Will My Associate Degree at University of Phoenix Be Accepted at a State College?

by Catherine Donges, Demand Media Google

"Diploma-mills" and bad press over for-profit colleges make anyone seeking a degree online a justifiably wary consumer. Nevertheless, most for-profit colleges, University of Phoenix included, have taken steps to ensure they are considered credible institutions of higher learning and that their credits are transferable to any other institution. While it is generally advisable to contact the admissions office of the school you want to attend and investigate their specific credit-transfer policy, their policies are likely based on meeting identifiable criteria and not on biases against online colleges.

University Accreditation

The type of accreditation a school has is the largest determining factor. Currently, University of Phoenix is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. HLC is one of six regional accrediting bodies in the country that’s recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation covers an entire institution, including all campuses and online programs, and is considered the most distinguished type of accreditation. National accreditation is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, but many regionally-accredited schools don’t accept transfer from nationally-accredited schools. University of Phoenix’s regional accreditation status makes it more likely that the credits are transferable.

University of Phoenix Accreditation Issues

Amid allegations questioning the quality of for-profit online education in general, the HLC recently put University of Phoenix on notice that it's in danger of losing its accreditation status due to concerns related to governance, assessment, research and scholarship. While these allegations are serious and may result in University of Phoenix losing their accreditation status, most schools who are issued these warnings are successful in addressing the concerns and are taken off academic probation. At the time of publication, the University of Phoenix still holds accreditation. If they do lose their accreditation, schools may no longer accept the transfer of credits they currently allow.

Program-Specific Accreditation

Your field of study may determine whether your credits are accepted. When you apply to a specific program within a university or college, those programs may have accreditation through a professional association. If they do, they will require transfer credits to be from a school with the same accreditation. For example, psychology programs that have American Psychological Association accreditation would likely require that transfer credits must be from another APA-accredited program. This is particularly true if these programs are associated with licensures or certifications. University of Phoenix programs in business, nursing, education and counseling have specialized programmatic accreditations from The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Teacher Education Accreditation Council and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, respectively.

Equality of Course Work

Some schools have credit-transfer agreements, called articulation agreements, which allow students to transfer associate degree course work to a bachelor’s degree program. The University of Phoenix website lists articulation agreements it has to accept credits from other institutions, but it doesn't list those they might have to accept their credits. Traditionally, determining course work equivalency is a time-consuming process done on an individual course-by-course basis by faculty of the college you're planning to attend. More recently, schools have started using computer database programs to speed up the process. Check the college’s website to see what database they might use, if any.

About the Author

Based just outside of Harrisburg, Pa., Catherine Donges teaches adjudicated adolescents in a residential treatment facility in York, Pa. Donges earned both her Master of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Wilkes University and a Master of Science in education from Capella University and has written both a women's fiction and a young adult novel.

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