Choosing a college is one of the most significant decisions a student makes as it has a long-term influence on both career and personal life. Whether one wants to pursue a career in aviation, enroll in a short-term online course, or take lessons to become a licensed nurse, one must first evaluate whether the programme offers an approved degree or certificate.You may have questions like what does accreditation entail? What makes an approved degree so valuable? What effect does it have on your professional life?Here is everything you need to know about accreditation and why it’s important Accreditation is a type of quality standard that certifies that a certain higher education institution satisfies certain requirements. It is a designation or status that signifies a college has met the rigorous criteria demanded or established by an accrediting organisation, which performs periodic assessments of educational institutions to ensure colleges are using best practices, policies, and processes in line with the accrediting agency's framework, and have the financial means to continue doing so.Therefore, accreditation is a form of recognition and validation for the institute and the programme both in terms of knowledge and skills, which are be expected from the holder of such a degree/certificate. An accredited degree gives an edge in today’s aggressive, challenging, and competitive work environment because employers prefer hiring applicants who have earned a degree/certificate from a recognised university/institute.Also Read: Is existing grading system enough to build over 1 billion global workforce for future?Therefore, you must verify whether the programme you are considering has adequate accreditation. When you've decided on the type of course or degree you want to pursue, you'll need to start browsing evaluations and reviews. The sooner you start your research and apply for a university degree, the more likely you are to decide and get accepted by one or more schools of your choice.Sometimes students choose their institution based on their feelings or gut instincts, and in some cases because their classmates or peers have chosen the same college. However, such a major decision should not be made hastily or without careful consideration of a few important criteria, the most important of which is certification. Students must cross-check the following aspects before finalising a college: \tCollege or university can meet quality requirements that have already been established \tProvides quality employment opportunities \tIs constantly improving for the benefit of its students \tEncourages a learning atmosphere that is student-centricDemonstrates a commitment to maintaining best practices.Importance of accredited degreeAn accredited degree guarantees that a school's resources, teachers, facilities, and services are adequate for students. Accreditation entails more than simply measuring the volumes in a college library. Accreditors evaluate the teaching and coursework quality, assess students' learning, and establish if faculty members have appropriate knowledge in the academic fields. True assessment of the institution by instructors and leaders of other institutions is required for accreditation.How to confirm accreditation? Universities and colleges mention the accreditation status as an official statement on their websites as it is a decisive factor for students at the time of choosing a college.Also Read: ‘Students in rural India need education with higher employability chances’Most colleges and universities mention the required details in their advertisements and websites. If you are unable to find the requisite information about the accreditation on the website, then you can connect with the institute’s designated contact person for the same.The author Ashwani Awasthi is Managing Director RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University. The views expressed are personal.