The RA or No Way Debate Continues

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by CurtO, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. CurtO

    CurtO New Member


    It sounds like a lot of NA degree trashing goes on here. (And, I ask myself why?) I wonder if it's based on real research, or just negative personal opinions, biases and hunches regarding NA?

    I am interested in perusing: a Northcentral DBA degree program with tuition at about $25,000; one from California InterContinental at around $11,000; or, a DBA from California Pacific University for $5,500. I am currently doing some due diligence on degree acceptances (UA, NA and RA), in order to decide between these schools based on my findings.

    Getting back to your comments about NA (DETC) schools, I like to ask, what do you base that on? Because based on data I've accumulated, NA degrees seem to have served many people just fine in the private sector, government jobs, as well as in teaching at some RA schools.

    As Ian and Kevin have already pointed out how NA degrees are looked at under US Government employment policy is:

    The US Office of Personnel Management - Operating Manual, Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions:

    "Policies and Instructions
    4. Educational and Training Provisions or Requirements
    A. Acceptability of Higher Education for Meeting Minimum Qualification Requirements:
    Accredited and Pre-Accredited/Candidate for Accreditation —This category includes only those institutions that grant academic degrees. Such institutions must meet one of the following criteria for Federal employment:

    Conventional/Accredited Institutions — At the time the education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Military schools or military educational programs that meet this criterion are also acceptable. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education web site at A complete listing of all institutions accredited by recognized agencies, including those located outside of U.S. territories may be found in Accredited Institutions of Post-Secondary Education, a handbook published annually by the American Council on Education (ACE). Institutions located within the United States that have attained accreditation as well as recognized accrediting agencies are listed on the U.S. Department of Education web site at"

    And below are just a few names of California Coast University Graduates listed as faculty on RA websites:

    Marlene Palazzo – Seattle Central Community College

    Jim Estes - California State University, San Bernardino

    Thomas Depaoli - Walden University

    Kenneth L. Oakley – The University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions

    Anna M. Rizzi - Webster University

    Katia V. Shkurkin - Saint Martin's University

    Lisa Walters - SUNY at Fredonia

    Lets see, with a California Coast University degree these folks landed faculty jobs at: CalState, SUNY, Walden, Webster...

    I've accumulated many, many more examples in my study on the acceptance of different types of degrees in the work place - including a long list of folks working for the government with NA degrees.

    Dave, with all due respect, please point me to your research on this matter. I’d be interested in reviewing it before making up my mind and you’d be helping fellow board members, lurkers, as well as, would be degree seekers.

  2. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    Interesting post, but you are making a key assumption here - that these folks landed jobs AFTER getting their NA degree.

    In many cases, the NA degree came after the person was hired. You'll probably find an RA masters behind the NA doctorate.

    There certainly are exceptions, but in general I wouldn't try to get a teaching job with an NA doctorate. It is tough enough with an RA doctorate (even an RA / AACSB doctorate).

    Regards - Andy

  3. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Doctorates from California Coast are not DETC-accredited. They happened before the school was DETC-accredited and the school was allowed to teach out the programs; I suppose you would consider those to be CA-State Approved / unaccredited degrees. That just means those degrees are non-standard and not designed for a career in teaching. Without knowing the individual cases, there have been many instances of individuals being hired to teach with an RA Masters degree and then not promoted or not terminated because of their unaccredited doctorate. (Why terminate someone for being more qualified with additional training, if they didn't claim to have a regionally-accredited doctorate?)
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Andy Borchers is correct. Those California Coast University PhD graduates didn't obtain their teaching positions at regionally accredited institutions based upon their CCU PhD but, instead, obtained those positions based upon their previously earned regionally accredited Masters degrees. Also, to quote Dave Wagner, "Doctorates from California Coast are not DETC-accredited." In the old days and without proper accreditation, CCU was issuing non-accredited PhD degrees. It may come back to haunt CCU.
  5. JetTroop

    JetTroop New Member

    I most definitely am biased towards RA degrees. Having attended traditional and non-traditional RA schools, I have seen how hard the work really was. Online it was actually a crazy amount of work. So I have value associated to it.

    Granted I haven't attended a NA school but a big concern for me is the social acceptance. From my peers, from my employer....the military, etc?

