Value Colleges The best colleges. <br>The lowest costs. <br>The highest returns. Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:31:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Will My Employer Pay for My Online MSN? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 03:22:39 +0000 When thinking about obtaining your Master’s of Science in Nursing online, it is important to weigh the cost vs. benefit analysis. How much is the Master’s program going to cost, and how much will your salary increase because of your degree? The difference between what you are making now and what your potential earnings will be can give you an idea of how many years it will take to reap the benefits of your online Master’s degree – once you pay for your education. But, what if your employer would help you pay for some of your education, if not for all of it? That makes the picture look even better financially!


Are You Happy With Your Current Employer?

The good news is that many hospitals and healthcare agencies will help in defraying the costs of obtaining an online MSN. If you enjoy your current job, and are happy working for your current employer – then you should look into your company’s tuition reimbursement policy. By having a workforce that is highly educated, it can be a win-win situation for employer and employee. If your company is offering tuition reimbursement, be sure to get educated on how the program works before you begin your online MSN. Each company will have a different program, but they all are similar.

What Does Tuition Reimbursement Look Like?

Tuition reimbursement is when you pay for your education, and your company will reimburse you. This is where you need to be educated on your employer’s plan before you get started. First thing to find out is: how much will they pay? This can range from 50-100% in most cases, but it is important to know how much of the cost you will be responsible for. Secondly, most employers will want a commitment from you to continue working at their company for a certain amount of time after you complete your degree. They do not want to invest in you only to have you turn around and put that investment somewhere else. Third, find out if your company has a minimum GPA requirement for reimbursement. Some companies require their employees to submit grades or transcripts and require you to keep a certain GPA. For example, they will only reimburse your tuition if you maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. Read all the fine print!

Research Your Options

After you have talked to your employer and are familiar with all their details and requirements, it is time to search for institutions that offer an MSN program. If you do not live in the vicinity of a college campus, online MSN programs offer convenience for both you and your employer. Most employers will give you a flexible schedule as you are obtaining your degree, and many even prefer an online MSN program because of the convenience for both of you. Pursuing an online MSN offers you the flexibility to maintain your current work schedule, or an abbreviated work schedule while taking the classes needed to earn your Master’s degree. In the end, by working together with your employer, the goal is for both of you to reap the benefits of higher education.

How Will an Online MSN Benefit My Career? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 02:47:06 +0000 Once you’ve finished nursing school, perhaps earned your online RN to BSN degree, you may be wondering if more education is the answer. If you have big plans for an exciting, high salary, long term career in nursing, then the benefits of earning your online MSN now far outweigh the cons.

First of all, earning your online MSN is easy to do. Online nursing programs are career focused and built on the foundations of affordability and flexibility. Universities and educators know that you are already working part or full time, but want to further your career, make a bigger impact, or shift your nursing focus or specialty, and so they work hard to make their programs accessible no matter your budget, time constraints, or schedule.

Though some programs require some on-campus visits, if any, they are minimal. Additionally, you’ll still obtain some on-the-job training although you’re enrolled online, but these opportunities will be flexible and adaptable as well. But most important, since you’re learning online you can set your schedule and learn from the comfort of your own home or office, schedule classes around work and other commitments, and cut out extra expenses like relocation or commuter costs.

The Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) comes in all shapes and sizes; and it opens you up to a world of opportunity! In nursing, the more specialized you become, the more competitive your career becomes. This means better hours, more benefits, and higher pay.

Your degree will increase your demand

By completing your online MSN degree, you will immediately, upon graduation, become a more desirable career candidate. Additionally, you will no longer be an entry level worker; rather, your MSN will specialize you, meaning you’ll enter into your new career at a leadership level. California State University states that the main purpose of an MSN is to “develop skilled professionals able to assume positions of leadership, which contribute to the health, education, and social structure of the community, state, and nation.” As a leader in your field, you will be the one setting the standards in your area of study and practice by setting an example and guiding patients or other healthcare professionals.

