The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is a non-profit educational accrediting agency located in Washington, D.C. that specializes in distance education accreditation.
The DETC was founded in 1926 as the National Home Study Council (NHSC), a trade association that promoted high educational standards and ethical practices for correspondence schools in the United States. The NHSC was formed in response to a study performed by Carnegie Corporation which showed that correspondence schools lacked any uniform standards to ensure educational quality for students. John Noffsinger, the association's first director, developed a list of minimum standards for correspondence schools with became the NHSC's first accreditation standard. In 1955 a nine-member Accrediting Commission for the NHSC was formed and a few years later the U.S. Department of Education approved NHSC as a "nationally recognized accrediting agency". In 1994, The National Home Study Council officially changed its name to Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The DETC is also recognized as a national accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
It wasn't until 1959, thirty three years after its founding, that the U.S. Office of Education formally recognized the National Home Study Council (NHSC) as a higher education accreditor. Today, the DETC is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an accreditor of higher education institutions. DETC members include over 100 distance education institutions located across the United States and in 7 other countries. DETC memebers include trade associations, non-profit institutions, college and universities, for-profit companies, and military organizations.
It's important to understand that DETC is a national accreditor, not a regional accreditor. Most schools in the United States (i.e., elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities) are regionally accredited. Some regionally accredited schools recognize and accept the accreditations of nationally accredited institutions, but some do not. According to DETC CEO Michael Lambert, roughly 70% of students who graduate from DETC accredited institutions are able to transfer their credits to regionally accredited colleges and universities. He adds that most employers view DETC national accreditation as equal to regional accreditation, since most corporations accept DETC accredited institutions for their tuition reimbursement programs.
In 2000, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) put forth the following opinion: "Institutions and accreditors need to assure that [student] transfer decisions are not made solely on the source of accreditation of a sending program or institution." In order to help students find colleges and universities with transfer policies and practices that are consistent with the CHEA opinion above DETA designed the Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA) online directory. Educational institutions that are members of HETA have agreed that their transfer decisions will not be based entirely on the accreditation status of the sending institutions and that they will consider transfer requests from certain nationally accredited institutions. The HETA online directory published by DETC provides hypertext links to the websites of member institutions so that students and the public can review the transfer policies for specific education institutions.
The Distance Education and Training Council provides accreditation for The Marine Corps Institute, The Air Force's Air University and the Army Institute for Professional Development (ATIC-SDL). All three of these U.S. miliary divisions are listed as degree-granting institutions with DETC.
A non-affiliated entity located in Cyprus, Greece has also adopted the name "Distance Education and Training Council" and promotes itself online using a website hosted in the United Kingdom. This entity is in no way affiliated with DETC and in April 2010, Inside Higher Ed reported that officials at DETC believed this rouge entity to be an accreditation mill. In fact, content taken from this entity's website was found to be plagiarized from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges website.
To find education institutions accredited by DETC you can visit http://www.detc.org/. To learn more about DETC accreditation standards as well as their application process for education institutions you can visit their general websites at www.detc.org.