    Why don't the NA schools go for RA status? That's the rub. Why. If its so coveted and it is....then why not? Costs? I'm FAR sure the gains outweigh the costs.

    Do it for your students. And if they cared, they would. Or that's just my opinion.
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Is this a fact? Most likely these faculty members landed their jobs because other credentials. Many academics get unaccredited doctorates (such as CCU given that only recently started giving accredited DETC doctorates) mainly to get respect among their peers or to boost their resumes. However, it is not likely that these doctorates were required for the job.

    There are many uses for DETC degrees. For example, CMA Canada accepts credits from DETC schools as part of their requirements. Many schools accept DETC degrees for MBA admissions.
  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator


    First, I have to tell you I have an AA, BS, MS and graduate certificate from an RA school, as well as a BS and MBA from CalCoast (before accreditation)so I have seen both sides. NA degrees are great and have a purpose but if your goal is teaching, NA is really not the way to go. Look up some NA schools and see what the teaching requirements are. I teach for an NA school and they don't want me to list my NA degrees :eek:

    Do some reseach vs. just finding names of people that teach and have an unaccredited PhD (when CCU got DETC they had already pulled the PhD programs). Call the schools and ask if they accept NA PhD's to teach...or would you only get paid at a masters level if the masters is RA.

    Ask some of the "academia heads" on this board for their experiences. Hey, I have nothing against NA schools but they may have limits depending on what you want to do.
  8. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    Hmm... am just curious: is the thought that the so-called NA degree holders were already employed by their respective university employers prior to the doctorate based on FACT and RESEARCH or is it just an ASSUMPTION that many of us have?
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I think it's interesting that a newbie has decided to open up this debate in such a provocative manner. Also, I don't know the exact date that the DETC was allowed to offer professional doctorates (not that long ago) but I'm guessing that there have been very few doctorates awarded since then. Any data that might be available (does anyone have any actual data? Curt, do you have any actual data that you can apply to this issue?) has to be seen as tentative as it just has to be sparse (if it exists at all).
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Not a brainer, requirements for teaching positions are published by most of the Universities. I would like to see any published post that calls for NA doctorate degree holders or accept NA doctorates at a RA University.
    It is unlikely that these people were hired for a position that required an accredited doctorate and the unaccredited degree was accepted. You might have the odd one that was accepted due to HR incompetency but more the exception than the rule.
  11. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    CurtO: "...Dave, with all due respect, please point me to your research on this matter..."

    John: Dave might have been referring in part to the fairly extensive research that I did in 2000 and presented at the national convention of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions officers in Seattle.

    I got responses from 300+ RA schools on whether they would accept degrees of (among other categories) NA schools: always, usually, sometimes, rarely, or never. At that time, the results were roughly 40% in categories 1 & 2 and 40% in categories 4 and 5. Of course things are likely to have changed since then. More research is clearly needed.

    John Bear, author/co-author, 15 editions of
    Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning
  12. morganplus8

    morganplus8 New Member

    John Bear, could you please comment on this finding? Thanks:


    I have been following this thread since its inception and I couldn't help but notice your mentioning of Cal Pacific Uni. I went to their site thinking they must be a "questionable", for profit, institution and stumbled upon this comment in the, "What Students Have to Say: section,

    "I consulted by email with Dr. John Bear about DBA Programs. He recommended yours. - R.S.M. Oak Harbor WA"

    Needless to say, I was floored, did our very own Dr Bear recommend this school? Is it that legit at $ 5,500.00 for a DBA that he would place his name and reputation on the line for this school? This program has to be the least expensive one, even versus the S.A. schools, crazy cheap and Dr Bear in the same mention of those "legit" testimonials ........ hell must of frozen over. LOL

    Can anyone enlighten me on this school or Dr Bear's association/comments?
    Thanks. >>

    (Copied from the California Intercontinental University Thread)
  13. mongoose65

    mongoose65 New Member

    In New York State, any education certifications (teachers, business officials, etc) require RA degrees. It's aggravating the h*ll out of me. It's also the same for most state certifications (CPA for instance).

