Does MBA Accreditation Matter?

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Does MBA accreditation matter? You’ve likely wondered this if you are considering pursuing an MBA.

Illustration of MBA accreditation benefits showing a business school with an 'Accredited' seal, alongside icons for career growth, financial aid, and education quality

The fact is, MBA accreditation is a key factor that can influence the quality of your education, your career prospects, and even your financial aid options. Understanding what accreditation means and why it’s important can help you make informed choices.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of MBA accreditation, its benefits, the potential risks of non-accredited programs, and how to verify a program’s accreditation status. Let’s dive in and discover why accreditation should be on your radar.

What Is MBA Accreditation?

One important factor you’ll want to consider when it comes to choosing an MBA program is accreditation. Simply put, accreditation is a stamp of approval from an external, independent organization that evaluates and verifies the quality of an educational program or institution.

It’s a way to ensure that your degree meets rigorous academic standards and provides a top-notch education (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). There are two main types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic.

Institutional accreditation evaluates the overall quality of an entire university or college, while programmatic accreditation focuses specifically on individual programs, like an MBA.

Both types of accreditation can significantly impact the value of your degree, the resources available to you, and your future career prospects. So, as you explore your options, be sure to check the accreditation status of the programs you’re considering.

Types of MBA Accreditation

Understanding the types of MBA accreditation available can help you make an informed decision about your education. Here’s our breakdown of the different types and key accrediting bodies:

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation evaluates the entire university or college, ensuring that all its programs meet certain quality standards.

This crucial accreditation signifies that the institution as a whole adheres to high educational standards. Whether or not your school has institutional accreditation can impact your eligibility for federal financial aid and the transferability of credits.

When it comes to institutional accreditation, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes several reputable accrediting organizations. Here are some of the major ones to consider:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Selecting a school accredited by one of these bodies guarantees that your education meets rigorous standards and is widely respected.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation specifically evaluates individual programs to ensure they meet industry standards and provide relevant, up-to-date education.

It is essential for ensuring that the specific program you are enrolled in meets the rigorous standards required to prepare you for your chosen career.

Key accrediting bodies:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB): Known as the Gold Standard, AACSB accreditation is highly prestigious. It is awarded to approximately 6% of the world’s business schools. It emphasizes rigorous standards in teaching, curriculum, student learning, and faculty research.

Neither CHEA nor the US Department of Education (ED) recognize AACSB, yet it remains highly regarded within the business industry.

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): A CHEA-recognized accrediting agency, ACBSP accreditation focuses on teaching excellence and student outcomes, making it ideal for programs that prioritize practical, hands-on learning and continuous improvement.
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): Recognized by CHEA, IACBE accreditation emphasizes educational outcomes and is particularly popular among smaller, private institutions that focus on teaching quality and student learning outcomes.

Choosing a program with the right type of accreditation can ensure you’ll receive a high-quality education that is recognized and respected by employers and other educational institutions.

Advantages of Attending an Accredited MBA Program

So, we’ve discussed the importance of accreditation. Now, you may wonder about the specific advantages of MBA accreditation.

First off, earning a master’s degree in business can offer many benefits on its own. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals with a master’s degree is just 2%.

Pursuing an accredited MBA degree can provide you with even more benefits. Here are some reasons we think attending an accredited MBA program can make a difference:

  • Higher Academic Standards: MBA programs with accreditation have been proven to meet high educational standards. The accrediting agencies have rigorously evaluated various aspects of these programs, including curriculum, faculty qualifications, and career outcomes, to ensure they provide a quality education that can prepare you for successful careers in business.
  • Better Career Opportunities: According to the AACSB, graduates from accredited MBA programs often have better job prospects. Employers recognize and respect the quality of education provided by accredited institutions. Many top employers specifically seek out graduates from accredited programs.
  • Global Recognition: All major MBA accrediting bodies, like AACSB, ACBSP, and EQUIS, have international presences. Accredited MBA degrees are globally recognized, which can be beneficial if you are planning a career in international business.
  • Access to Financial Aid: Accreditation is crucial for eligibility for federal financial aid and scholarships. Accredited programs are recognized by the US Department of Education, allowing you to access various financial aid options that can significantly reduce the cost of your education.
  • Transferability of Credits: If you need to transfer to another institution or pursue further education, credits from an accredited MBA program are more likely to be accepted. This flexibility ensures that your hard work and investment are recognized and can be applied toward your educational goals.

