Quality online education...

redleg_64

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I'm very interested in pursuing an online degree in an intelligence or counter-terrorism field. I've been in the army for eight years now shooting artillery and I need to do something new. I'm currently on recruiting duty and I want to pursue an intelligence career when my tour is over. I'm not trying to get a degree in order to market myself to the intelligence field. I'm just really interested in the area. I believe my only options are to submit a packet for 35L, and 35P may be a possibility.

I've been looking at American Military University and Henley-Putnam University. AMU is cheaper and my TA will cover everything. HPU is more expensive, but it looks like the education may be better. From a perspective inside the MI community, what do you think of these two institutions? Is there somewhere else I should look? I'm only able to take classes online. Thanks for your opinions.
 

0699

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I'm very interested in pursuing an online degree in an intelligence or counter-terrorism field. I've been in the army for eight years now shooting artillery and I need to do something new. I'm currently on recruiting duty and I want to pursue an intelligence career when my tour is over. I'm not trying to get a degree in order to market myself to the intelligence field. I'm just really interested in the area. I believe my only options are to submit a packet for 35L, and 35P may be a possibility.

I've been looking at American Military University and Henley-Putnam University. AMU is cheaper and my TA will cover everything. HPU is more expensive, but it looks like the education may be better. From a perspective inside the MI community, what do you think of these two institutions? Is there somewhere else I should look? I'm only able to take classes online. Thanks for your opinions.

Are you looking for opinions from outside the MI community too? Or just from MI people?

Because I have a lot of opinions on those two schools...
 

0699

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I want to hear any opinion that I can.

OK, then here you go.

I would stay away from HPU. They are DETC accredited. No matter what they say (and their website has a lot of flowery language about it), credits and degrees from DETC accredited schools are RARELY accepeted for transfer into other bachelor programs or graduate programs at schools with RA accreditation. In other words, if you try to transfer your credits to "XYZ State" for a bachelors in ABC, it probably won't happen. Also, if you finish your bachelors through them, then want to move on to get a masters at "XYZ State" that probably won't happen either. I had a conversation with a salesman from HPU at an expo and when I asked him about when they will be pursuing RA accreditation, he flat out said they weren't and if that's what I wanted "then maybe we aren't the school for you".

AMU - good school and good education. But they charge the maximum they can under the military's TA rates for classes, meaning your TA dollars won't go as far as they will at other schools. They try to pad that by "including" books in your tuition, but the reality is you can buy books cheap on-line (I once bought a semester's worth of books for $17 including shipping) and local schools have much cheaper per-credit rates for classes. Also, AMU touts their on-line programs as easy and tries to make prospective buyers (because that's what they are) think they are the only answer when it comes to on-line education. Well, them or UoP and UoP is a whole 'nuther story...

My recommendation is to find your local community college and go to their web site. I have never seen a CC that didn't have on line classes and IME many of them charge $50 or less per credit hour for the same classes AMU /HPU will charge you $250 per credit hour. Also, LSU (www.is.lsu.edu) has a great on-line/correspondence program; the last time I took classes from them they were ~$70 a credit hour. Lastly, look at Indiana University (www.iu.edu) as they have good programs according to people I know that went there.

But my first recommendation would be your local CC unless you already have your associates degree.

Lastly, I would stay away from any program touted as an "Intelligence" or Homeland Security" degree. IMO, the only good intelligence degrees are those that come from IC schools run by the government. An intelligence program run by HPU or AMU is purely OS information. Look at more general programs like History, Internationl Relations, or Political Science if you want something useful in the IC. The best degrees for those communities are the hard sciences and languages, but the above is the closest you'll find to an "intelligence" degree.
 

Marauder06

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Check out this thread, in the "Leadership and Professional Development" forum.

To reiterate some of my earlier comments, having an online degree is good, and it is certainly better than nothing, but it is not a panacea or a magical passkey that opens the door to future employment. This is especially true in the intelligence community, or in any profession in which education credentials are closely scrutinized (I found this out personally). Brick-and-mortar schools are often considered superior, but then again, most of us aren't able to take time off of our duties to go that route. So online degrees are good for us.

