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  1. #1
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Universidad empresarial de Costa Rica

    Hi Board,
    I have a friend that is still looking for an affordable option for a Doctorate in Natural or Alternative Medicine. I posted a while ago for feedback about the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines that is quite affordable but the feedback from the board was negative as the school is not accredited in India, it seems that is the equivalent to a state approved or non accredited in the US as the school is not listed in the UGC web site.

    It seems that my friend found that Empresarial in Costa Rica is also offering a Doctorate in Natural medicine that is quite affordable (about 6K) and the school is listed by the UNESCO and listed as a University in Costa Rica.

    Would Empresarial be good enough to train a natural doctor without the fear of being tagged as a fake Dr because the unaccredited degree?

    I think the issue here is credibility, my friend doesn't want to get a degree that later a potential customer might use to sue him because the lack of credibility.

    In Canada, Natural medicine is mainly unregulated so even Indian Board might do the trick but my friend is afraid that later if regulated, the degree would not be acceptable to practice Natural medicine due to its lack of accreditation.

    Can we trust an Empresarial degree to be credible enough so people will not accuse you of misrepresentation or a degree mill holder?

    I agree that Empresarial is not prestigious but this is not for a corporate job but for self employment and mainly to give you the right to use in a business "John Doe PhD in Natural Medicine" without the risk of being accused of being a fake Dr.
    Last edited by RFValve; 05-31-2016 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    There would seem to be 2+ questions in play. The first has to do with the reputation/legitimacy of this school in Costa Rica. The second has to do with what the law requires to practice "Natural Medicine" in Canada (your friend lives in Canada, right?) and then the added question is whether a degree from this school would satisfy the legal criteria. Let's assume the school is legit, accredited, approved, whatever term is best. Then it comes down to a reading of Canadian law. Is "Natural Medicine" a practice that requires licensure in Canada? Is there some other practice, some other term that doesn't require licensure? Is it national law or provincial law that is in question?
    American College of Sports Medicine

  3. #3
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    The last time I looked, Empresarial was legal and recognized in Costa Rica. That would seem to indicate that they are legitimate, but I don't know if anyone's gone through a foreign degree evaluation to cement that.

    Then there's the U.S.-based operation, which seems (or seemed) to be renting Empresarial's degree-granting authority while running degree programs (including doctorates) in English with seemingly no involvement with the home campus in Costa Rica. So there's that. (Search this site for a great deal of information about this arrangement.)

  4. #4
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    It makes me want to merge this thread with that recent thread on Herbology

    Doctorates in Herbology, Herbal Medicine?

    because the other part of this question is whether you can practice any of this stuff legally in Canada. Can you even call it "practicing medicine" without a medical license?
    American College of Sports Medicine

  5. #5
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    It makes me want to merge this thread with that recent thread on Herbology

    Doctorates in Herbology, Herbal Medicine?

    because the other part of this question is whether you can practice any of this stuff legally in Canada. Can you even call it "practicing medicine" without a medical license?

    Kizmet,
    Thanks, in Canada most of the natural medicine training institutes do not grant degrees but diplomas. Each association has a list of schools that they recognize but they also are open to foreign degrees or training if the prospect practitioner offers proof that training was equivalent.
    The issue is mainly the right to call your self "PhD", many individuals get degrees from Open International in Sri Lanka or Indian Board that cost under thousand dollars and use the PhD title in their business cards. As there is no need for a PhD to practice natural medicine, the individual can use it but this can be a potential time bomb as if the customers realize that the person got a substandard non recognized degree, this can leak to the press and cause some real damage to your reputation.
    Check the link below:
    Physiotherapist to the stars turns out to hold no qualifications | Daily Mail Online

    My friend just wants a doctorate that can pass the test if someone challenges its legitimacy. With Empresarial, one could get a local equivalency report and use it to defend yourself from potential press or customers attacks as the ones above.

