The NC-U is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Accreditation requirements and standards for NC-U are in accordance with Department of Defense Manual (DoDM) 3115.11, "DoD Intelligence and Security Standards", which outlines accreditation to ensure the quality of DoD institutions and assist in the continuous improvement of DoD institutions.

DoDM 3115.11 states that to be accredited, institutions must meet the published standards and associated criteria of a U.S. Secretary of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council on Occupational Education.NC-U received its initial certification in 1990 and maintained its accreditation through the years by meeting COE's affirmation requirements. 
To maintain its accredited status, NC-U must abide by educational standards and criteria established by COE. NC-U conducts an annual self-assessment and submits the assessment to COE. Every six years, NC-U must undergo a reaffirmation to ensure NC-U is meeting all accreditation standards and criteria. COE is an institutional accreditation, not an accreditation of individual courses.