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-   -   Online Degrees ? (http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=98913)

ALLEYCAT-2 24 November 2010 09:55

Online Degrees ?
 
Have any of you found that the degree you earned from a online school has been helpful to you in your career search? Or is it just a waste of time and money better spent elsewhere? I was thinking of finishing my masters while I am OCONUS and have the time. Any thoughts or experiences?

johnnymac 24 November 2010 10:11

When you say "online school", do you mean one which solely operates online...or, a standard university that offers online degrees of some sort...or both?

I know one person with an online MBA from a large state school, and that person has had much more success than the few that I know who have online degrees from universities with no brick-and-mortar presence.

However, the sample group we are talking about here is rather small, so take it for what it's worth.

Mars 24 November 2010 10:20

I personally have not completed any online courses; however, I have several friends of mine that have. Of all the ones that have them, the majority of them did it for the sole purpose of job advancement. A couple of them did it "just for the sake of doing so".

As things are going now, many colleges and universities are doing online programs. In fact, my father is 64 and just returned to college because a friend of his motivated him enough to do so. The thing about it is that when he met with his advisor, he was told that 75% of his required classes were now online and they even went so far as to encourage him to do them online.

In the past, IMHO, people were skeptical of "online" courses. In fact, the only ones that I was ever really aware of was the ones offered to the military when I was in the Corps. However, in recent years, they have really gained acceptance with employers.

My only advice to you would be to make sure it is an accredited school, which I am sure you are already aware of. This day and age, I don't feel that getting your degree would be a waste of time or money in any way. The world is trending towards "a degree being necessary" for employment.

Good luck.

Longrifle 24 November 2010 10:25

One word: Accreditation

I thought about taking some postgraduate courses from the University of Phoenix, one of the larger and better known online schools. I talked with them, and they assured me their credentials were solid and transferring credits would not be a problem.

Turned out that is not the case. No university around here will accept their accreditation, nor will my state accept as valid a Master's degree from them for the purpose of salary increase.

There is a consortium of accrediting associations in the US. Here it's SACS - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS is a member of the consortium and as such recognizes reciprocity for accreditation purposes the grades and degrees granted by member schools of any of the other consortium associations.

Do you homework before you spend (read "waste") any money.

pirana 24 November 2010 10:36

For reasons I have stated on this forum before, I'd challenge that my M.A. easily rivals other B&M Masters in History programs. You see, in humanities, the factor that I had to read everybody's input (meaning, in my cohort), then comment on their writing adeptly, made this a much more reading, comprehension and writing-specific exercise than any classroom could offer. It just has to be monitored correctly, by an instructor that gives a damn.

But, that having been said, History is not a real job-grabber right now. I did, however, hone my writing skills and prepare myself for presentation and publication exponentially, which is precisely what I set out to do.

Search this forum for a similar thread, earlier this year. You'll get additional info on the topic.

Now, from my same school, there's an MBA, Civil Engineering, hell, a whole slew of Master's degrees. I cannot comment on their quality. But if my humanities experience tells me anything, they're top-notch too. In short, I think the hiring public gets the point. Many, many high-quality schools have gone distance-learning for select programs. Drexel, UPenn, and others. Like traditional schools, pick your program with care (which is what you're doing right now).

Good luck!

ALLEYCAT-2 24 November 2010 10:41

Yes it is a real school in Savannah (South University). The accreditation is from Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. I have already taken 8 hrs with them in the past but our op tempo was such that it was getting difficult to keep up with pace of the writing i was having to do. Fortunately now I have a little time to continue if it is going to be a useful tool...

Longrifle 24 November 2010 10:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by ALLEYCAT-2 (Post 1057928800)
Yes it is a real school in Savannah (South University). The accreditation is from Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. . .

Go at this station. Matriculate onward . . .

N2Narkosis 24 November 2010 10:48

Remember, your degree won't say "Online Degree". A degree is a degree, as long as the school is accredited, as previously mentioned.

johnnymac 24 November 2010 11:41

Be very careful when using accreditation as a primary means by which you decide if a school is legitimate. The key is to ensure that the accrediting body is recognized by the US Department of Education.


