Best college for THIS situation.

<p>Just looking for a little feedback as far as earning my bachelor's degree goes. Here's the scoop...</p>

<p>I'm 27 with a wife and two young kids so keeping my M-F day job is a must. That eliminates most regular universities since I'll only be able to take night, weekend, and online classes. Also, I live in TX (DFW area) so that narrows it down even more.</p>

<p>Right now my thoughts are to just complete a bachelor's of anything, and then get my teaching cerificate at the middle school level. I love kids and have a creative personality that would probably be useful in teaching. Plus having the same days off as my kids would be really nice. I make about $34K per year now and would like to be about where teachers start in my area which is around $43K.</p>

<p>I've looked into Univ. of Phoenix and their 100% online degrees. It seems horribly expensive although it would be highly convenient. The other option I'm considering is Letourneau University's TEACH program that is a bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies along with the teacher certification. It would be more of a one stop shop. They seem to be pretty pricey too. I'm guessing the cost of the education to be around $25K to $30K for either of these options. Does that seem outrageous? I really don't know what to compare it to.</p>

<p>I do have about 80 hours worth of basic courses (enough for an Assoc. degree if I applied for it) and a lot of that will transfer to either program.</p>

<p>Please let me know if there are other options out there that I'm not thinking about, or if you have any other suggestions at all.</p>


<p>Havent heard good thing bout UPhoenix online program. </p>

<p>wat about part timing? U might be able to at UT Dallas, UT Arlington.</p>

<p>Part timing is an option, but even then lots of classes will only be during the day at regular universities. Except MBA programs which I do NOT want.</p>

<p>There are a couple of things about your plan that concern me:
1) You talk about just "getting a degree in anything" and then a teachers' certificate. But, middle school is secondary school and at least in many states, you need to have an academic major, just like a non-teaching candidate (as opposed to elementary education); that is, if you want to teach History, you need to at least have a degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in history, or some such; many colleges who offer education degrees these days insist that the education major actually complete all the regular requirements for that major IN ADDITION TO the education requirements; I don't know if any states require this by law, however. But, in any case, I can't see how a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies would be looked on very favorably for teaching in Secondary schools, in my state at least. Don't you have a subject area that you are most attracted to yourself?
2) How does Letourneau U handle an education certificate program totally on-line? Aren't there requirements in your state for in-school professional teaching experiences, including school visitations all along, and a full semester of student teaching and related practicums/seminars at the end? At that point anyway, you need to make a decision to leave your job or not, or somehow get a leave of absence, because these things obviously need to be done in person. In other words, changing to a teaching career when you already are working full-time, and need to keep working, presents some real practical hurdles that would be best to think about NOW.
As for on-line degrees in general, I would advise you to shop around. Many of the schools that are essentially on-line institutions only are pricey, and I have heard that their quality may not be the best. If I were you, I would look at on-line programs under the auspices of state university systems. I don't know about Texas, I would think they would have such programs, but if not other states do. even if you're not in-sate, they would probably tend to be cheaper than the places you mentioned.</p>

<p>Their degree program is for k-4 or 4-8th grades. There are concentrations inside those plans for Literature, History, and Arts and Sciences. My passion for history would point me in that direction. The secondary school teaching certificate in TX only applies to 9-12th grade.</p>

<p>The program is not totally online. In fact it's about 70% in class and 30% online. The benifit of their program is that it is an accelerated process rather than traditional semesters. They have 6 week courses, and you only take one at a time. Classes meet once a week. The entire program takes about 2.5 years to complete. Even the online classes require two 5 hour workshops at some point which are held either on campus or at local schools. Also one of the classes is in fact your 12 week student teaching. They are fully accredited by the proper agencies, and recognized by the TEA and SBEC.</p>

<p>It's actually a very succesful program and very legitimate. I'm not worried about the quality of the education I will recieve. I just want to make sure that I don't dive into it if there's other options out there. I've looked and looked and so far for a working adult with mouths to feed this is the best option I have found.</p>

<p>I'm not really trying to defend them, I know it sounds like it. I'm just saying it's a quality option and not a fly by night type of place.</p>

<p>Thanks for the input everyone, keep it coming if you have a take on this!</p>

<p>Here's a link to their program if anyone's interested in looking at it <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Yes, LeTourneau itself is a very legitimate place which is why I was initially just a little surprised/skeptical about some things until you gave me the particulars, it was not my intention to be critical, just making sure you had investigated their program. It seems they are in line with your state's middle-school certification requirements, which was my real concern. As long as this is the case, I certainly would recommend this over U of Phoenix. I also didn't mean to be condescending to you, but I went through the same process a few years before. I had to quit my job to do student teaching in the spring = 3+ months student teaching/practicum followed by 3+ months of summer vacation = 7 months withoug a paycheck, and could have been longer, so I just wanted to make sure you were prepared for it.</p>

<p>PS- as to reasonableness of the educational cost, here are a couple of data points to help you out:</p>

<p>1) U of Massachusetts is one of the state systems that is well-known for on-line degree progams. Something similar to what you would be pursuing, a BA in Liberal Arts with Concentration in History, costs $280/credit hour (resident or non-resident).
2) Empire State College in New York is designed primarily to provide undergraduate education online (as well as by other means) for working adults. Cost is $442/credit hour (non-resident). Hope this helps you to compare.</p>

<p>Not condescending at all... I appreciate your helpful insight! Yes I definately don't want to get caught in a situation where I don't get paid for a lont time. I'll just have to save enough to get us through while I'm student teaching, and hope the timing is right as far as actually landing the job.</p>

