Original review: June 7, 2020
20 years ago I pursued a lifelong dream of earning a master's degree and becoming an educator at the college of education at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). I had just finished my bachelor's degree in Sociology and was still actively taking classes in the UCCS philosophy school because of my drive for knowledge and to better myself. I initially went into the Masters program at UCCS for sociology, but decided very quickly that I wanted to actually teach future generations – not just study about it and write critiques and social essays about it to small groups of academics. I Switched graduate majors and entered the school of education.
I should've known that something was amiss when the very first professor (who shall remain nameless and is now thankfully retired from the department) told everyone in our first class on the first day that only about 10% of us "deserved" to become teachers. Even though I had a terrible first impression, I still stuck with a program for another semester before concluding that the UCCS college education just wasn't going to give me the kind of education I needed to make a difference in the world.
So, Being the kind of person who had been running his own business with his father for close to 10 years, I decided to look elsewhere to earn the necessary credentials to enter the education profession. Enter the University of Phoenix. It can't be stressed enough: at the time this college was absolutely on the cutting edge of higher education. It was able to deliver curriculum and credits in a hybrid model online where you would do your work a couple days a week in person and still have to complete extra work at night with groups.
I have to say that although the University of phoenix has received much deserved negative scrutiny for being a "diploma mill" in its schools of business etc…, I found the education masters program in Colorado Springs to be highly complex and rather difficult to complete. In fact, of the two hundred or so students in my graduating class of 2004 only about half actually completed the Masters. Honestly, the program was hard as hell because it was designed to be just as difficult and valid of an educational training program as any four-year university or graduate school, but it was marketed to us working professionals who already had been busy working in actual careers for a few years. I remember completing HUNDREDS of hours of observational practicum as well as student teaching before being credentialed.
There is a caveat to this story. I have to say that since the early 2000's, the UCCS college of education has vastly improved – and I am now friends with a number of different faculty members in the UCCS Ed Dept. Although as with any University there is still "dead weight," I would rate it much higher NOW than a degree from Univ of Phoenix. in education. That said, in the early 2000s the University of Phoenix was a much superior education program to UCCS. And I must say the proof is in the pudding. Since earning my master's degree as well as my principal's license back in 2004, I've gone on to enjoy a very successful career in education. I saw my salary raise each year because of my credentials earned at Univ. of Phoenix and also had opportunities open up to me as a college lecturer. None of that would've been possible if I had simply gone from my teaching license as UCCS was offering back then.
As far as the structure of the Master's program at the University of Phoenix, It took me approximately 4 1/2 years to complete. After this I was identified as an educational leader by the now retired director of the program Dr. Genevieve ** PhD. and I went on to earn my principles license. I spent approximately $25,000 getting these credentials, which truly allowed me to realize my dream of becoming a teacher and future influencer. When I look back at it now, I realize that the University of Phoenix was an unbelievably "Best Buy" value for what I gained and what I actually paid. I was able to secure Stafford Loans at 1.625% interest. At UCCS I was looking at taking out loans in excess of $50,000 and that interest rates that were closer to 5%. The financial choice was clear back in the early 2000s.
Today I must say it is clearly a different story, but I would never stop anyone from earning a degree at either institution. Investing in one's self is truly priceless and you will want to shop around as a frugal, financially shrewd consumer to make sure that you're getting the best value for your hard earned dollar. Clearly, anyone reading my review will need to do their own research to make sure they are making the best financial move. But I will simply say that any prospective student should visit the campus as well as speak to the faculty before making any educational decision.