Specialization is easy and rewarding

Master’s programs today are better than ever before, meaning they prepare you to succeed in your specialization. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “Today’s master’s programs have increased the amount of clinical practice that students engage in so that graduates enter the job market ready for certification.” Online MSN students are able to specialize leading to careers such as a Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and many more.

You’ll be eligible for careers with higher salaries and better benefits

Did you know that some of the best paying jobs in the nation are nursing jobs – that require an MSN. Certified Nurse Anesthetists, for example, make up to $150,000 annually. With specialization, a higher level of education, more responsibility, and a more detailed skillset comes a more competitive salary. Other high paying careers that require an MSN are: Nursing Consultants who make approximately $76,000 per year, Nurse Administrators who make about 97,000 annually, or Clinical Nurse Specialists whose salaries average about 73,000 per year.

You’ll be happier!

Did you know that surveys and studies show that professionals who obtained an online MSN in order to secure a career in healthcare just happen to be filling jobs that are ranked as some of the top Best Jobs in America? According to US News, 5 of the top 10 best jobs in their Top 100 Best Jobs ranking are careers that require a Master of Nursing degree? By earning your MSN you could have the 2nd best job in the nation as a Nurse Practitioner, preceded only by a career as a dentist.

When all is said and done, and now that you have the facts, it’s easy to see why obtaining your online MSN degree is beneficial. With so many accredited, acclaimed, and affordable options for attending nursing school online today, there is really no reason to delay reaching your nursing career goals any longer. If you’re ready to start weighing your options, take time to check out this list of the Top 50 Best Value Online MSN Programs for 2017 and 2018.

What are the Top Online MSN Degree Specialties? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 02:41:18 +0000 Earning your online MSN degree is a great step to take when you are ready to further your career. Perhaps you have already obtained your online RN to BSN degree, or maybe you’re interested in an accelerated online RN to MSN program. There are so many benefits to getting your Master of Nursing degree online. Online degree programs tend to be a little more affordable than traditional programs on campus. Plus, earning an MSN online will give you flexibility in learning. You’ll be able to attend classes and complete coursework when it is convenient for you. This is especially important for nurses or individuals working in the healthcare industry who want to continue to work while going to school.

What can I do with an MSN?

By obtaining your online MSN degree you’ll be qualified for higher paying jobs, with better benefits and stronger career opportunities. An MSN will help you to specialize your career, making you as a candidate more desirable for hire. With your improved skill set you’ll be able to look at a huge variety of new career opportunities such as Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nursing, or Nursing Administration to name a few. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular online MSN degree nursing specialties.

Top 5 MSN Specialties Today

Nursing Leadership and Administration

Specializing in Nurse Administration and Leadership will set you up for a career in senior administration. These professionals handle the ins and outs of a practice or department such as scheduling to facility management. Salaries are competitive and signing packages often come with a great benefits package too. Some Nurse Administrators make as much as $200,000 a year, though salaries start at $60,000.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioners have one of the most diverse set of skills and job opportunities found in the field of nursing. Some of the opportunities available include careers as in maternity, family care, or pediatrics and these specialties will be determined while students are obtaining their online MSN degree. Oftentimes Nurse Practitioners are found working in family or primary care offices with the supervision of a physician. Because of the nature of their jobs, their benefits come with high salaries and great hours, usually Monday through Friday. Their high salary ranges somewhere between $60,000 to $72,000 annually.

Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse Anesthetists have been known for being the happiest of all nurses in their careers. Specializing in Nurse Anesthesia while obtaining your online MSN degree will prepare you for working in advanced practices, hospitals, and other medical facilities that require anesthesia. Some of these include outpatient clinics, dental offices, pain management clinics, and operating rooms. Students learn to administer local, general, and regional anesthesia and they learn how to safeguard patients who are receiving a wide range of procedures or surgeries. Nurse Anesthetists are some of the most highly respected professionals in the nursing field and salaries average about $150,000 annually.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Students who choose to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist get to choose from a wide range of specialties that are based on types of care, populations, and diseases. Although sometimes compared to Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialties primarily focus on expert, specialized care rather than primary care. They are found outside of primary care facilities and in hospitals too. They will take care of tasks such as data reporting, care plans for patients with unique circumstances, and collaborate with research projects. Salaries average about $100,000 a year.

