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Accreditation Matters when Choosing Your MLIS Degree

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You’ve made the decision – you are going to get your Master of Library Science (MLIS) degree. There are so many factors affecting your decision; tuition costs, class offerings, and quality of the program. How do you know what program is best? One important aspect when looking for a quality MLIS degree is accreditation.

You want the best program for your money. So let’s take a look at what accreditation means and why it is important for your MLIS degree.

What does accredited mean?

An accredited degree is recognized for meeting specific educational standards, which have been set by an accrediting agency. According to, institutions can be accredited in three ways:

  •         National,
  •         Regional, and
  •         Programmatic.

What is national and regional accreditation?

National and regional accreditation are institutional, meaning the entire educational institution works together to ensure high-quality education.

How do accrediting agencies evaluate a school?

According to, agencies have a review board that handles applications and renewal requests. Accreditation is based on the university’s

  • mission, objectives,
  • admission requirements,
  • student services,
  • education quality, and
  • faculty reputation.

What about specialized accreditation?

Some types of programs may also have specialized accreditation. This is when programs, like USM’s fully online MLIS degree program, receive accreditation.

Does USM’s fully online MLIS degree have specialized accreditation?

Yes! The School of Library Science (SLIS) has been American Library Association, ALA-accredited since 1980.

RELATED: Did you know fully online students can study abroad? Learn how online students can travel the world while earning academic credit.

Is Southern Miss accredited as a university?

Yes! The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialists and doctoral. Also, numerous degree programs are accredited by professional, disciplinary accrediting agencies.

Why should I bother with an accredited program?

You want the best education, right? You don’t want to waste your time. Invest in yourself by selecting an accredited university and an accredited program. You will be choosing a quality education at a university recognized for excellence. says it best when it comes to the importance of accreditation:

If you are looking at attending a college or university, one of the most important things to research is the school’s accreditation. Legitimately accredited U.S. schools (and yes, even online schools are accredited) are held to a high quality of educational standards, ensuring that you will receive a great education. Unaccredited schools, however, don’t base their hiring or teaching practices on any standards except their own, so it can negatively affect your future.

Does my employer care about my accredited MLIS degree? says generally regional accreditation (like USM’s SACSCOC accreditation) is the most valuable to employers, but not always. They also say that program accreditation, like USM’S MLIS program accredited by the American Library Association, is important when going into a specialized field and is even required by some employers.

What does ALA say about the value of accreditation?

Graduating from an ALA-accredited program provides flexibility in the types of libraries and jobs you can apply for and enhances career mobility. Many employers require an ALA-accredited master’s degree for professional level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries.

Now that you have the facts about accreditation, think about how important it is when selecting your university and your MLIS program.

All around the country, students from Connecticut to Wisconsin are choosing The University of Southern Mississippi’s accredited fully online MLIS program. The nationally recognized, fully online MLIS program is worth your time and money. It offers you an accredited degree respected around the country.

For more information about the fully online MLIS program, visit

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