Need direction, HS diploma only, looking for online and accelerated degree programs

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by degreeless, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. degreeless

    degreeless New Member

    HI all,

    I need help determining my next steps. I have a HS diploma with no college credits or experience. I have experience and work full time as a Network engineer. I am interested in obtaining BS but don't know how to go about it.

    Biggest proorities are an accelerated, distance learning, that will then allow me to go back for a masters to a city college like Baruch in NYC later on. End goal is a degree from a better known\recognized regional university.

    I dont have any experenice with any of this so my biggest concerns\ questions are:

    What is exactly does accelerated mean? Does this in volve testing out of classes?
    Are these distance learning school degrees recognized by local colleges? This would be my biggest concern\priority - distance learning with recognized degree by local colleges.
    Pricing is important by not a deciding factor right now.

    ANy help or direction would be great.
  2. Sowak777

    Sowak777 New Member

    What are your academic and career goals? Which degree(s) are you interested in? What do you want to be doing in five years?
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Do you have any computer certifications?
  4. kirkhenderson123

    kirkhenderson123 New Member

    Hi degreeless,

    I was rigt where you are now about 3 1/2 yrs ago, so I know how you feel. There are a couple of places like Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College that will help you test out of a lot of courses, thus accelerating your degree plan. I tested out of Spanish with CLEP and received 16 credits myself. But you can CLEP test and have those credits transferred to any number of 4-yr institutions. There are dozens of BS degrees online from various state universities (which have typically a better response from human resource people than private universities). It just depends on what you want to take. Tell us more about what you want to do...
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi - You sound like you're serious. That's great but it also means that someday soon you're going to need to change your screen name. We can help with that too. ;)

    Read through this site:

    especially this part:

    and then turn your attention here:

    There are lots of people here doing what you're doing. Your in the right place. Keep asking questions. Expect a few in return. Your good answers to people's questions will allow them to give better answers back to you. Good luck.
  6. degreeless

    degreeless New Member


    -A BS in computer science with minor in finance or business management. I think the minor greatly enhances the majors when you start moving to higher positions on the coporate ladder as i have seen. Having only a HS Diploma and being self taught within my field, i feel rough around the edges when dealing with the college grads, not to say they are any smarter or more skilled. (unfortunetly, in most cases they are usually the opposite and makes think how mucher better off i would be doing with their degrees, sad really) I thnk i need refinement and a better general business knowledge. I think i would benefit more from electives and the peripheral classes than the core classes of the degree. Again though, i think it would need to be from a brick and morter school for it to be taken more seriously, especially in my current work enviroment, where i intend to stay for a long time.
    -Five years, VP\Management within IT, possibly looking at CIO positions for smaller companies?


    Currently A+ and MCSE. Very Soon CCNA, then several more MS certs for SQL, Exchange then move onto CCNP.


    I want\would like a 4 year degree from a brick and mortor college in the tri-state as soon as possible with out having to do 4 years while trying to work full time. I know, ....lot to ask for but it it means testing out and taking various online and accelerated course i am very willig to try.

    Does testing out of courses from Edition/excelsior apply as credits i can transfer to a local college? How far along are you with your degree?


    Very serious, i thin ki'm going to hit a wall (position and salary) at some point in the near future for no other reason than due to the lack of a degree and not work experience. I started reading the links already.

    I 'd like ot thank all of you for your time and really appreciate any and all of the advice.
  7. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    Gotta change that moniker soon...

    Hi Degreeless and welcome,

    You've been given great advice and this is a good place to work all this out on paper before spending precious time and money.

    My advice:
    1) Do some research to find the college/university from which you want to receive your Bachelor's - your target college(s).
    2) Contact the school's admission office(s) to see what they will take in transfer credits.
    3) Use the info in BAin4weeks and other sources to test out as many classes as possible based on what your ultimate school(s) says on the matter.
    4) Look into getting some credits out of the way cheaply at a community college -either one that has an agreement with the your target college or an accredited "inexpensive" CC like Clovis CC in New Mexico.
    5) Apply to and be admitted to your target university.

    I always think it's a good idea to get your degree from a recognizable, well-respected college in the geographical area in which you live/work, which you've said is the tri-state area. I don't know very much about distance degree programs from universities out that way but I'm sure you'll find something. How about Penn State?
    Or SUNY
    Ellis College has had some bad press lately, so you'll want to check that out thoroughly.

