Accreditation refers to a school’s evaluation to ensure that it meets high standards of quality. The accreditation is done by a private agency, which reports to the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Association. The private agency reviews the dance school and rates several key factors, including the faculty, teaching standards, curriculum, and extracurricular activities. The agency checks to make sure the curriculum is frequently updated so students learn the most current information.
There are two main types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation focuses on the university as a whole instead of specific programs. This type of accreditation is voluntary. Specialized accreditation, on the other hand, focuses on each specific program the school offers. Also known as professional accreditation, specialized accreditation is offered in the United States by hundreds of agencies. For dance schools, the main accrediting agency is the National Association of Schools of Dance, which accredits dance schools that do and do not offer degrees.
Accreditation is important to those looking to pursue dance as a career. Attending and graduating from an accredited school shows that you have studied the most current material at a school where the curriculum and faculty meet national standards. Schools without accreditation do not receive federal funding, nor do they offer financial aid. In addition, many employers will not accept degrees from non-accredited institutions. Therefore, if you are looking to pursue dance as a career, choosing an accredited dance school is of utmost importance.