possible. All this means big demand for accountants, and any established school will mostly likely be adequately accredited.
The real question is which graduates move on to the best paying jobs and who lands the side gigs. People with more attractive credentials will stand out on paper, and going to specific schools can be important to employers. Seasoned business people might be familiar with specific schools and their reputation for excellence in mathematics, accounting, and business leadership.
Picking a School and Being Flexible
Prestigious schools are generally more expensive, but they can be worth the money to attend. Unmotivated students do not often graduate. On the other hand, personal initiative is equally important. A student who is genuinely motivated will draw attention while a mediocre student who does not publicly display excellence might be passed over even if their school is renowned. Once outside of college, personal reputation is what matters. It always boils down to individual initiative to succeed.
Additional Resource: Council for Higher Education Accreditation