My personal point of view that any "intel" program that does not include classified material as part of the curriculum has a major inherent shortcoming. But, as I said before, it is better than nothing because it shows you have the interest, motivation, and ability to better yourself and build up your potential to serve in the intel field.

If you want to go the online route, both AMU and Henley-Putnam are good choices. I think several members of this site have had positive experiences with AMU's intel degree programs.
 

0699

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Check out this thread, in the "Leadership and Professional Development" forum.

To reiterate some of my earlier comments, having an online degree is good, and it is certainly better than nothing, but it is not a panacea or a magical passkey that opens the door to future employment. This is especially true in the intelligence community, or in any profession in which education credentials are closely scrutinized (I found this out personally). Brick-and-mortar schools are often considered superior, but then again, most of us aren't able to take time off of our duties to go that route. So online degrees are good for us.

My personal point of view that any "intel" program that does not include classified material as part of the curriculum has a major inherent shortcoming. But, as I said before, it is better than nothing because it shows you have the interest, motivation, and ability to better yourself and build up your potential to serve in the intel field.

If you want to go the online route, both AMU and Henley-Putnam are good choices. I think several members of this site have had positive experiences with AMU's intel degree programs.

The above is why I would recommend getting an on-line degree from a B&M school. My degree is indistingushable from one given to a a student who sat in the classroom for four years, but I did about 25% on-line, 25% classroom, 25% CLEP/DANTES, and 25% transfer in from other schools.
 

AWP

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I think people would be surprised to see the number of Division 1A schools with online Bachelor's degres....100% of your classes. Now, the type of degree will vary from school to school, but if you dig around you'll find something that interests you and will be relevant in the job market.

Just an example with Florida and Florida State:
http://www.distance.ufl.edu/bachelors

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
•Bachelor of Science Microbiology and Cell Sciences
College of Business Administration
•Bachelor of Science Business Administration
College of Design Construction and Planning
•Bachelor of Science Fire and Emergency Services
College of Health and Human Performance
•Bachelor of Science Health Education and Behavior
•Bachelor of Science Sport Management
•Bachelor of Science Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
(Specialization in Fitness/Wellness)

http://online.fsu.edu/prospective/undergradprograms/index.cfm

•Computer Science
•Criminology - New for Fall 2011!
•Interdisciplinary Social Science
•Public Safety and Security - New for Fall 2011!
◦Law Enforcement Operations
◦Police Science

In other words, do some research and you'll be surprised at what is out there.

ETA: One protip for anyone searching for an online degree: It will take more time but look for a school's website rather than the degree, i.e. florida state university distance education or university system of (your state here) distance education

Everything from the State of Georgia: http://www.usg.edu/academic_programs/external/degrees_available_via_distance_learning_technologies

If you search for a particular degree you'll be bombarded with crap results. Take the time to go from school to school. You don't have the time? You'll wish you'd taken it when you start paying for classes.
 

Marauder06

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The above is why I would recommend getting an on-line degree from a B&M school. My degree is indistingushable from one given to a a student who sat in the classroom for four years, but I did about 25% on-line, 25% classroom, 25% CLEP/DANTES, and 25% transfer in from other schools.

That's a great point. I'm considering an online PhD program from Texas Tech for the reason underlined above.
 

BravoOne

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Interesting comments. In 7 more weeks I will be 3 credits short (Senior Seminar) of a B.A in Intelligence Operations with AMU. I have been taking classes at AMU for 2 1/2 years straight every 8 weeks with no break but have also utilized CLEP/DSST (free to sit for Servicemembers) and Straighterline as well to help me finish up. Youre right about TA and AMU but it works out well for me... I register, they ship books, CDs or whatever it is I need and I do the work. That work has never been "easy". Its not always challenging but I definitely wouldnt say its easy. I have volumes of reading to do every day, a discussion board posting due every week for EACH class (which requires that I at least skim the material good and type it up my thoughts in Taurabian or APA format with references), a Mid term at week four and a final around week 8. The reading, comprehension and writing alone is not always what I would call easy and I have found that 2 classes every 8 weeks is more than enough of a workload for a working adult. Trust me Ive tried to do more and time and the amount of reading became a factor.

