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  • American Military University and Columbia Southern

    I am looking at finishing up my B.A. and possibly getting my masters. Like most cops my money is tight and don't feel like sitting in class.

    I was recently at a NCTC class and they were pushing Columbia Southern saying they accept a lot of NCTC's courses as college credits, also it seems pretty cheap about 175 for a undergrad credit.

    AMU, just sounds a little more legit but cost more than C.S.U.

    I am basically settled in my department but figure the piece of paper could help with being promoted down the line and getting a better retirement gig (Both are VERY far away.)

    Does anybody have any advice?
    Last edited by IRONWORKER; 12-12-2011, 01:15 PM. Reason: TYPO

  • #2
    I've chatted with some folks who went to AMU. It seems a lot of military folks "go" there to get their ticket punched, especially officers getting their graduate degrees. Some people think it is difficult. Some think it is easy. It is regionally accredited, but don't expect anyone to be impressed. My advice is to find a regionally accredited brick and mortar school with an on-line degree program.

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    • #3
      Doing some quick research, CSU is not regionally accredited, but is nationally accredited. Regional is the gold standard, however both are recognized by the Dept of Education. The problem is that regionally accredited university do not think nationally accredited universities have sufficient academic rigor or standards, which results in many regionally accredited institutions refusing to accept credits obtained at nationally accredited schools. So, you could get a BA at CSU and decide you want to get an MA at the Univ. of Maryland, just to have MD tell you that they will not accept any or most of CSU credits. I have also seen job and promotional opportunity postings that specify that the candidate must have a regionally accredited degree.

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      • #4
        Thanks, so regionally accredited is better than national? I figure what ever school I attend for the undergrad would be the same one for grad work as well.

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        • #5
          Yes. Some people make national accreditation work for them, especially government employees. I would not spend my money on a degree that I know will not be accepted by everyone.

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          • #6
            You need to make sure it is both regionally and nationally accredited, period.

            There is also something called Accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council for online courses. AMU hits all three.

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            • #7
              I can answer any of your questions from the perspective of an AMU student. I am also a police officer and supervisor. I wholeheartedly believe that AMU is a great university. I also volunteer for American Military University as an Ambassador

              Like a previous post indicated: the difference between regional accreditation and national accreditation is massive! I know this firsthand. My first degree was a bachelor of arts in counterterrorism studies from what was a state accredited school. I was surprised to find that I had wasted a lot of money and time on a degree that was useless as far as advanced certification and career options go. I’m now at AMU and hope to finish my “accredited” bachelor’s degree by the end of 2012 and start on my graduate degree right away.

              Yahoo had a good article that describes the difference best: “Regional accreditation generally applies to what most people consider a "traditional college or university." UCLA, Ohio State, Harvard, and University of Phoenix are all regionally accredited institutions. Historically, these institutions prepared an individual for an advanced degree. In order to do graduate work at many of these institutions, you must have obtained a bachelor degree from another regionally accredited institution…National accreditation generally applies to what most people consider a "vocational college or institution." ITT Tech, Bryman College, and The Art Institute are examples of nationally accredited institutions. National accreditation agencies focus on a specific field of study, for example, Art and Design, Business, or Physical Therapy. Historically, national accreditation agencies review institutions that have a career-focused curriculum.”

              A lot of these nationally accredited “universities” are under scrutiny as a lot of their graduates are out a lot of money and find that they have a worthless piece of paper that a lot of universities and employers are unwilling to accept. Read this article from Inside Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/02/26/transfer.

              Summary: most agencies out there (from local to the three letter federals) and state POST certification bodies require regional accreditation for their credits to be transferable.

              The biggest advantages I find appealing with AMU are:
              1. You share the classroom with like-minded people. Every class I take is inevitably filled with police officers and active/separated armed forces personnel. It’s easier to take a class when you’re surrounded with your peers. On top of your classmates, the professors are frequently well experienced and educated in their fields and you’ll find some amazing credentials among some of these instructors.
              2. There is flexibility with the course work. You still have deadlines with AMU. For example the class I’m in right now requires forum and discussion board posts by Wednesdays and Sundays. Most AMU classes have deadlines every Sunday. In between that time you get your work done when you can.
              3. Speaking of work. AMU requires WORK!!! Some of the academic course work was far harder than I ever had with the brick and mortar schools I attended. They try to simulate the discussion and social aspect of the classroom as much as possible and that requires a bit of time on your part. The coursework itself isn’t any easier just because it’s online. You still have a lot of reading to do, papers to write and exams to take. In fact I’ll be up for several hours tonight trying to get a few hundred pages read in one of my current classes.
              4. Transfer and portfolio credits with AMU. With AMU you can transfer in a lot of your POST training and credits from other universities. I had 38 credits from Idaho State University that I took 8 years ago and was able to transfer all of them into my degree plan. They also allow you to take a portfolio assessment class free of charge to develop a portfolio for specific 3 credit classes (up to 30 credits or ¼ of your degree total). These are typically in areas related to your job (ie: criminal justice) if you have the work experience and can demonstrate proficiency in the specific class.
              5. Cost. Compared to a lot of other regionally accredited university, AMU ranks high in my opinion for value. The $250 undergrad credit also includes free books, which can add up.
              6. They’re a partner with the National Fraternal Order of Police University. I’ve held various local and state executive board positions within the FOP and this is how I originally heard about AMU. Compared with a lot of other partner universities, AMU appealed to me.
              7. They offer a variety of degree options and specializations. What other university would you find certificates or degrees in criminal intelligence studies, homeland security, criminal justice, middle east studies? The best part of that is a lot of the professors teaching these classes aren’t only educated in the field, but have the experience to back it up! I had a hard time finding this experience when looking at the faculty profiles from a lot of other universities.

              AMU is definitely gaining recognition and acceptance in the field and if you’re looking for a great academic experience that won’t break the bank, then I’d look to AMU!

              Please feel free to PM me and I can give you my contact information if you have any other questions about AMU. In no way am I paid by AMU, but I think they do a pretty good job and send a lot of people their way. (In fact…I pay them thousands of dollars every semester!) ; )

              Whatever you decide just make sure you go regionally accredited and find a university where the curriculum and eventual outcome are consistent with your career goals.

              Stay safe!

              Ryan

              Links:
              http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/edu...elearn-09.html
              AMU’s Report Card: http://collegeprowler.com/american-p...ersity-system/
              AMU’s Review: http://www.mynextcollege.com/college...ic-university/
              AMU Public Safety: http://www.amu.apus.edu/lp/public-safety
              Last edited by ryan8b32; 12-15-2011, 01:17 AM. Reason: I can't spell apparently

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              • #8
                My advice (as being someone in your same shoes but looking at getting my Masters) is to look at AMU's prices....and Brick and Mortar schools that do online stuff and compare.....

                Most times, the Brick and Mortar Schools will be a lot cheaper....

                In your area, I would look @ U of Maryland..... With them, you could probably get a mix of online and actual classroom stuff right in your area and pay a lot less than you would with AMU......

                Good luck....

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                • #9
                  I'm finishing my Masters program with AMU.

                  The only reason I chose them is because they offered the degree that makes the most sense with my resume (Unconventional Warefare)

                  If I was looking for whole value, I would probably have gone with a program from a slightly cheaper school like my esteemed collegue the Bearcat suggested.

                  M-11
                  “All men dream...... But not equally..
                  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
                  but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
                  for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

                  TE Lawrence

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice fellas, I am also looking at UMUC and GW's police science program I am not sure if it is online though.

                    Comment

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