    As sports medicine, sports psychology , natural medicine, etc are not legislated, one could be tempted to get a cheap degree and practice these professions. The problem is that someone might expose you to the press and you might lose all your practice because of this.
    The other option is just to get a certificate but customers might prefer someone with the PhD title on the business card.
    Empresarial is not as cheap as Indian Board or Open University but might do the trick of passing the test to be considered legit and not a time bomb on a resume.

  6. #6
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Douglas View Post
    The last time I looked, Empresarial was legal and recognized in Costa Rica. That would seem to indicate that they are legitimate, but I don't know if anyone's gone through a foreign degree evaluation to cement that.

    Then there's the U.S.-based operation, which seems (or seemed) to be renting Empresarial's degree-granting authority while running degree programs (including doctorates) in English with seemingly no involvement with the home campus in Costa Rica. So there's that. (Search this site for a great deal of information about this arrangement.)
    Thanks Rich, I found this link below:
    http://www.rt3s.com/Canada_Revenue_1.pdf
    It seems that a Canadian credential evaluator would accept empresaral based on this report but this dates from 2009 so things might have changed.
    I noticed that the school has a lot of foreign operations with schools in Africa, this might not be necessarily bad as many Canadian schools do the same thing with schools in Latin America but as you said, they might be just renting the name with no quality assurance.
    However, to be quite honest, a lot of schools are doing the the same thing. The University of Liverpool rents its name to Laureate, Laureate hires faculty and delivers the courses with little input from the UoL other than the stamp of a approval so Empresarial is not doing something different. In Spain, it is also quite common for schools to rent their names and get a company to deliver their courses in order to reduce costs.

  7. #7
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    Couple things. Practice as ND (Naturopathic Doctor) or DNM (Doctor of Natural Medicine) is regulated in several provinces. Here's an article on the difference - and the regulations.

    ND & DNM: What’s the Difference? | Vitality Magazine | Toronto Canada alternative health, natural medicine and green living

    Yes, many of the complementary therapies are not regulated. I guess dodgy-or-no-degrees-at-all are allowable there - IBAM, OUICM, whatever. I realize nobody asked, but that's OK by me. As long as I know this, I can stay away from people with dubious or no qualifications. Others can pick their poison as they wish. Universidad Empresarial in Costa Rica was approved by CONESUP to offer three programs only: two bachelor's and a master's - on ground and in Costa Rica only. No other degrees, no distance degrees. There is an offshore operation using the same name that grants degrees up to Doctorates, in oh - lots of things. AFAIK, these don't have any Costa Rican approval. What approval do they have? I have no idea. The Costa Rican school itself may be inactive. Here's from the Wiki:

    (1) "In that year (1997-J) it was approved by the Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Universitaria Privada, the national council of higher education of Costa Rica,[5] to award undergraduate degrees in accounting and business administration , and master's degrees in business administration ."

    (2) "The university reported no graduates in 2007, and enrolled no students in 2010; it may be inactive."

    Here's the whole thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univer..._de_Costa_Rica

    Are Canadian authorities really unaware of the difference? Are they not aware of the limited CONESUP approval of three degrees only? Do they care that the Costa Rican school is not a SINAES member? Do they know of the offshore operation? I'd have thought they would. question: Here's the SINAES page. DO you see Universidad Empresarial? No, you don't. Acreditación de carreras universitarias | SINAES

    BTW - I thought the $30K you mentioned was quite a reasonable cost for a proper education in Natural Medicine. After all, a good degree should lead to a pretty well-paid, somewhat prestigious career - in a helping profession, that deals with people's lives. It's a heck of a lot less than it costs to earn an MD. And that's OK. I think that's as it should be.

    J.
    Last edited by Johann; 06-01-2016 at 04:11 PM.

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  9. #8
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    Another quote from the WIki that - I think - bears repeating:

    "In 2013 it was described by The Costa Rica Star as "infamous" for its involvement in several diploma mill allegations, in cases where students paid to receive degrees without following a course of study.[2] The university has awarded PhD degrees to people in Germany and the United States.[2] A 2008 investigation by Der Spiegel failed to find any legitimate campus or professors associated with UNEM.[3]"

    Indeed, at one time, degrees of UNEM were evaluated as equivalent to RA. Those were the three degrees that UNEM was authorized to offer on-ground in Costa Rica. That was then. This is now.