Everyone's prospective is different for their own reasons. Ill just drop a few of mine. " I'm not trying to get a degree in order to market myself to the intelligence field" - The way things are working in MI and the Army as a whole getting a degree is the best thing to do. If not a Bachelors then certainly an A.A. The new promotion system has made this very important for E-5/6. Also if you think you might want to be a Warrant Officer (which is what I want) Having a degree is necessary for after the automatic pinning of Chief) Also it looks good on your packet since it is not required of WOs to have a degree. When the time comes and you retire or ETS with Intelligence experience the Federal government likes to see a degree and contractors do as well so you might just want to seriously set your mind on getting a degree while you can get the Army to pay the lion's share! As far as what you learn at AMU (I cant speak for any other school) yes it is ALL open source but so is most of Lima course. There is still a lot to be learned. I found that CISAC is an MOS producing school but there were/are lots of things that an MI soldier would be benefited by learning about the Intelligence Community in general and MI specifically by pursuing some outside of the Army education. I took the CI and CI Analysis, Intel Analysis, Tactical intelligence and other such classes as concentration or elective classes and learned things that arent taught in an MOS-Q course (or at least not in the 97B/35L). Those sorts of classes gave me a much better idea of what the other members of the force need from us and allowed me to see the big picture and tie it into what I need to in a good way. I learned a great deal about other agencies, Joint operations planning and all kinds of things that I would only learn by experience/assignment or luck of getting into an advanced course. If Im thrown into a duty position that is above what I would normally be placed in I think Id be better prepared because of some of those things.

There is definitely nothing SECRET + at AMU but IMO there is plenty to learn and I consider myself more well rounded as far as MI goes. I believe that at some point in the future various bits and pieces of those classes will be to my benefit. I can already see that my knowledge of things outside of just whats taught at MOS-Q school that a E-5/6 gets has me at an advantage. I also know E-5-7s that cant write a paper with citations and that was something Ive gotten quite good at since Ive been with AMU and I never wrote these kinds of papers in H.S many moons ago lol. My research skills are much better than they were before and I look at things differently. Basically, IMO MOS-Q school will teach you enough to be MOS-Q'd (or for BNOC/ANOC,etc... those advanced skills) but those classes focus on specific things to do things the Army requires at a minimum for your rank/duty position. I learned very little about other intel agencies work, tactical intelligence as it related to CI/HUMINT,etc... in AZ. I know AMU isnt NYU or Duke Im not saying that but I have a 3.7 GPA right now and it hasnt been easy. I think after I get a break from all this reading and writing I will look into the DIA's school for Reservists and seriously consider getting a M.A. I guess I'll see soon enough but for now Im quite happy with the promo points & other than MOS-Q type knowledge I'm getting. For the price its hard to beat. You can PM me about any of the classes if you want.
 

BravoOne

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It's worth doing. I graduated from the program this past summer (active duty version), I highly recommend it.
Yes Sir I caught the post where you mentioned it a while back. I seriously need a break from school though and also I expect that this year I will be deployed and need to see whats going on with all that before I do anything else with school. I dont need a B.A. or M.A for my civilian career at all so its only about what I "want" and at this point I believe I want it... I just need to rest up and find the time. Thanks!
 

Marauder06

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The main reason I did NIU (it was NDIC when I went through) is that I had spent so much of my career as an infantry officer or in SOF that I didn't feel I really understood deliberate, doctrinal, strategic-level intel anymore. I wanted to be re-blued, so to speak, on intel at that level. So I applied for the program, and I'm glad I went. I had a good friend who did the program the year before me, and I think our year was better than his, and I think this year will be better than last. So when you get around to going, it ought to be great ;)
 

Pravada

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I'm in the intel world and have been working on my associates from an online program through Upper Iowa University. Now I know it is just an associates, but I plan on ETS'ing next June in order to go back to school full time again. The way I went about choosing a school was first off figuring out how well my hard earned credits would transfer to a school in Wisconsin, where I will be going back to college. There is a countless amount of schools that cater to active duty personnel, however you have to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success when, or if, you decide to pursue a higher degree from a different institution. One of my co-workers began online classes with UIU, which initially sparked my interest. I made sure that they were nationally accredited, which is where I also stumbled onto the fact that they are recognized by the Wisconsin Board of Higher Education. These two factors almost guarantee that the majority of my credits, and my associates degree, will transfer over to a University of Wisconsin school next year.