Research Nurse

Research Nurses have one of the most interesting jobs when it comes to a career in nursing. In order to be qualified to become a Research Nurse, students must complete an accredited two-year MSN program. Typically, Research Nurses are employed by educational institutes such as colleges or universities, even business schools. Occasionally medical facilities or hospitals hire Research Nurses to enhance the level of instruction practicing nurses or nursing students are receiving in their department. The average job salary for a nurse is $77,000 per year.

How Long Are Online MSN Programs? Wed, 23 Aug 2017 02:36:02 +0000

Nursing is a rewarding but intense profession with long hours and a very specific skill set. Many nurses find that in order to increase their responsibilities, earn more money or decrease the physical demands of their profession they need a Master’s Degree. A MSN can help a nurse become a Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s assistant, Professor, Nurse Anesthetist, Midwife or Manager. The best way for most busy working professionals to balance quality, cost and return is to earn a MSN online.

Not all MSN degrees are created equally. The first priority is to make sure sure that the school is accredited by the CCNE or ACEN. There are plenty of diploma mills out there willing to sell you an education so you need to make sure that your nursing education will translate into valuable earning potential when you are finished by attending a reputable program. Next you need to determine which programs offer clinical hours and rotations in your geographical area. MSN degrees have a hands-on component of some sort. Schools handle them in different ways but you need to make sure that it works for you in your current location. Some schools allow you to intern at your present place of employment. Others offer programs in administration that don’t require any clinical hours at all. Once you have narrowed it down to schools that fulfill your needs, then you need to price shop. Students are consumers and school is not cheap. You don’t want to rack up loans unnecessarily, so shop around and think about the total cost of your online MSN program. State schools tend to be less expensive than private schools but not always thanks to time spent in school.

One of the most import factors to consider when choosing an online MSN program is how long it will take to earn your degree. Time spent in school equates to lost wages, time away from family, additional stress and extra work. An advanced degree is worth the sacrifice but time is important. The average MSN student spends two years in school if they have a BSN. Some registered nurses have a two year degree and will require additional classes. Some nurses with a BSN have specific experience and may be able to earn credit for those skills by taking a test and skip a class or two. To finish in two years you must be able to carry a full course load, however. Many working professionals must take an abbreviated course load in order to keep up and therefore take three to four years to complete their studies. Many programs are actually set up to accommodate the half-time student since most nurses chose to continue working while completing their MSN. This is where private online universities, that might cost a little more per credit hour, might actually come out ahead in the end cost wise. They may not have the same brand recognition as a large public school but many online programs offer fast track classes that run on abbreviated schedules with shortened class times and year round offerings that allow students to finish faster. Finishing faster can save you money over time and accelerate your career. Time really is money during your peak earning years and the faster you can step into your new career the better!

Does an Online Bachelor’s Degree Take 4 Years To Complete? Wed, 26 Jul 2017 01:01:59 +0000

A Bachelor’s Degree in the United States has always consisted of approximately one-hundred and twenty credit hours of coursework, or about forty college classes. Commonly taken as fifteen hours a semester, or five courses per semester that are each three hours of credit, the traditional college plan stretches the bachelor’s degree out over four years. While it takes the same amount of credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree at all schools, the flexibility offered by online college programs has created new opportunities for completing the credits faster than in traditional programs, which can save students money and time.

[Want to find out the best of the best in online schools specifically based on bachelor degree programs? Check out our Top 50 Best Value Online Colleges for Undergraduates in the 2017-2018 school year.]