At the end of the day, choosing an accredited MBA program is an investment in your future that pays off. You’ll walk away with a respected degree that opens doors to exciting career opportunities.

Risks of Attending a Non-Accredited MBA Program

Opting for a non-accredited MBA program can jeopardize your educational journey and career prospects. Here’s why:

  • Quality Concerns: Non-accredited programs may not meet established educational standards, leading to a subpar learning experience. According to the US Department of Education, accreditation ensures that institutions provide quality education that meets specific criteria.
  • Limited Career Opportunities: Employers often prefer or require degrees from accredited programs. Graduates from non-accredited schools may find it challenging to secure jobs or advance in their careers because their qualifications are not recognized.
  • Financial Aid Ineligibility: Non-accredited programs are typically ineligible for federal financial aid, which can make financing your education more difficult.
  • Transferability Issues: Credits earned from non-accredited programs are often not transferable to other institutions, limiting your options if you decide to continue your education elsewhere.
  • Licensure and Certification Problems: Certain professions require degrees from accredited programs for licensure or certification. Without accreditation, you may face hurdles in obtaining necessary professional credentials.

Don’t let a non-accredited program hold you back. By choosing an accredited MBA, you’re ensuring that your hard work and dedication are recognized and valued by employers and institutions alike, giving you a solid foundation to build your dream career.

How to Verify MBA Accreditation

To ensure you’re investing in a quality education, it’s important to verify the accreditation status of your MBA program. Here’s a simple guide to checking accreditation status:

  1. Check the school’s website. Most accredited programs proudly display their accreditation status on their official websites.
  2. Visit accrediting bodies’ websites. You can directly search for accredited programs on the websites of major accrediting agencies.
  3. Use the US Department of Education’s database: The department maintains a comprehensive database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.
  4. Consult the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA): CHEA also provides a searchable database of accredited institutions and programs.
  5. Contact the school directly: The Federal Trade Commission stresses the importance of researching your program, and if you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to contact its school’s admissions office.

By following these steps, you can confidently verify the accreditation of your chosen MBA program.


Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about MBA accreditation.

Is It Necessary for an MBA Program to Be Accredited?

While an MBA program doesn’t have to be accredited, choosing an accredited program is highly beneficial. Accreditation ensures that the program meets high educational standards, which can significantly impact your career prospects.

According to the US Department of Education, accredited programs are recognized for their quality and rigor. Attending one of these programs can make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.

Additionally, accreditation is often required for eligibility for federal financial aid, which can make the cost of your education more manageable.

Do Employers Care about MBA Accreditation?

Yes, employers do care about MBA accreditation. Having an accredited MBA can make you more attractive to potential employers and may increase the likelihood of job placement or receiving support for tuition fees.

While school prestige is just one part of the puzzle, holding a degree from a prestigious program can provide you more access to coveted employers. Many employers recruit from specific accredited MBA programs, and holding a degree from an accredited program can act as a marker of suitability for a role.

Additionally, according to US News, most employers are willing to accept online MBAs, provided they come from reputable and accredited institutions.

How Long Does the Accreditation Process Take?

The accreditation process for MBA programs can be quite extensive. The process for AACSB accreditation involves rigorous evaluations and peer reviews that can take up to 5 years to complete.

Similarly, ACBSP’s accreditation process usually takes about 3 years, and the IACBE process can take 2 to 4 years.

Maximizing Your MBA Impact through Accreditation

MBA accreditation is essential for ensuring you are pursuing a high-quality education that will be respected by employers and other institutions. It can significantly impact your career opportunities, financial aid eligibility, and the overall value of your degree.

When you’re choosing an MBA program, it’s important to verify its accreditation status to ensure it meets industry standards. We invite you to take your time exploring accredited programs and schools that fit your career goals through our degree finder below.

By doing so, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and making a wise investment in your future.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.