A list of recognized accrediting bodies in the US can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/acc...allyRecognized

Here is a list of (official-sounding, but) non-recognized accrediting bodies... http://www.geteducated.com/diploma-m...-accreditation

Soot 24 November 2010 12:13

I found that with grad school the people I met (my cohort, the PhDs, Proofs, lecturers, the professional community locally, etc) had a much greater bearing on my job hunt success than the piece of paper I won't have 'til May.

A MUCH greater bearing.

Understand that I'm going to a top rated school, in a major metropolitan area, and attending all my classes on-campus - - - and I still found the people I met to be more influential on my future career options than the degree itself. Businesses should literally be throwing jobs at me (as there are plenty available in my field) but I didn't even know many of them were available until I got to meet some people.

In my case, however, I decided to pursue the degree in conjunction with a mid-life career shift so I had zero solid contacts in my new professional community and very few friends or acquaintences who were even peripherally involved in or with my profession. I had experience from a former life that was transferable to an extent, but for the most part I was starting from scratch in a whole new field.

You may not be in that situation so my experience might not be applicable to you.

You know your situation better than I do.

If your problem is wanting a job (or entry into a career field or profession) and you only need a piece of paper to make that happen then the online v on-campus "people" issue may not effect you.

But if you'll be starting at square one in a new field, or an old field in a new geographic area, you might want to think about the networking benefits of an on-campus Masters.

Edited to add:

I say all of that above with the understanding that the degree can wait if it has to and that you will have time later to pursue it on-campus.

If that isn't the case, or if you're just not sure, than I'd add that an online degree from an accredited school is better than no degree and that you can always build a network later.

Besides, a degree is only going to get your foot in the door. What happens from there is up to you and your professional reputation, as always, will speak much more loudly than your education.

ALLEYCAT-2 24 November 2010 12:26

Thx to all... I have heard the stories reference to Phoenix LR and crossed them off the list long ago. Pirana given my geographic location conus and the complete lack of use I have found for my Science Ed. degree, the logical choice was a MBA. Now I will have to narrow down what concentration area in another 8 hrs.

Trig 24 November 2010 12:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by ALLEYCAT-2 (Post 1057928845)
Thx to all... I have heard the stories reference to Phoenix LR and crossed them off the list long ago. Pirana given my geographic location conus and the complete lack of use I have found for my Science Ed. degree, the logical choice was a MBA. Now I will have to narrow down what concentration area in another 8 hrs.

How bout an MBA in Sustainable "Green" Business. I know for a fact there are brick and mortar schools that offer online MBA's in that subject. I'm sure your Science background will help with this particular MBA.

pirana 24 November 2010 12:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soot (Post 1057928839)
Understand that I'm going to a top rated school, in a major metropolitan area, and attending all my classes on-campus - - - and I still found the people I met to be more influential on my future career options than the degree itself. Businesses should literally be throwing jobs at me (as there are plenty available in my field) but I didn't even know many of them were available until I got to meet some people.

In my case, however, I decided to pursue the degree in conjunction with a mid-life career shift so I had zero solid contacts in my new professional community and very few friends or acquaintences who were even peripherally involved in or with my profession. . . .

if you'll be starting at square one in a new field, or an old field in a new geographic area, you might want to think about the networking benefits of an on-campus Masters.


This is a great point. I will say, to support this, that my cohort was geographically situated about the four winds. I had little time to meed face-to-face with the people in my cohort. We're potentially great friends, mind you, but the distance between all of us is a great factor. And, expect to have more in common with these folks than those around you in your undergrad, if you're military type. Double that factor if you did your undergrad post-military, with a modicum of reality behind you.