As has been stated in previous posts, check schools in your home state, or where you plan on attending when, or if, you get out of the military. IMO if you plan on pursuing federal employment in the intel sector, you should look for a school that offers a bachelor program in political science, international studies, national security, history, geography library science. You can always go onto a federal site and check for their minimum requirements for applicants, but most state that one of the previous degrees suit best in the intel field.
 

0699

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I'm in the intel world and have been working on my associates from an online program through Upper Iowa University. Now I know it is just an associates, but I plan on ETS'ing next June in order to go back to school full time again. The way I went about choosing a school was first off figuring out how well my hard earned credits would transfer to a school in Wisconsin, where I will be going back to college. There is a countless amount of schools that cater to active duty personnel, however you have to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success when, or if, you decide to pursue a higher degree from a different institution. One of my co-workers began online classes with UIU, which initially sparked my interest. I made sure that they were nationally accredited, which is where I also stumbled onto the fact that they are recognized by the Wisconsin Board of Higher Education. These two factors almost guarantee that the majority of my credits, and my associates degree, will transfer over to a University of Wisconsin school next year.

As has been stated in previous posts, check schools in your home state, or where you plan on attending when, or if, you get out of the military. IMO if you plan on pursuing federal employment in the intel sector, you should look for a school that offers a bachelor program in political science, international studies, national security, history, geography library science. You can always go onto a federal site and check for their minimum requirements for applicants, but most state that one of the previous degrees suit best in the intel field.

Just as a point of order/clarification, UIU is regionally accredited, not nationally accredited. Regional accreditation refers to the six regional accreditors that most/all "big name" B&M schools work through for their accreditation, often called the gold standard. National Accreditation usually refers to the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), sometimes called the silver standard. The reasoning behind this goes back to the history of accreditation in the US, but today implies that almost all schools will accept credits from an RA school, but RA schools will not always accept credits from an NA school. YMMV, but that's the current trend.

IME, I would stay away from National Security programs, unless they are through a government-sponsored school. NDU, Army War College, etc. For a young person starting college today looking to get into the IC, I would recommend hard sciences (chemisty, physics, engineering, etc) or languages (not Spanish/French, but Arabic, Mandarin, etc).
 

TH15

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Just as a point of order/clarification, UIU is regionally accredited, not nationally accredited. Regional accreditation refers to the six regional accreditors that most/all "big name" B&M schools work through for their accreditation, often called the gold standard. National Accreditation usually refers to the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), sometimes called the silver standard. The reasoning behind this goes back to the history of accreditation in the US, but today implies that almost all schools will accept credits from an RA school, but RA schools will not always accept credits from an NA school. YMMV, but that's the current trend.

IME, I would stay away from National Security programs, unless they are through a government-sponsored school. NDU, Army War College, etc. For a young person starting college today looking to get into the IC, I would recommend hard sciences (chemisty, physics, engineering, etc) or languages (not Spanish/French, but Arabic, Mandarin, etc).
Not to derail the thread, but why are hard sciences wanted in the IC? Also, would computer science fall under that realm?
 

0699

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Not to derail the thread, but why are hard sciences wanted in the IC? Also, would computer science fall under that realm?

The hard sciences are looked upon favorably as degrees leading into the IC because they provide the background knowledge needed in drugs (and their connections to terrorism), WMDs, etc. Not that a chemistry degree is a guarantee of a job, but it's better than an "intelligence" degree. I've never heard CS included in that list of hard science degrees.
 

redleg_64

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Well, I have a while before I leave the Army. I'm enrolling in the associates in counter-terrorism studies. I figure I'll learn about something I'm very interested in and when I'm done with that, I'll look into a bachelor's degree in something like international relations.
 

0699

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Well, I have a while before I leave the Army. I'm enrolling in the associates in counter-terrorism studies. I figure I'll learn about something I'm very interested in and when I'm done with that, I'll look into a bachelor's degree in something like international relations.

Good luck.
 
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