Are coding bootcamps accredited? The short answer is – not often. A small handful of bootcamps have recently gone through the accreditation process with ACCET, but typically, accreditation has been reserved for higher education institutions like universities and community colleges. But is accreditation something you should be looking for when researching bootcamps? Let’s break down exactly what accreditation means for coding bootcamps, what the future of accreditation may look like in this industry, and why accreditation can matter to students!
What is accreditation in higher education?
Accreditation creates a set of standards that education programs must adhere to in order to be recognized. To become accredited, an education program is reviewed by a recognized institutional accreditor and found to be providing a quality education that meets the standards of the federally-recognized accrediting body. Accreditation is one way that students and officials can understand the quality of an educational program. Colleges and universities are typically regionally accredited, while bootcamps are usually accredited by ACCET.
What is ACCET?
The Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) is a private, non-profit organization that provides national accreditation to private, post-secondary educational institutions. It has been in operation since 1978, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. When bootcamps are accredited, the ACCET is typically the accreditor.
|Turing School of Software & Design||Accredited by ACCET in 2020|
|NYC Data Science Academy||Accredited by ACCET in 2021|
|Kenzie Academy||Regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) in 2022 as part of Southern New Hampshire University.|
|Codeup||Regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.|
Operation Spark is applying for initial accreditation with the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.
Is accreditation important when choosing a bootcamp?
Accreditation can be important because it encourages educational programs to meet a certain set of criteria, which has been put in place to ensure high quality educational programs. Since accredited programs meet these standards, accreditation can help reassure students of an educational program’s legitimacy. However, accreditation isn’t the only way to evaluate a coding bootcamp – membership in other organizations like CIRR, alumni reviews, or outcomes reports can be helpful tools as well. And in some states the state regulatory agency – like the BPPE in California – does evaluate program outcomes when approving the bootcamp to operate.
Pros of Accreditation
Accreditation streamlines the process for students to use Federal Financial Aid. Title IV funds like Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Pell Grants, and SEO Grants are the federal financial aid funds that can be made to students. When an educational program is accredited, this often means that its students can seek federal financial aid through Title IV.
Accreditation may also fast-track a bootcamp for GI Bill approval, make it easier for a bootcamp to assist international students with F visas and M visas, For example, Turing School’s students currently can use GI Bill benefits and WIOA grants to help cover tuition.
On a larger scale, this extra funding opens up more opportunities for students of all levels and financial backgrounds to enroll in coding bootcamps. Without accreditation and federal aid, low-income students have to turn to private loans or income share agreements to enroll in a bootcamp.
Cons of Accreditation
Coding bootcamps were founded in 2012 as a response to the inefficacy and rigidity of the traditional CS degree path. Becoming an accredited educational program can add red tape to the agility of a bootcamp. Bootcamps are known for their job-relevant curricula that are consistently iterated on as new technologies emerge and new skills are demanded by employers. That agility is the leg up that bootcamps have over traditional higher education models. Since an accredited program must filter its curriculum through an accreditation body, this can take time and slow down crucial program updates.
Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!
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