The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday said it received accreditation to offer continuing education classes online, the first business school to receive the accreditation.
The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) awarded Wharton Online, the school's digital learning platform, the "accredited provider" status. Drexel University's College of Medicine/Behavioral Healthcare Education is also an accredited provider.
IACET is a nonprofit, and the only standard-setting organization approved by the American National Standards Institute for continuing education and training.
As the first business school to receive this accreditation, Wharton may now offer certified Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to adult learners who wish to advance their careers through Wharton Online's business education curriculum.
Launched in 2013, Wharton Online offers Wharton's business courses to more than 150,000 online clients. As an IACET accredited provider, Wharton Online may now issue credentials to students for their current and future employers. Many companies also reimburse employees for the cost of earning continuing ed credits.
Starting Dec. 1, all Wharton Online students who complete a course will receive a digital badge through Credly, a leader in the digital credential movement. These badges can be shared via social networks including LinkedIn, as well as via websites and resumés.
Wharton Online will initially issue CEUs through their "Leadership and Management" four-course certificate program, but plan to expand.
"We are proud to receive IACET accreditation since it is widely acknowledged as one of the highest achievements in continuing education," Anne Trumbore, senior director of Wharton Online, said in a news release. "We're confident that digital credentialing is the future of learning and, as a result, anticipate attracting half a million new users to the Wharton Online platform in the next two years."
"We are pleased to recognize Wharton Online as an accredited provider," Peter Finn, president of IACET and the director of learning and development for the Society of Women Engineers in Chicago, said in a statement.
Finn added, "Wharton joins nearly 500 organizations around the globe that have had their programs vetted by third-party experts in continuing education thereby ensuring the highest possible standards are met."