<p>Do you have reasons for not recomending U of Phoenix? Just curious.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info too, that really helps me compare! Would you recomend Letourneau (or other in class options) over any online education simply because the interaction with real students/teachers is better. Or will the actual 12 week student teaching be enough experience for that?</p>


<p>First I have never taken a course at U Phoenix personally, but I have talked to people who have and I have also read articles (related to distance and on-line learning) that specifically mentioned U of Phoenix. The judgment in all cases has been that the course content was not that good/challenging. But it can be dangerous to generalize I know.
The way you have described the LeTourneau program sounds good to me for three reasons: 1) the accelerated nature of it. I can easily envision your taking more than 2.5 years part-time just to get your BA alone, and then having to go for the teaching certificate requirements on top of that- several more courses, and significant additional time; 2) the integrated nature of the program (BA/certificate); and 3) the stimulation and motivation of being in-class, with live interactions, and actual class schedules to drive you! From my own experience, I had to take one particular course to expand my certification area, and I chose to take it on-line because it seemed that it would be so very convenient. I actually really liked the course, but I found that when left on my own, especially at home with the kids, wife, chores to do, etc., it became very easy to procrastinate- I may just not have the self-discipline that others have, but when you're home there's always an excuse to do something else- better to put aside the specific designated time, go off to class and be away from distractions for that time.<br>
As for the issue of in-class vs. on-line from the standpoint of exposure to teaching, that is somewhat up to you. By the time I student-taught, I had already worked up to it by spending 30-40 hrs. in classrooms as class assignments, with increasing levels of involvement. Going straight into student teaching cold I think would have been very tough, even for someone who has kids. Hope this all helps.</p>

<p>Thank you very much for all the insight. It's most helpful!</p>

<p>One more thing...</p>

<p>You "expanded your certification area"? Does that mean you were certified to teach at the secondary level after you already had your initail certification?</p>

<p>What state do you teach in?</p>

<p>I was initially certified to teach secondary Physics but needed to take one additional science course to be certified for secondary General Science. I'm not in education any more, but was certified in New York State</p>

<p>chris, I strongly recommend that you get in touch with the person at your local school district (or the 8 or 10 closest) in charge of ceritfication and ask these questions. Texas has some really great alternative certification programs, but since you don't have a BA/BS yet, it's worth talking to them about the fastest way that they see as acceptable. People who work recuriting teachers are always willing to help. IN the DFW area, look at ECAP as an alternative (although I think you have the have a 4 year degree first) Another thing to bring up is if you can coach something (basketball, yearbook, debate, whatever.... if you can't offer something outside the classroom and aren't in a high demand subject it will be much harder). Good luck! We need dedicated men in the schools!</p>

<p>Thanks for the input! I have checked into ECAP, Region 11, and other emergency certification programs. All of them require that you already have your bachelor's degree.</p>

<p>So now the point is how to obtain one in the quickest way without sacrificing quality too much, and at the same time tailoring it towards the career in education. I do agree with you however, I will get in touch with people in the know to see if there's any other options. I know several people who are teachers and my pastor is on the school board. I'm sure he could point me in the right direction.</p>

<p>What would you consider a high demand subject?</p>

<p>On another note, I did find several Texas schools (Texas-Tech, Lamar, UNT, and more) that offer a BA in general studies online. Here's the info from UNT's program...</p>

<p>"The General Studies program offers a multidisciplinary approach to education. The program provides the opportunity to integrate a variety of self-selected fields of study. In response to Employer's call for a renewed emphasis on well-rounded educational backgrounds, the College of Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in General Studies. The focus of the major is on the diversity and flexibility of the degree and is not limited to a single specialized field. Graduates of the General Studies program have gone into such career fields as: Law, Medicine, Business, Computers, Art, Counseling, Teaching, Science, and Various Entrepreneurial Endeavors."</p>

<p>I'm thinking that something like this followed by the certification through ECAP or Region 11 might be a good idea. It will be cheaper than a private school like Letourneau, but there will be the cost of certification at the end which is about $3,800 or so. It might end up being about the same overall cost, and less hassle with a one stop shop approach.</p>

<p>Then there's the whole "emergency certification" thing. I've heard that college grads (what I'd be when finished with Letourneau) get jobs faster than people who get their emergency certification. I don't really know for sure though.</p>

<p>Have you thiought of Lesley University? It's based in Cambridge, MA but has satellite campuses in various places as well as an online program. It's well-known for its education program. Good luck!</p>

<p>Check out Western Governors University <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;.&lt;br>
It is an on-line program and non-profit. I read some reasonably good things about it a couple years ago.<br>
One drawback of an on-line program is that it could be hard to maintain the discipline to keep at it. Regular class meetings at a local college can help to keep you on track. I would encourage you to knock out some of the basics in night classes at a local college or community college. And then take a close look at your family budget. Can you cut expenses so you can a) save for school, and b) come closer to living within spouse's income and go to school full-time.
School with a family is hard. Obviously because of $. Also because of time. But people do it.</p>

<p>I have all my basics done. I've got 84 hours worth of them to transfer in to something. Budget is really not a problem as we'll be using student loans. Obviously I'd like to keep costs reasonable. Mainly I just want to make sure I'm taking the right path to get there, and not forgetting an option that I didn't know about.</p>

<p>The WGU option is VERY interesting to me. I'm waiting to hear back from an enrollment counselor.</p>