Degree advice/ Help

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tactiv3, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    Hello my name is Josh. I am new here and was wandering if anyone would mind helping me with suggesting a path for my degree? I currently have a AAS in Criminal Justice and looking at maybe going into something else. I mean i need a degree that i can finish as fast as possible. I also have over 1000 police academy hours. Several Fema credits. I also am working on finishing aleks college algebra . I will list the course i currently have if you guys wouldn't mind looking and giving me advice on maybe whats the best degree to choose. I am aware of the 3 big schools and i am not opposed to them. Thank in advance to anyone who can help me figure this mess out.

    Credits completed so far:

    CRJ 110- intro to criminal justice (3)

    CRJ 112- Criminal law (3)

    CRJ 114- Rules of criminal evidence (3)

    CRJ 140- Ethics in criminal justice (3)

    CRJ 222- Criminal investigation (3)

    CRJ 120- Juvenile justice system (3)

    CRJ 150- Report writing (3)

    CRJ 215- Patrol operations and tactics (3)

    CRJ 220- Criminal justice internship (3)

    CRJ 224- Criminal justice organizational leadership (3)

    CRJ 242- Advanced criminal investigation (3)

    Col 101- intro to college (1)

    HPE 101- Physical fitness (1)

    HPE 110- Recreational shooting (1)

    HPE 111- Recreational shooting 2 (1)

    HPE 132- First aid/ cpr (3)

    HPE 201- Physical fitness 2 (1)

    ENG 101- English composition 1 (3)

    PSC 102- US & Missouri government & constitution (3)

    SOC 105- General sociology (3)

    SOC 250- Social disorganization (3)

    SPD 105- Oral communication (3)

    CIS 122- Basic computer skills (1)

    MGT 103- Business math (3)

    PHY 102- Topics physical science (3)

    total 63 credits
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    The best degree for you is going to depend, at least in part, on how you hope to use the degree once it's conferred. "Looking maybe of going into something else" is not an especially focused goal. What do you see as the choices? Career direction?
  3. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    I apologize for the vague post. Mainly I need a degree, just to say I have one. I am currently looking to just advance my current position, but have the flexibility to change careers if need be. That being said, I find myself leaning towards three degrees: Business, Liberal arts, Communication , and feel like these degrees would be the most open to a career change. I am wandering of the three, which will be the easiest and fastest to complete with what I currently have completed? I plan on testing out of if not all of the degree if possible.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Josh: "I mean i need a degree that i can finish as fast as possible...."

    Johann: I get it. A Bachelor's ASAP so you can "check the box" and move forward. No problem. And I assume your path includes testing-out, Aleks etc. I notice your degree is an AAS so I'm assuming it might be NA. If so, and NA is OK with you, you might want to look into a Bachelor completion program at one of many DEAC-accredited distance schools. California Coast U. comes to mind, but there are many others. You can compile yourself a list of likely schools using the DEAC on-site database.

    If an RA degree is your goal, the Big 3 are certainly good choices. There are Big 3 grads here aplenty, and I hope some will come forward. I think what you want to know first-off will be:

    (1) How many (hopefully most) of your credits will transfer?
    (2) With what you have, what are the most expedient degree-paths available at the big 3 schools?

    For a start, I Googled "degree path at TESC" and got some useful basic info. Several sources.
    I suggest you might start your journey by trying searches on all of the Big 3. As far as credit-transfer goes, the schools themselves are the final and sole arbiters, though you'll likely get some informed opinions to go by, as you research.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2016
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Josh: "I also have over 1000 police academy hours."

    Johann: I'd think those, coupled with law enforcement experience, might well be worth some credit, once properly documented for Prior Learning Assessment. What do any of our LE members think?

  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I could never watch that movie so many times.

  7. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    Excelsior College gives credit for many police academy programs and has criminal justice and public safety degrees. Excelsior is a quick way to finish if you like taking exams for credit.

    Penn-Foster also has a nice, very inexpensive, and self-paced criminal justice program if you don't mind DEAC accreditation.

    Excelsior College | Directory of CJTA Credit Recommendations
    Excelsior College | Bachelors Degrees | Public Service | Online Classes
    Online Criminal Justice - Bachelor's Degree | Penn Foster College
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You're looking to go into something else? If that something else is not in the criminal justice field, then there will only be so many criminal justice courses you can use toward a bachelor's degree. I'm assuming you don't want to get a generic degree in general studies, liberal studies, social science, or liberal arts because those really won't get you closer to something else than a BA in CJ. That means that your criminal justice courses will be used as electives, and there is only so much space for electives. Even if you are open to a degree in CJ, I highly recommend that you get a degree in something else since CJ degrees don't have much utility outside of the CJ system, and you don't need a degree in CJ to work in law enforcement.

    You can possibly test out of a BSBA in General Management, Human Resources Management/Organizational Management, Computer Information Systems, Marketing, or Accounting at Thomas Edison State University for less than $4,000. Since these can be completed 100% by credit-by-exam or very cheap, self-paced courses, these will probably be the fastest degrees that aren't criminal justice or something along the lines of general/liberal studies. They will probably also be cheaper than general/liberal studies.
  9. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    Firstly thank to all of you for responding.

    Johann:I notice your degree is an AAS so I'm assuming it might be NA.