ALLEYCAT-2 24 November 2010 12:41

Soot I am looking to bolster what I can offer to a employer. Most of my career has been in LE and the last 6 contracting. I am just working on the next phase as I am no spring chicken and would like one day to hang up my kit and make a decent wage back home. While I know a degree is no guarantee of anything I do know it does have some weight that just might tip the scales in my favor in the right situation.

Soot 24 November 2010 13:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by ALLEYCAT-2 (Post 1057928856)
Soot I am looking to bolster what I can offer to a employer. Most of my career has been in LE and the last 6 contracting. I am just working on the next phase as I am no spring chicken and would like one day to hang up my kit and make a decent wage back home. While I know a degree is no guarantee of anything I do know it does have some weight that just might tip the scales in my favor in the right situation.

Sounds good brother.

I never say no to training and that policy has always paid off some way or some how.

I'd also consider Trig's point about an MBA in "Green" Business, or even an MBA in Pharmaceutical Management (Drexel offers an online degree).

Rutgers Business School (on-campus) got ranked really highly last year in grad job placement because they have a strong Pharma program and all the pharma companies were still hiring while Wall Street and the financial houses were battening down the hatches. Doesn't hurt that NJ is like Mecca for big pharmaceutical headquarters.

This is about where my advice on business school comes to an end though because beyond the little information I've already given I'm in way over my head talking about MBAs or the MBA job market.

Good luck whatever direction you head.

Dirtpuppy 24 November 2010 15:18

I took a few courses with American Military University before separation and all were accepted at my current university, they were well accredited. That being said, I took a few courses at the local community college here, who are supposed to work in tandem with the local universities in having courses transfer. Some were not accepted by my university. Waste of time and money, wtf.

Jong 24 November 2010 15:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dirtpuppy (Post 1057928920)
I took a few courses with American Military University before separation and all were accepted at my current university, they were well accredited. That being said, I took a few courses at the local community college here, who are supposed to work in tandem with the local universities in having courses transfer. Some were not accepted by my university. Waste of time and money, wtf.

Was that in San Antonio and if so what community college?

Soot 24 November 2010 15:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dirtpuppy (Post 1057928920)
I took a few courses with American Military University before separation and all were accepted at my current university, they were well accredited.

For an undergrad degree that makes sense.

For a grad degree I'd check with the school before assuming anything about transfering credit.

As an example, I completed my undergrad degree at Rutgers and am now completing my grad degree there too.

When matriculating as an undergrad I transfered 36 credits into the program (which I'd earned at various community colleges in NJ). I could have transfered more if I'd wanted to but no other credit qualified (I think I had to eat three classes worth of credit).

Partially I suspect this is because my grad program is much shorter than my undergrad program (36 credit hours v 120 credit hours) and also a function of professional schools wanting the lion's share of degree work being done within the program/institution that will be awarding the degree.

I only know how Rutgers does things so I can't speak authoritatively about any other programs, but I would advise to not make any assumptions where time, money, and effort could very easily be wasted. All it takes is a phone call to get yourself straightened out.

HighDragLowSpeed 24 November 2010 16:30

Wowsa.....Drexel has some great programs but is not cheap. From what I saw online, $620/credit hour for undergrad, 188 credits to graduate for the program i looked at and you can only transfer a max of 90 credits from previous work.

in short, someone would have to cough up at least $62k.

Hawkeye 24 November 2010 18:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnnymac (Post 1057928825)
Be very careful when using accreditation as a primary means by which you decide if a school is legitimate. The key is to ensure that the accrediting body is recognized by the US Department of Education.


A list of recognized accrediting bodies in the US can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/acc...allyRecognized

Here is a list of (official-sounding, but) non-recognized accrediting bodies... http://www.geteducated.com/diploma-m...-accreditation

This was very helpful. I am considering an online MBA in Project Management and have narrowed my choices down to two; Grantham University and Norwich. I did see the accrediting body that Grantham claims on the ED.gov site, so that is a good thing. One question I have as far as accredidation goes is I was always under the assumption that if a student uses either tuition assistance or VA benefits, the school must be accredited. Is that not the case?


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