    J.

  10. #9
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johann View Post
    Couple things. Practice as ND (Naturopathic Doctor) or DNM (Doctor of Natural Medicine) is regulated in several provinces. Here's an article on the difference - and the regulations.

    ND & DNM: What’s the Difference? | Vitality Magazine | Toronto Canada alternative health, natural medicine and green living

    Yes, many of the complementary therapies are not regulated. I guess dodgy-or-no-degrees-at-all are allowable there - IBAM, OUICM, whatever. I realize nobody asked, but that's OK by me. As long as I know this, I can stay away from people with dubious or no qualifications. Others can pick their poison as they wish. Universidad Empresarial in Costa Rica was approved by CONESUP to offer three programs only: two bachelor's and a master's - on ground and in Costa Rica only. No other degrees, no distance degrees. There is an offshore operation using the same name that grants degrees up to Doctorates, in oh - lots of things. AFAIK, these don't have any Costa Rican approval. What approval do they have? I have no idea. The Costa Rican school itself may be inactive. Here's from the Wiki:

    (1) "In that year (1997-J) it was approved by the Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Universitaria Privada, the national council of higher education of Costa Rica,[5] to award undergraduate degrees in accounting and business administration , and master's degrees in business administration ."

    (2) "The university reported no graduates in 2007, and enrolled no students in 2010; it may be inactive."

    Here's the whole thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univer..._de_Costa_Rica

    Are Canadian authorities really unaware of the difference? Are they not aware of the limited CONESUP approval of three degrees only? Do they care that the Costa Rican school is not a SINAES member? Do they know of the offshore operation? I'd have thought they would. question: Here's the SINAES page. DO you see Universidad Empresarial? No, you don't. Acreditación de carreras universitarias | SINAES

    BTW - I thought the $30K you mentioned was quite a reasonable cost for a proper education in Natural Medicine. After all, a good degree should lead to a pretty well-paid, somewhat prestigious career - in a helping profession, that deals with people's lives. It's a heck of a lot less than it costs to earn an MD. And that's OK. I think that's as it should be.

    J.

    Thanks, natural medicine and naturopath medicine are two different things. The ND programs are more in the homeopathy while natural medicine can include energy medicine, biofeedback, etc.

    For natural medicine, there is no legal requirement other than insurance and some cities require license to offer services. In any case, most of the natural medicine training places are not universities but private institutes.

    Yes, getting a degree from a low profile Costa Rican school is risky as the Canadian authorities can change their mind if they see this school selling degrees and put it on a black list but again, it might pass the test and nobody might question it.

    I doubt Canadian authorities go far to check what degrees are authorized and what not. WES is a lot more strict so my guess is that Empresarial would not pass the WES test but Provincial government foreign credential evaluation systems are less strict as they seem just to as far as check if the school is in a book or not.

    Azteca in a way is doing the same thing, they are a low profile Mexican school that normally teaches undergraduate programs on Campus but over the internet they "validate" PhDs, masters, etc but few people know that Mexican schools are only authorized to grant certain degrees but people buy Azteca degrees because authorities in other countries only go as far as checking if the school is in a book or not.

    My gut feeling is that Empresarial is just a step up Indian Board but not by much. I don't think my friend is going to go for a 30K program as it is a very risky business, most people that go in this field do not succeed as there is too much competition and provincial universal medicare does not cover natural medicine so most people will go and see regular doctors and only few will go to see natural doctors mainly as a last recourse if nothing works.

    Empresarial is only 6K and requires only a dissertation so it is very similar to Indian Board. I wouldn't be surprise if Empresarial just hires Indian Board to supervise the student and just charges extra for granting a better degree.

