A Guide to Bootcamp Accrediting Organizations
- Accreditation verifies that a program meets high educational standards.
- A nationally-recognized agency recently accredited bootcamps for the first time.
- Accreditation for bootcamps could help standardize the industry.
Bootcamps offer students the opportunity to learn or enhance skills in areas such as coding, data analytics, and project management. These programs typically require less time and money than a traditional two- or four-year degree program, making them popular with professionals looking to advance their current careers or find a new career path.
While the number of bootcamps continues to grow, bootcamps aren't usually accreditated like universities are. However, this may be about to change. In the past year, two coding bootcamps received accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education (ED). This landmark recognition could provide the blueprint for other bootcamps to seek accreditation in the future.
In the following guide, we answer questions like, "what is accreditation?" and "which bootcamps have accreditation?" Readers can also learn about different accreditation organizations and discover how accreditation may impact bootcamps.
What Is Accreditation?
Accreditation demonstrates to current and prospective students at a university that their school provides quality education. The U.S. does not regulate higher education at the federal level, and individual states typically provide loose oversight. Therefore, independent accreditation agencies exist to monitor the educational standards of college departments and degree programs.
Accreditation can occur at the institutional and programmatic levels. Even if a university is accredited, some degree programs at the school may not be.
Institutions typically list their accreditation status on their websites. Readers can also call the university's admissions office to learn more.
The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the ED maintain lists of all legitimate accrediting bodies in the nation. Accreditation must come from one of the recognized accrediting agencies to be considered legitimate. Students should be wary of universities that do not have accreditation.
Bootcamps for You
While there are many accrediting agencies for universities, only two agencies work with coding bootcamps to provide accreditation: the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR).
ACCET is recognized by the ED as a national accrediting agency for universities and bootcamps. Accreditation from this agency certifies that the program in question meets high educational standards. Students enrolled in an ACCET-accredited bootcamp may be eligible to apply for federal financial aid, unlike those enrolled in non-accredited programs.
The CIRR is not an official accreditation organization but works with bootcamps to assess their quality and determine the accuracy of their outcome reports. This agency verifies data such as graduation rates and salary outcomes for prospective students so that they can measure the effectiveness of each bootcamp.
Are Bootcamps Accredited?
Until recently, no bootcamps had official accreditation. Despite their growing popularity, the lack of accreditation made some employers nervous. Currently, only two coding bootcamps have accreditation from ACCET.
This historic accreditation opens the door for other bootcamps to become accredited, should they meet the standards laid out by ACCET. It also opens the possibility for other accrediting bodies to evaluate bootcamps in the future.
Bootcamp accreditation would create industry standards for bootcamp education and help students evaluate the effectiveness of bootcamp programs. Bootcamp graduates would likely have an easier time landing jobs as well.
Accredited Coding Bootcamps
In 2021, ACCET accredited two coding bootcamps: the Turing School of Software & Design and the NYC Data Science Academy. These are the first-ever bootcamps to receive official accreditation from a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Turing School of Software & Design
The Turing School of Software & Design offers web development bootcamps, including front-end and back-end software engineering programs. The bootcamp reports that 95% of its graduates currently work in the tech industry and earned a median salary of $83,000 after graduation as of 2021.
NYC Data Science Academy
The NYC Data Science Academy offers bootcamps in data analytics and data science. Students can also enroll in professional development courses. Graduates of these bootcamps have been hired by companies like Google and Deloitte. The NYC Data Science Academy does not report student outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bootcamp Accrediting Organizations
Are university bootcamps accredited?
While universities may hold accreditation, that accreditation does not typically extend to university-run bootcamps. These programs are independent of the schools' degree programs and therefore do not receive the same accreditation.
However, university bootcamps may offer similar courses and/or coursework to accredited programs at the school. Students can often research the bootcamp syllabus on the university's website or can contact the bootcamp admissions office for more information.
What is bootcamp certification?
Bootcamp certification -- also known as accreditation -- is a process by which an independent agency reviews a bootcamp's programs to determine whether they meet educational standards for the industry. Until recently, bootcamps have not received accreditation from any nationally-recognized organizations.
Currently, only two bootcamp programs have accreditation. However, prospective students may research the effectiveness of different bootcamp programs by reviewing the student outcome data verified by the CIRR.
Are bootcamps better than degrees?
Bootcamps often take less time to complete and cost less money than a typical degree program. Most bootcamps allow students to enroll fully online and offer part-time and/or self-paced courses for working professionals.
However, bootcamps do not provide the same depth of education as a traditional degree program. Some employers may not accept bootcamp training in lieu of a degree. Professionals often use bootcamps to gain new skills or hone existing ones.