    It's not about the work put in or validity of the degree. It's about tired old bureaucracy's that will not change with the times. They are in charge of education and still use typewriters and carbon paper. Some leaders. Is it any surprise our schools are failing?
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Have NA doctoral programs even existed long enough to produce any graduates yet? :eek:
  15. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My own opinion, repeated ad-nauseum, is that hiring on the doctoral level is often highly targeted and highly selective. Employers (universities, tech firms and the like) want high-powered talent with specific expertise. Hiring decisions are being made by committees of scholars or scientists who are already well aware of who is working on problems of interest to them and where exciting things are happening. They actively follow their fields and they are seeking applicants who are plugged into that stuff.

    That means that accreditation is of less interest to many doctoral-level employers than Degreeinfo imagines it to be. What employers in the kind of research institutions that I follow care about is scholarly contributions and intellectual leadership. If a biotech firm needs a research specialist in some technical specialty, proteomics or apoptosis let's say, they are going to be looking for somebody from someplace that's a research leader in that kind of stuff. If it came down to applicants from MIT, Rockefeller University and the Burnham Institute, I don't think that there would very much concern about or attention paid to the fact that one school is RA, another NY-Regents accredited, and the third is (at-the-moment) unaccredited. Employers will be more interested in who the candidates worked with, what they worked on, and what their own thinking and approach is on the technical issues.

    And that's where DETC generally falls flat. It's hard to think of any DETC schools with a strong and exciting research reputation in... anything. It's just a constant shriek of 'We have recognized accreditation. You have believe that our degrees are just as good!' Except that they probably aren't, at least when it comes to research-oriented doctorates.

    DETC emphasizes 'professional doctorates' (whatever that means) and doesn't even accredit Ph.D.s., so I suppose that an argument can credibly be made that it's a mistake to treat DETC doctorates as if they were research degrees. But, since DETC is willing to accredit Ed.D.s, DBAs and even Sc.D.s, and since prospective students do seem to contemplate these programs with hopes of teaching and becoming peers with all of the other academic doctors out there, it probably isn't unrealistic to think of DETC degrees in the same terms as doctoral degrees from Columbia or Berkeley. If DETC graduates want to play in the big-leagues, that's who sets the pace for the rest of the field and who they will be compared with.

    Actually, similar things can be said about pretty much every DL doctoral program out there, whatever its accreditation. Few of them really compare with the B&M leaders in their various fields. So few of them are likely to fare well when hiring is competitive. But that's not really because they are are DL, exactly.

    There's no law of nature that prevents geographically-dispersed 'virtual' communities of scholars from staying in touch through telecommunications and doing exciting work that catches their peers' attention and gets everyone else talking.
  16. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I agree with all the points made by people responding in this thread.

    What I'd like to point out is that "negative personal opinions, biases and hunches regarding NA" is another way of describing what I'll call the reputation of NA. Specifically, the reputation of DETC is understandably below Regional Accreditation. All of the best schools in the USA are RA. A miniscule fraction of schools are DETC. DETC is therefore less well known and less respected. Is this my opinion, yes but the point is that one's opinion of a school or DETC is really the same thing as that person's perception of the reputation of the school or DETC.
  17. joel66

    joel66 New Member

    <eating popcorn>
  18. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    I can appreciate your opinion but DETC also accredits several military schools:

    Air University Extension Course Program Military Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex AL

    Army Institute for Professional Development (ATIC-SDL) Military Fort Eustis VA

    Marine Corps Institute Military Washington Navy Yard DC

    These schools fulfill required training for officers and enlisted for promotion and have been accredited since the mid 70's.

    In addition, the training from these schools also carry ACE credit recommendations in many instances.

    So my overall opinion of DETC is one of a mixed bag and I prefer to not generalize about any given accreditor but the school in question. In this instance I believe these schools have a solid reputation or at the least meet the requirements for promotional purposes.
  19. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    One of the three Ph.D. faculty members who signed my MSQA thesis at CSUDH has a Ph.D. from California Coast University earned several years before they acquired DETC accreditation (so I assume it was state approved). He was an extension instructor so was not listed in the university catalog. However a Ph.D. was not a requirement to teach MSQA students (at least when I took the degree).
  20. Woho

    Woho New Member

    The easiest way to avoid this battle is by just doing a PhD by Research in Europe or AU.

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