Online Bachelor's Degree

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Online Bachelor's Degree

Megan
Is anyone familiar with which online Universities are most widely accepted by employer's?  Are there any that are considered the best?  I am getting ready to turn my associate degree into a bachelor's and would hate to spend a lot of time and money on an online program that is not going to even get me looked at by potential employers.  Also, are online BA's in criminal forensics even acceptable to most employers these days?  Thanks.
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Re: Online Bachelor's Degree

Jay O.
Megan: Online degree programs are becoming more and more popular, but you need to be careful in finding the legitimate ones.  I've completed more than six years of college, and at least half of that has been online.  When I graduated with my B.A., there was nothing on the transcript that indicated that it was completed online.  Now, if it really mattered to an employer they could cross-reference your address with that of the school and put 2+2 together to try and see if you were a traditional student.  I'd say that many don't care, and I have yet to be asked that question in an interview--although I lived in MN and my school (Saint Leo University) is in FL.  The degree program itself may be limited to Criminal Justice only, but I'm sure there are some that have a forensics specialization.  I specialized in Criminalistics with my B.A., but I had to transfer to the campus for those courses.  Personally, I would stay away from the University of Phoenix and ITT Tech-type programs.  Though I am sure the academics are just as good, their accreditation is not.  Saint Leo University, for instance, is regionally accredited--meaning that it is recognized nationwide.  National accreditation, on the other hand, is not--though it should seem that it would be.  You can always check a school's accreditation through the Department of Education before you waste A LOT of time and money on a program that will not be recognized by an employer.  My level of education has never been a problem with agencies I've applied with and, for the most part, has far exceeded the requirements.  Experience (or lack thereof) is another story.  Good luck!
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Re: Online Bachelor's Degree

Natalie
In reply to this post by Megan
Hi Megan and Jay,

I just graduated with my BS in Criminal Justice-CSI from Kaplan University Online.  And I did it summa cum laude!  I chose Kaplan over Phoenix because I heard their discussion boards were mostly 'group' and I'm sorry, but I work best on my own.  The last time we had a group discussion assignment, it was a massive headache and disaster getting everyone in different states on the same page.  Kaplan was a terrific experience.

I loved the online platform; I wasn't sure if I would be successful with it or not, and I was.  The instructors were stupendous, but I had issues with Financial Aid.  I am currently volunteering at my local PD (for nearly 2 years) as a Fingerprint ID clerk and I am hoping they will hire me in that position.  I spoke with a CSI guy there and he told me most places require at least 2 years experience.  However, if you look at this site's employment opportunities, 2 months ago they were advertising for entry-level CSIs.  I am keeping my hopes up and at this point, I will take any position I can in law enforcement or with the coroner.

The only drawback to online education, Megan, is hands-on experience; you receive none.  I was lucky to have met another volunteer at the PD who had an extra CSI kit (brand-new) and she gave it to me.  Trust me; those things are expensive!  Now, I can practice dusting for prints and such, and can utilize my 28mm digital camera for constructing my own crime scenes, but I personally think you would be better off looking into your local university or community college.  This way, you will have a better chance at receiving true experience with equipment and such.

Hope this helps. :)

Regards,

Nat
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Re: Online Bachelor's Degree

CRQS
In reply to this post by Megan
Hi Megan,
I graduated from Kaplan University with a BS in Criminal Justice/Crime Scene Investigation. I also have an AAS in Criminal Investigations from Everest College (online) and a Crime Scene Technician certificate from Kaplan University. So, that is five years of full-time college (graduating with a 3.99 GPA), and I can not find a job to save my life. In the three years since I graduated I have only had two interviews and both times I was asked about my online education. One interviewer even said that they were unfamiliar with online schooling and wondered how a person could learn the necessary skills without getting hands-on experience through labs and such. I realize that the job market is in the tank right now but three years is a long time without success. I have sent out many resumes, including to job openings in other states (I live in MN) and I always get the same response: "You do not meet the requirments for the job." Even if I have everything they are asking for they still turn me down. I firmly believe that it's because I received my education mostly online. The problem is, online schools are considered to be diploma mills where students can basically buy their degree. It doesn't help that virtually every test you take is open book. Perhaps you will have better luck, and I hope you do, but I truly wish I would have gone to a campus-based university. I would probably be working in my field by now. Don't just take my word for it; do your homework and seriously check into what I am saying. Best of luck.
~CRQS
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Re: Online Bachelor's Degree

Natalie
Hi CRQS,

I, too, received my BS in Criminal Justice-CSI from Kaplan Online; as a matter of fact, I just graduated in April and will walk with my cap and gown in August.

I have been volunteering as a Fingerprint ID Clerk in my local PD for nearly 2 years.  I just met the supervisor of our CSU at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and will meet with him this week.  They are looking into starting a volunteer program to assist the CS techs because of hiring constraints and the desperate need for help on the job.  I hope to be able to acquire that volunteer position; the supervisor knows I have no hands-on experience from Kaplan and this is an excellent way to obtain it.

BTW, have you seen the few postings on this sight that you just might be qualified for?  I know about being unemployed; I hold an AAS in Radiography.  I lost my job in 2008 and havent' been able to obtain employment at all.  I believe this is mostly due to my failed credit, but I have since filed bankruptcy this past December and hope that potential employers will not hold this against me.

It's the CSI effect; so many people get into this program and they don't weed out those who think it's glamorous.  The field is overwhelmed with us graduates, but I say hang in there.  If you do not already volunteer with your local PD, I would suggest it big-time.  It's a foot in the door.

Regards