    Actually my degree is regional accredited through the Higher Learning Commission . My college had a hybrid program were in 9 months you got your class A P.O.S.T certification along with the AAS in Criminal justice. Also thanks sanantone, i will look at these degrees more in depth. I truly do not want a degree in Criminal Justice due to the fact of the high turnover rate in my current profession. I need flexibility just in case i burn out of law enforcement. To kismet i love that movie lol and to Tonym, i appreciate the advice.
  10. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    Thank you to all who have responded.

    Johann my AAS is actually regional accredited through higher learning commission. The college actually had a hybrid program were you get your class A P.O.S.T certification, along with the AAS in criminal justice.

    Sanantone thank you i will check into those degrees in more depth. Also i believe your right i need a degree with more flexibly other than criminal justice. Due to the high burnout rate of my profession it best to pursue another option just in case.

    kizmet i love that movie lol.

    Tonym thanks for the advice.

    Sorry for the noob question but is one of the big 3 better or worst than the others?
  11. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    sanantone would TESC Communications degree offer me more free elective for the crj course? It says 27 free elective, i am just worried the other degrees you suggested wont have enough room. sorry for the noob question lol. I know i would have to take the capstone there.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    No. It all depends on your situation. However, I tend to only recommend Excelsior whenever people have certain certifications or want a degree that's not offered at the other two. They have a nice military discount too, but so do the other two. It's usually cheaper to go to COSC or TESU, but COSC has a limited selection of degree programs.

    All of TESU's BA programs allow for 27 credits in free electives. You can also design your own degree at COSC (individualized studies) or TESU (learner designed area of study), but the concentration you create won't be an official title for your degree and won't show up on your transcript or diploma. Excelsior's BS in Liberal Arts is very flexible, but it would be an even worse degree to get than criminal justice.
  13. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    Thank you i am more than likely going to stick wit tesc. One other thing how does the portfolio work? i have 5 years in law enforcement along with 5 years in machining and manufacturing and i was the IT guy in my academy. Do you think any of that prior life experience would translate into credits?
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I believe that you already have enough free electives or are close to it. Completing portfolio assessments in those areas aren't going to get you closer to a degree unless you want one in criminal justice. If you did go for criminal justice, portfolio assessments for machining and IT still aren't going to help you. Plus, PLAs aren't as easy as to complete as they used to be, so the TESC article (TESC is now TESU) on the front page of this forum is no longer an accurate depiction of the process. Completing a portfolio assessment involves a lot of writing and documentation. It's faster to take a test (CLEP, Uexcel, DSST, TECEP, CSU Global CBE, etc.) or a course from Straighterline, Sophia Learning, Propero,, Tor College Credits, etc.
  15. tactiv3

    tactiv3 New Member

    Thank you this info has helped out alot.
  16. Davewill

    Davewill Member

    The PLA process isn't THAT hard. The PLA prep courses at TESU take 12 weeks, which got my portfolio maybe two-thirds done. I spent another month's worth of time (really took me 4 calendar months, but I didn't keep at it, I worked on other courses instead). This netted me 15 credits. It made a lot of sense for me because I was earning credits in my area of study (Comp Sci) that I could not test out of. If they had been simply free electives, there were probably easier ways to earn them.
  17. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    How many pages did your portfolio turn out to be? I'm curious because I was thinking about completing some biology credits by portfolio.

    If you have no other way to earn the credits in your area of study, I can understand going through the portfolio process. Otherwise, there are people knocking out 2, 3, and 4 tests or Straighterline courses in a month.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2016
  18. Davewill

    Davewill Member

    I had two versions of my narrative, one for programming (C++, Adv. C++, Data Struct), and one for computer engineering and computer architecture. They were each 3 single spaced pages, with about 40% overlap. I also had a two page PLA resume (List of certs and accomplishments, a blibliography of various books I'd studied, and detail of how I learned to do the various things from my professional resume), and my regular professional resume. Three one-page validation letters, and documentation for my professional level classes. I could have gotten 6 more units out of the same portfolio, I think. The Saylor Intro to Comp was my very first CBE, got my feet wet, so I didn't PLA that one. I should have submitted Operating Systems for PLA instead of taking the course. If I hadn't procrastinated finishing the portfolio for so long, I would have. I was nervous about the UL courses, but the mentor granted them both without comment or question. In fact, he never contacted me once.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2016
  19. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Many of your courses are professional courses - check out the Excelsior BS in Liberal Studies - You can include up to 59 semester units of professional credits (Pro credits include area such as CJ, comouter tech, education, business,engineering)
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    At TESC, many criminal justice courses are social sciences, so the OP could get a degree in social science. Honestly, anything with more focus is usually better. So, social science is better than liberal studies and criminal justice is better than social science. However, I wouldn't recommend social science for someone trying to leave the criminal justice field, if that's what the OP is thinking about doing, because that's where most of the job opportunities will be for someone with a social science degree. COSC and TESU offer individualized studies and a learner designed area of study that are even more flexible than Excelsior's BS in Liberal Studies, but I wouldn't recommend those either.

    Why should the OP get a degree in liberal studies? With all of those criminal justice credits, it would make much more sense to just get a degree in criminal justice. But, what I'm paying the most attention to is the fact that the OP said that he or she is looking to do something else. I don't think a liberal studies degree will do more than a criminal justice degree when trying to do something else. Liberal studies is a "check-the-box" degree for someone who just needs a bachelor's degree in anything. Any degree can serve that purpose for an experienced worker looking to stay in his or her industry, but liberal studies is one of the worst degrees for a career change to earn.

    Since the OP mentioned communications, I wonder if he or she has an interest in communications. Really, it's hard to direct the OP to a specific degree without a career goal.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2016

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