NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) is an independent accrediting agency that sets and monitors the standards for teaching programs across the country. This is in addition to regional accreditation. (NCATE accredited schools must maintain their regional accreditation) Schools with education programs that do not have the NCATE accreditation but are still regionally accredited are most likely very good programs. For the purpose of this site we use the NCATE accreditation as a guide for the schools we list. Having the NCATE only assures you that the particular school has met certain standards. It DOES NOT mean one school is necessarily better than another. Currently NCATE does not have a process for accrediting residency programs but are currently working on a process for evaluating these types of programs.
There are many traditional universities that are NCATE accredited, there are only a few online programs that I have found that are NCATE Accredited (which I list in each universities description.) If a particular university is not listed as NCATE accredited, and if this is important to you, do continue to check with them as the accreditation process can be updated every fall and spring. I spoke with some online universities and many of them told me they are currently looking to become NCATE accredited.
The NCATE accreditation is very good to have, but is not necessary. If you are attending a university (NCATE accredited or not) be sure to visit the Education Department faculty and staff, talk to students currently in the program, and see for yourself if the program is of quality and a good fit for you.