Ask An Expert: Real Questions, Expert Answers
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Throughout our site, you have the opportunity to submit questions to our team of online education experts. You can also view questions submitted by others, starting with some of the most recent submissions listed below.
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We understand this concern. The best way to have all your bases covered is to study social work by distance learning through a regionally accredited, nonprofit university that also has a physical campus. That way, you will avoid some of the 'online school' stigma. These programs are most common at the master's degree level, such as the one offered by Virginia Commonwealth University. However, you can find BSW (bachelor's of social work) distance learning programs as well, like the ones through CSU San Bernardino or Appalachian State University.
Since these programs are through state universities, they will be selective. You will need to apply at a particular time and compete against other applicants. However, when it comes time to compete against other job applicants for a social work position, a degree from a state university will look better than a degree from the University of Phoenix.
We know of two accredited, legitimate online high school diploma programs: Penn Foster and Ashworth. You can find both here.
The school with the best reputation among fully online universities is Western Governors University. It is a regionally accredited, nonprofit university founded by a coalition of governors. It offers only four subjects, all of which are career-oriented and can be learned well online: teaching, business, IT and allied health.
If you are not interested in any of these fields, do some research on the other colleges in our 2013 top college rankings. The bottom line, if you are going for a bachelor's degree, is to attend a school that is regionally accredited. This means that one of six official agencies has accredited it, and other schools will accept its degrees and transfer credits as legitimate. Nationally accredited schools may also provide good career training, but there is no guarantee that other schools will accept their credits.
We are not a school, but a resource for finding schools. Many of our schools are for-profit schools that practice open enrollment, and these schools tend to limit enrollment to U.S. and Canadian citizens because it makes the paperwork easier to process. However, many of the PhD programs listed on our site are from nonprofit universities, such as Arizona State University. These universities are selective, and look more at the merit of the applicant. You should contact these universities, tell them your situation, and find out whether they will allow you to apply. They probably will.
Penn Foster Career School, which offers both a career diploma and an associate's degree in medical office administration, is the school we recommend. It has a recommendation rate of 84% among current and former students, and for its healthcare programs, a recommendation rate of 88%. Compare that to the University of Phoenix's recommendation rate of 56%. It will also be your cheapest online option. Its career diploma costs less than $700, and its associate's degree is more affordable than any other online college we know of.
A master's degree is not required for entry into law school. As long as your bachelor's degree is from a regionally accredited college or university, you can apply to law school. If the online college you got your master's degree from is regionally accredited, great. That will be an extra credential that will help your application stand out.
The RN to BSN bridge degree is very commonly available online, because the BSN requires a lot of traditional college classes that other nursing degrees don't, and students will already have their clinicals out of the way. However, the online RN, where clinicals are the main part of the training, is very rare. You might be eligible for Western Governors University's BSN with RN License program, which will arrange for you to take in-person clinicals if it accepts you; no online substitute for these. You can also look into Indiana State University's LPN to BSN program, which is designed for practicing LPNs. Though the BSN degree does undoubtedly take longer to attain than the RN license, over the next ten years it will become the gold standard to become promoted as a nurse.
Stafford University, which is based in the UK, is accredited by EUCOA, the European Committee for Online Accreditation. EUCOA also accredits Walsingham University. Stafford only offers business programs, through the distance learning format.
For elementary ed, we recommend Western Governors University. This regionally accredited nonprofit university was founded by a coalition of governors to provide quality online education, and limits itself to only a few subjects, such as teacher training, that can be learned well online.
Jones International University, while it is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, has been "on notice" by the commission since 2011. Its accreditation status will be decided later in 2013. We do not recommend attending Jones until its accreditation is resolved.
Here is an APA citation guide for online sources, from Purdue University. The different entries in this guide give you the formats for citing different types of online sources, in a bibliography or Works Cited at the end of your paper. We are a "Nonperiodical Web Document, Web Page, or Report." If citing us within the text of your paper, just call us by the name of our organization, GuidetoOnlineSchools.
Any regionally accredited PhD program will be accredited in California. Regional accreditation means that one of six official agencies, divided up by U.S. region, has given the school its stamp of approval. The accreditation is not limited to the region the school is in. You will want to get your PhD from a regionally accredited, rather than nationally accredited, school. Nationally accredited schools are career-oriented, go through a less rigorous evaluation process for their accreditation, and the academic world tends to look down on them. As far as online programs, we recommend Walden University the most highly out of our list of accredited schools that offer the PhD in education or Ed.D.
No, Lorenz High is a diploma mill scam. A diploma mill is a school that offers you a diploma in exchange for paying a fee. It pretends to assess your "life experience" and decides you are qualified for the diploma. In reality, everyone who pays the fee qualifies, and the school has no classes to offer. Because schools that do not really teach classes do not become accredited by reputable agencies, Lorenz High is not accredited. The only way you can take one test and earn the equivalent of a high school diploma is to take the GED at a testing center in your state. If you want to earn your diploma by studying online, there are two accredited schools, Penn Foster and Ashworth College, that we recommend.
A professional certification is proof that you are qualified for a particular profession. For instance, teacher certification demonstrates that an individual is ready to teach, and Microsoft networking certification shows that an IT professional can manage a network that runs on Microsoft software. You can look at the types of certifications that the schools on our site offer to see many more examples.
You can certainly study ID, or interior design, online without earning a degree. Interior design courses are available from, among other schools, Rhodec International. Our school directory also lists several interior design programs, all of which should let you take individual courses. Since you are not pursuing a degree, you do not need to be limited to regionally or nationally accredited schools, but you should ask about your instructors' design industry experience, since you want the knowledge they are imparting to be worthwhile.
Those would include the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, the Art Institute of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Ashford University currently possesses regional accreditation, the highest form of accreditation, from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. However, the HLC has put Ashford on notice that it could lose its accreditation, and will continue to review the school for the remainder of 2013. This accreditation, and potential lack of accreditation in the future, extends to all of Ashford's programs, including accounting.
The cheapest way for you to get this degree would be to get it through the community college in your area. Local community colleges are almost always cheaper than online degree programs provided by schools with a national reach. However, if you want to get the degree entirely online, here are the business AAS degree programs in our school finder. Use the sidebar on the left to sort by annual tuition rate. The majority of these programs cost more than $10,000 a year.
That would be a Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration with a focus on Computer Information Systems.
For a bachelor's in business, we recommend Western Governors University. They have six different business specialties at the B.S. level, but here is a link to their overall list of programs, so you can browse. WGU is a nonprofit, accredited university founded by a coalition of governors, with the mission of providing affordable, high-quality online education. They focus on only those subjects that can be taught well online, such as business and IT.