    Indian Board can do the trick to register as a natural doctor but there is a lot of bad press in the media about this school that might hurt your business in the long run. However, Empresarial does not have a wonderful reputation either but at least appears in a recognized University handbook so at least people cannot call it a plain degree mill.

    I learn about Indian Board from Simon Atkins as I watched few of his videos:

    https://about.me/drsimonatkins

    In every video he makes he explains about 5 minutes why he decided to do a doctorate at Indian Board claiming that no other school would supervise his type of research.
    In few words, when you graduate from a low profile unaccredited school, you have to spend the rest of your life defending your school and justifying and I think this is what my friend wants to avoid.
    Last edited by RFValve; 06-01-2016 at 04:54 PM.

  11. #10
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    RFVAlve: I learn about Indian Board from Simon Atkins
    Johann: I learned about it from people knowledgeable on degree mills.

    RFValve: In few words, when you graduate from a low profile unaccredited school, you have to spend the rest of your life defending your school and justifying and I think this is what my friend wants to avoid.
    Johann: Couldn't agree more. Let's help your friend avoid this!

    BTW: Azteca and several other schools cross-validate each other. UNEM did this for a while with European-American University. DI has some threads on that school.

    J.

  12. #11
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFValve
    However, Empresarial does not have a wonderful reputation either but at least appears in a recognized University handbook so at least people cannot call it a plain degree mill.
    They can't? Some people do. Here's from the Wiki again: "In 2013 it was described by The Costa Rica Star as "infamous" for its involvement in several diploma mill allegations..."
    Being included in a handbook listing does not vouch for a school in any academic sense. I can easily think of a few other schools listed in the UNESCO handbook that have frequently been called mills - deservedly, too!

    Quote Originally Posted by RFValve
    ...provincial universal medicare does not cover natural medicine so most people will go and see regular doctors and only few will go to see natural doctors mainly as a last recourse if nothing works.
    There's an old joke in Mexico - it deals with doctors and "curanderos" - the traditional folk-healers, known there for centuries:

    "When a poor man is sick, he goes to a curandero. When he is desperate, he goes to a doctor.
    When a rich man is sick, he goes to a doctor. When he is desperate, he goes to a curandero."


    Yes, many alternative therapies are unregulated, and quite legal . People make their own choices. That's all good, I guess - as long as it works and/or no harm is done. But some quacks claim to cure all manner of dread afflictions. What happens when the magic berry-juice doesn't shrink the tumor and the patient, who might have been saved by traditional means, dies? Or, some other quack with no real medical training simply didn't realize his/her now-dead or moribund patient had cancer... The repercussions for the "Doctor" can be dire, particularly in the case of an unacceptable "degree." And that's as it should be.

    In many cases mainstream accreditors can't and won't accredit schools that teach alternate therapy programs How are they supposed to accredit stuff that is not (or not yet) deemed to be solid science - or science of any kind in some cases? Naturally, unaccredited schools welcome this type of business. There is nothing to stop them. As I see it, that's why so many practitioners have degrees from less-than-wonderful schools.

    I think your friend should forget quickie, cheap degrees - or any degrees with low-or-no utility. While he/she is working, he/she should enrol for unquestioned degrees. As we both know, usually Bachelor's/Masters/Doctorate is the required order. I wish your friend luck commensurate with his / her good intentions.

    J.
    Last edited by Johann; 06-02-2016 at 04:01 PM.

  13. #12
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFValve
    I don't think my friend is going to go for a 30K program as it is a very risky business, most people that go in this field do not succeed as there is too much competition and provincial universal medicare does not cover natural medicine so most people will go and see regular doctors and only few will go to see natural doctors mainly as a last recourse if nothing works.
    Been thinking about this. So, your friend wants to get into a field in which he/she lacks formal qualifications. According to you, it's not worth spending good money to qualify, because there's very little business to be had; mostly those who are desperate, because the (free) mainstream medical community has not cured them.