    You may have to do a lot of hunting to find your exact major at a school that is in your area, or perhaps you might want to get a basic BA at a local school (or Thomas Edison SC) and then spend your major efforts on a Masters degree that suits your professional ambitions.

    Good luck and happy hunting.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2009
  8. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    Take a look at this..

    "Applicants without an undergraduate degree will be considered for admission on the basis of their industry experience and other qualifications they have obtained."

    From the website..

    IT Masters and Charles Sturt University are proud to offer a unique series of Online Masters Degree qualifications that are:

    Relevant: Achievement of the world's premium IT industry certifications from major IT Vendors such as Cisco, ISO, ITIL, Microsoft, Novell and Oracle are included as an integral part of the Masters.

    Accredited: All of our Online Master Degrees are fully accredited under the Australian Government Qualifications Framework.
    Accessible: Study for your Masters Degree in your own home. With over 22,000 students studying globally, Charles Sturt University is Australia's (and one of the world's) largest suppliers of distance education.

  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

  10. NGC6205

    NGC6205 New Member

    Based upon other replies and your posts, I have an alternative recommendation.
    Consider getting a BS degree in Business from Excelsior or Thomas Edison. By using CLEP, DSST, and Excelsior exams, you can test out of all but four credit hours of the degree. Once you have obtained the BS degree, look at schools that offer MS in Computer Science or Information Science degrees (i.e. Capitol College, MD or Dakota State University). Since the undergraduate degree will not be in computer science, there will be some additional coursework required. You can take most, if not all, the required math courses through independent study at LSU. The basic computer science course may be satisfied with your certificates or you may have to take a undergraduate programming course.

    Here is an example time line to complete all of the above.
    1. Obtain BS Business from Excelsior using 116 credit hours of tests and two courses. Estimated time: six months to one year.

    2. Select a Master's program and fulfill prerequisite requirements. Estimated time: six months to one year.

    3. Complete Master's program. Estimated time: two years

    Basically, what all of this provides is a foundation in Business or Finance with advanced education in Computer Science and it can all be completed in three to four years. It is possible to complete it faster if you can complete the prerequisites for the Master's at the same time you are testing out of the Bachelor's.

    Excelsior College -
    Thomas Edison -
    Independent Study at LSU -
    Capitol College, MD -
    Dakota State University -

    Good luck,
  11. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    That is a great suggestion. If someone on this board decides to try and follow a path like this I hope they outline it so others here can benefit from it. Obtaining a bachelors degree in approximately a year seems like a large feat to accomplish. I don't know that I've ever seen a detailed "how to" except on the bain site. Good luck and let us know which path you take. I know I'm always interested in how people ultimately achieve their end goal of a degree. Even moreso when it comes to people starting from scratch. :D
  12. cklapka

    cklapka Member

    If you choose this option, to get some computer science courses under your belt you may wish to look into the Game Institute. They are inexpensive and Excelsior (as well as others) grant credit for their courses.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2009
  13. thatbrian

    thatbrian New Member

    I'm on that path. Nine moths ago I had 0 credits, and no idea how to obtain a BA. Now I have 90 credits and should be done right at the 1 year mark, by testing out. Once I am finished with the BA requirements I will outline the steps I took to complete it in a year. For now I will tell you that it can be done and a brief background.

    I had a few things going against me when I started: I was 43 years old, a HS dropout, my parents were not college educated, and I was running a business 6 days a week.Because of a terrible family situation, I did poorly in HS, and dropped out midway through the 11th grade. Although my mother wanted me to go to college she could not not guide me through the steps necessary to do so, because she had not gone herself. As I have accumulated 90 credits in 9 months I have been working full time, 6 days a week (although I do study for 1-3 hrs a day while at work (it's OK I own the place)).

    But, I've had a few things going for me: A loving, supportive wife who prays for me everyday, a God who listens to and answers those prayers, an eagerness to learn, and the InstantCert discussion board (awesome place).

    My lack of a college degree has been a handicap to my career and my social life. I've managed to make good living, but I don't have a career, I have a job, which is not the same thing. I could never apply for positions that I knew I was capable of filling, because although I had the experience, I didn't have the sheepskin. Socially, most of the people I interact with have master's degrees (some PhDs). What do you think the second question (right after what do you do) I am asked at social events with these folks? That's right, "Where did you go to school Brian?" How I've dreaded that question! How I've wished that I had a response other than the one I had to give. . .

