Fastest route to a bachelors degree

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by jamesw71, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. jamesw71

    jamesw71 New Member

    I'm tired of the college requirements..I have taken a bunch of courses and wonder what college/university I should go to in order to get past this Bachelors hurdle and start work on my Masters which interests me more. Here is a bit of my history.

    I graduated Highschool in 1990

    Served 20 years with the Air Force. Received 50% rating from VA for PTSD and Depression.

    I served in the following capacities; 7 level Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman, Phase Dock Member/Chief (F-16), Wheel and Tire shop, Maintenance Operations Center, Inspection Section Assistant Flight Chief, End-of-Runway Supervisor, Building Custodian, Operations Intel Analyst, Crash-Recovery Team Member(F-117,F-4,T-38), Aero-Repair Craftsman (F-117), Crane Operator, Truck Driver (CDL) and Dedicated Crewchief (F-16)

    Courses completed

    1990-1991 2A3X3B F-16C/F-117A Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice (Sheppard AFB, TX)
    1992 2A353B F-16C/F-117A Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Journyeman (Moody AFB, GA)
    1992 Personnel Management course from Georgia Military College (Moody AFB, GA)
    1993-1994 F-16C Engine Organizational Maintenance /Removal and Installation
    F-16C Advanced Electrical/Hydraulic/Flight Control/Landing Gear Troubleshooting
    (Misawa AB, Japan)

    1995 USAF F-117 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice (Holloman AFB, NM)
    1996 USAF Airman Leadership School (Holloman AFB, NM)
    1997 CLEP and Dante tests (All 6 General Education/Technical Writing/Public Speaking Microeconomics/Macroeconomics/World Religions)
    1997 Associates of Applied Sciences in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Community College of the Airforce (Holloman AFB, NM)
    1997-1998 (Mgmt of Multicultural Workforce/Aviation Regulation/Accident Investigation/Emergency Response/Ethics in Business) from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) (Holloman AFB, NM)
    1999 (Business Information Systems, Computer Programming) from Central Texas College (Kunsan AB, Korea)
    2000 ERAU changed requirements and I went from 108/120 credits to 80/120 credits
    2001 Professional Development Course (Spangdahlem AB, Germany)
    2005-2006 USAF 1N0X1 Apprentice Operations Intelligence Analyst school (Goodfellow AFB, TX)
    2010 10hr OSHA, 24hr Hazwoper from Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) (Oglesby, IL)
    2013 Algebra 2 and Statistics from IVCC (Oglesby, IL)
    2013 Physics and Facility Management from Northern Illinois University (NIU) (Dekalb, IL)
    2015 NSC Lift Truck certification

    Thank you
  2. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome. You and I were at Holloman around the same time.
  3. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Since speed of degree completion is your primary concern, I would recommend a competency-based program. Here is a great article that explains how competency degree programs work and why they make sense for your situation:

    What Is Competency-Based Education?

    And here are a couple of great schools with online competency degree completion programs:

    UW Flexible Option: Competency-Based Degree Programs, Competency-Based Education

    Northern Arizona University | Urban & Rural AZ Campuses | Online Degrees

    With all of the credits you've already accumulated, you should be able to complete a competency-based degree in one year or less (probably less).
  4. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    If all you care about is speed and getting into a master's program then I would do penn foster. I did four semesters in 6 weeks..most classes are ace reviewed. I could have done the entire bachelor's in less than a year at my pace (no job).
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    As far as I know, there are no competency-based programs that will utilize most of your credits. I also don't think Penn Foster has a program that can utilize most of your credits. Additionally, Penn Foster is nationally accredited and will limit your options for graduate school. You can always take ACE-approved Penn Foster courses and transfer them to a regionally accredited school, but it's cheaper to just take Straighterline, Saylor, and other ACE-approved courses that are self-paced. These are the options I would recommend based on your credits and training:

    Charter Oak State College: BS in General Studies with an Individualized Studies concentration. Individualized studies allows you to create your own concentration, but your transcript will just say "individualized studies." COSC also has a BS General Studies with a Liberal Studies concentration, but most of your credits will act as free electives.
    Excelsior College: BS in Liberal Studies, but most of your credits will act as free electives.
    TESU: BS or BSAST in a Learner Designed Area of Study. Similar to COSC, the area of study you create won't be the official name that is on your transcript. All of TESU's BA degrees allow for 27 free electives, but I think the BSAST in Technical Studies or BSAST in Aviation Maintenance Technology are better options.

    Out of all of the options I listed, I would lean toward the BSAST in Technical Studies at TESU because it is extremely flexible, will utilize just about all of your credits, and you can test out of or take an ACE/NCCRS-approved course for everything else except for the Current Trends and Applications course and one physics or chemistry lab credit. Current Trends and Applications has to be taken with TESU.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2016
  6. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Yes you are correct it is a nationally accredited school which you might find limiting. Or you might not, depending on what you want to do. Testing out is a well and good if you know the subject matter and from what it seems it takes people years to complete a degree that way. Plus navigating the red tape seems ominous. The only reason I mention Penn foster is the insane speed you can take course.

    Maybe a competency based program like WGU? I know there are a lot of those floating around now days.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It only takes years when people choose to go slow. That applies to any method of completing a program. Many people have finished a bachelor's degree almost from scratch by testing out in about a year. Some people have even done it in 6 months. BAin4Weeks is the semi-famous website where someone tested out of a degree in a month, but it's more realistic to test out from scratch in about a year or two. When you're transferring in about half the degree, I would say that 6-9 months is feasible. While working full-time and taking a full-time course load at a community college, I tested out of about half of my degree in about 9 months.

    The other website that specializes in testing out has several members who help people map out their degrees. Navigating the red tape is not ominous because there are so many people on that forum who know the Big 3 in and out. The reason why I don't think any of the competency-based programs are good for the OP's situation is because the OP has many credits from or the potential to earn many credits from aircraft maintenance training. There are no competency-based programs, as far as I know, that can utilize those credits. Basically, most of those aircraft credits would go to waste. Especially when it comes to WGU, there isn't room for free electives. Plus, the average student takes 2.5 years to finish a degree at WGU.

    A lot of things have changed with Penn Foster over the years. They now require more writing, some courses require webinars, and many courses require proctored exams (and I don't believe they have a set up for online proctoring). An alternative to Penn Foster is Straighterline. Their credits are ACE-approved, self-paced, cheaper than Penn Foster, and proctoring is done online. ACE/NCCRS-approved Saylor courses are free and self-paced, and you only pay a $25 fee for online proctoring. ALEKS has ACE-approved courses, is self-paced, and only charges $20 per month. If someone doesn't like CBEs (credit by exam), there are many ACE and NCCRS-approved courses that can be used to complete a Big 3 degree.
  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    If I were the OP, the first thing I'd do is get my CCAF transcript to see where I stand with existing credits.
  9. bceagles

    bceagles Member

    Hi Jamesw71,

    Have you made a decision yet about the path you want to take to earn your degree?

    My response will be the same as 90% of the feedback you will most likely receive on this forum, look at the big 3. Are you familiar with Excelsior College in Albany, Charter Oak in CT, and Thomas Edison in NJ? They will most likely be the most flexible and quickest path.

    Based on the feedback in this thread, reach out to Thomas Edison first. It sounds like they might have a program that will maximize you current situation.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

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