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Is Your Institution COE Accredited?

When researching vocational training programs in the Hammond area, you may come across the term “COE accredited”. The question of what COE accreditation is—and more importantly, why it matters when choosing a technical school—is a fairly straightforward one to answer.


The Council on Occupational Education (COE) is a national agency whose mission is “assuring quality and integrity in career and technical education”. This means that any non-degree-granting institution of higher education, such as Compass Career College, must adhere to rigorous standards of operation and instruction in order to achieve and maintain COE accreditation.


The process to achieve COE accreditation is not an easy one. There are many steps to receiving accreditation, and completing all of them may take a year or more. First, the institution has to demonstrate eligibility for accreditation and submit a letter of intent to the Council on Occupational Standards. Over the next several months, administrators and instructors have to complete intense training, host several visits for COE representatives, and submit detailed reports to the council before accreditation can be awarded.


Compass Career College and other COE-accredited schools must conform to specific ethical and educational standards to maintain their accreditation once it has been awarded. COE accreditation also requires each institution to continually assess the quality of its programs, and submit operational and financial reports to the Council on Occupational Education each year.


For students, this accreditation serves to assure them that they will receive the highest-quality education, and that their program of choice will have a positive reputation with prospective employers. CCC’s allied health, cosmetology, and welding programs are all covered by COE accreditation. Prospective students should also be aware that COE accreditation mandates that each program must have a minimum percentage of students who graduate, find jobs, and obtain licensure (if applicable to the program). If those minimum percentages are not met, the Council on Occupational Education could decline to renew the school’s accreditation.


Because COE accreditation is voluntary, other career and technical programs may opt not to spend the time and money required to go through the process. However, since COE accreditation serves as a valuable “safety net” for those who are seeking career or technical training, prospective students in those programs may not have a clear understanding of the policies and procedures of their school. In addition, employers may be more inclined to hire graduates of accredited programs, because they know the standards for maintaining accreditation are so high.


Despite the length and complexity of the accreditation process, the administrators and instructors at Compass Career College believe that their students deserve the best that they have to offer. Achieving and maintaining COE accreditation is merely one aspect of that mission, but it is clearly a critical one.

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