    The unqualified, treating the desperate. Now there's a recipe for disaster, if I ever saw it. To top it off, your friend is seeking a quick cheap um-doctorate that will hopefully impress without smelling too bad. Well, I don't want to get involved in that.

    But if your friend ever wants (and is qualified) to earn a real doctorate at very reasonable cost from this part of the world - then I suggest he/she look at Universidad Central de Nicaragua. They do distance-ed, for English-speaking students. We have DI members in Nicaragua who confirm that on-ground, there's a "real" and active school - properly licensed to award degrees. We have at least one member (I think maybe others, by now) who earned a doctorate from there and has had good acceptance of it in the U.S.

    J.
    Last edited by Johann; 06-03-2016 at 01:41 PM.

  14. #13
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFVAlve
    I learn about Indian Board from Simon Atkins...
    I believe that in 2010, when Atkins received his, an IBAM doctorate cost about $900, payable in advance. I checked today and it's now up to a whopping $1750.

    I note this person also obtained a PhD from CCNH (Clayton College of Natural Health) - an Alabama school never accredited by a recognized agency. It's now closed, so you can no longer get a Doctorate in Naturopathy there for ~$1,700+. I don't know exactly what Dr. Atkins' CCNH PhD cost, though, as it is in biometeoelectromagnetics™, described as a form of "energy medicine.". That's right. He trademarked the subject in which he obtained his CCNH doctorate.

    Here are three stories on Clayton College of Natural Health, including one from Quackwatch, and the closure of CCNH and subsequent class action lawsuit.

    The Biggest Quack School in Natural Medicine Closes

    Clayton College of Natural Health: Be Wary of the School and Its Graduates

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayto...Natural_Health

    We also have some juicy DI threads on CCNH. --and IBAM, for that matter.

    J.
    Last edited by Johann; 06-05-2016 at 11:34 AM.

  15. #14
    RFValve is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johann View Post
    Been thinking about this. So, your friend wants to get into a field in which he/she lacks formal qualifications. According to you, it's not worth spending good money to qualify, because there's very little business to be had; mostly those who are desperate, because the (free) mainstream medical community has not cured them.

    The unqualified, treating the desperate. Now there's a recipe for disaster, if I ever saw it. To top it off, your friend is seeking a quick cheap um-doctorate that will hopefully impress without smelling too bad. Well, I don't want to get involved in that.

    But if your friend ever wants (and is qualified) to earn a real doctorate at very reasonable cost from this part of the world - then I suggest he/she look at Universidad Central de Nicaragua. They do distance-ed, for English-speaking students. We have DI members in Nicaragua who confirm that on-ground, there's a "real" and active school - properly licensed to award degrees. We have at least one member (I think maybe others, by now) who earned a doctorate from there and has had good acceptance of it in the U.S.

    J.
    Thanks, I checked UCN and it can be a good option. There is no bad press for this school as empresarial. They have a PhD in natural medicine so I think it could be a good match. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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  17. #15
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    BTW- interesting note on the IBAM page. This Indian school says:

    "The Ph.D. degree will be awarded by Trinity World University, Turks and Caicos Islands (U.K. Overseas Territory)." You can see it here: http(colon slash slash)altmedworld(dot)net(slash)alternative(dash)m edicine(dash)phd(dash)program(dot)htm

    Hmmm.

  18. #16
    Johann is offline Registered User
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    The above "Trinity" school can be seen at http(colon slash slash) trinityworduniversity(dot)com. It says it's legally incorporated in T&C, its purpose is to grant degrees from associate through doctorate and it is exempt from local taxes for 20 years. I have no doubt that's all true. No mention of a specific accreditation agency or any Ministry-accorded degree-granting authority. Perhaps it has such and I don't know about it ... then why is it a dot-com?

    The site does carry some mention of Hague Apostilles. And yes - details of its agreement with IBAM.

    J.
    Last edited by Johann; 06-05-2016 at 12:07 PM.

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