    That's enough gut spilling for now.

    Degreeless, if you are still listening, you can do this, and testing out is a great way to get it done.


  14. That's an ambitious goal and achievement of it largely depends on your current level of management experience. Are you currently in a supervisory or management role, or an individual contributor?

    Certifications are nice but to be honest mean NOTHING as a CIO, or a VP role (assuming your idea of VP isn't like a bank's VP where everyone is one ;) ).

    C-level IT execs, whom I interact with every day, are increasingly financially-oriented rather than technology-oriented. You can hire a bright IT guy but who's running the business, managing the costs and risk, and ensuring what the dept is doing is aligned to what the business needs?

    Also note that the average tenure of a CIO is something around 18-24 months. If you want to be a CIO you need to be prepared to job hop in many cases.

    My personal suggestions are as follows:

    - if you have a strong technical background (formal or informal), and are truly interested in pursuing a career in management, you don't need to take any additional technical courses or pursue certification.

    - get your undergrad degree as quickly as you can possibly do so. You mention CS, but MIS is just as relevant and probably quicker. Or, get a biz degree as an undergrad and pursue a MBA or MSc in IS. To be honest, I doubt anyone wants to bring in a CIO who got their degree a year ago.

    - if you want to stay technical and hands-on (or at least architecturally focused rather than management focused) you may want to pursue a CTO career path. In that case a masters in CS or IS would be useful.

    CIO in 5 years for a "small" company is probably achievable in a very narrow set of circumstances, such as if you have a particular skill set or knowledge base, strong connections and good innate business ability. Note that this doesn't include ANY educational accomplishments. Question - what do you consider to be "small"? 10 people? 100 people? 1000 people?

    In my MBA program kickoff someone asked "will my MBA make me qualified to be CEO"? Yes, in the sense that it provides a suitable educational baseline. No, in the sense that one leads to the other. There are a lot of rungs to climb (experience, politics, dedication, appearance, etc).

    Lastly, how much work experience do you have in IT right now? What have you spend your career doing? This info will also help tune a response.

    Good luck!
  15. vinodgopal

    vinodgopal New Member

    I am sorry for my ignorance but then if it is really possible to obtain a Masters degree in such an accelerated manner alongside a bachelor's enroute, wouldn't everybody aim to complete a masters as soon as they are out of high school? They'd tunr into a Doogie Howser or something like that. There's got to be catch in it. Maybe even the college councilor or admissions rep might object to it. Or is it a real possibility?

    And for those who have some credits from other courses and degrees in the past can also convert their credits to this one, to make it even more accelerate, right?
  16. It's certainly possible to do this, even out of high school, but most people aren't aware of it.

    I certainly wasn't, and was looking into schools such as University of Phoenix until the price tag turned me off. Then I searched around, found the site and did some additional research, including finding this site.

    I "tested out" of my Excelsior degree in a little more than a year while working full time. Someone with additional free time can easily get it done more quickly.

    Depending on the Master's program, there are pre-reqs to be done, which are usually leveling courses.
  17. vinodgopal

    vinodgopal New Member

    I contacted TESC and they say I gotta evaluate my existing credits and out of which only 90 credits can be knocked off it seems at max. The remaining 30 credits has to be secured through their own means. But the question is whether I would actually be able to knock off 90 credits exactly needing just 30 to complete a 4 year degree or would I have say 60 odd credits to take. Also there are no CLEP testing out centers in India. There is only one in Phillipines which I am ready to test out as well!

    But is it allowed from out of country to take CLEP tests?
  18. vinodgopal

    vinodgopal New Member

    also someone said TESC is one of the three that offers 120 credits through alternate non-traditional evaluation and other means. Perhaps they have changed rules recently.
  19. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    From the Thomas Edison State College web site (FAQ section):

    "If you studied at a regionally accredited community college, you may transfer up to 80 credits. If you studied at a regionally accredited four-year institution, you may transfer up to 120 credits. If you have studied at more than one institution, we can accept your credits, provided the institutions are regionally accredited."
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  20. lukedean27

    lukedean27 New Member

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