Earning a degree online can provide a faster path to graduation than traditional college programs because students are not constrained to attending class when they can physically be on campus. Additionally, online programs are often less expensive than traditional programs, and some colleges have created accelerated online programs which can offer an express route to graduation. Accelerated online degrees are shortened degree schedules that compress the same courses into a shorter time. Whereas a traditional college semester is usually 15 weeks long, an accelerated semester is often 8 to 10 weeks. The classes teach the same material as regular classes but are more intense because students learn in a shorter time and have to spend more time every day on coursework. For students who have four or more hours a day to devote to school, accelerated classes may offer considerable value.

Do You Have a Bachelor’s Degree Plan?

One of the main reasons finishing a bachelor’s degree, traditional or online, can take longer than four years is a lack of planning. Students begin school with an idea of what they want to study but then fail to consult with an advisor and make a plan for graduating. Most college programs have a specific order in which classes have to be taken, and once a class is missed or not taken when it should be, students get off track and limit the classes they can take the following semester. Some students change majors and then lose credit hours when they begin pursuing a different degree. When students lose credit hours, they are throwing money away. Whether earning a degree online or at a traditional “brick and mortar” institution, seeking advisement and having a graduation plan are crucial to staying on track and earning a degree in four years or less. Making a plan and sticking to it helps students complete their degree faster.

What are the Benefits of Online Study for Traditional Students?

One of the unintended consequences of the creation of online education is the impact on traditional college students. Students who live on campus and take on-campus classes can also benefit from taking online classes. Taking one online class a semester can significantly speed up the path to graduation. When in-person classes are full, students can take them online instead. Online courses are usually less expensive than traditional college saving students a little money.

What Are Some Other Ways I Can Earn a Bachelor’s Degree Faster?

Many traditional college students have figured out ways to accelerate the bachelor’s degree timeline by taking summer classes, taking classes at community colleges, and using high school advanced placement courses for credit. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers exams for credit on various college subjects for both traditional and online students. Some colleges will grant class credit for passing a CLEP exam in that subject area. Check with each school to see if CLEP exams are accepted and if there is a limit to the number of exams they will take. Another possible way to earn credit hours is through participating in an internship related to one’s major or for military service. For students who are working in a professional field, earning credit for professional work experience offers tremendous savings. Students should check with each school to determine if they accept paid internships or military service for credit.

Can I Get an Online Bachelor’s Degree While Working? Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:54:18 +0000

Traditional “brick and mortar” colleges mainly offer classes during weekdays. One of the biggest expense of going to a traditional college is the lost wages from not being able to work during the days when classes are offered. And without an income, it is hard for many students to pay rent and essential expense, even when they receive financial aid. Night schools, weekend college, and community colleges became popular in the 1990’s to cater to the adult population that needed to work while in school.

Online education started gaining momentum after 2002 and has become increasingly popular every year. One of the main reasons online degrees are now commonplace is because individuals can earn a Bachelor’s Degree while continuing to work. A growing number of students are earning an online college degree at their convenience, while they continue to be employed. According to The Online Learning Consortium, an organization devoted to advancing quality online learning, 85% of Americans enrolled in postsecondary institutions are non-traditional learners and one-quarter of U.S. students are currently taking an online class.

Can Working Improve My Performance at School?

Having a job while in college can help keep individuals focus on both school and work, but care should be taken to not overload in either arena. Courses that have real world application for students will give them a better understanding of the material. For example, if a student is pursuing a business degree, working for a company that offers experience in marketing or pricing can significantly help with understanding conceptual ideas about pricing strategies. Additionally, students can utilize information learned in the classroom at work, creating an enriched learning environment. If possible, students should try to work in a field that is similar to or complements the degree they are earning and should check with their school and employer and ask if they can receive credit for professional experience.

Should I Go to School Full Time or Part Time While I am Working?

While most students work in some capacity during college, it is always important to not bite off more than you can chew. Some individuals can function on four hours of sleep a day and seem to have superhuman abilities, but they are not the norm. The rest of the world has to have a more realistic outlook on time commitment and sustainability. Professionals who are working full time, should start with part time classes and work up to full time if they are successful with the part time load. Full-time classes are a better choice for individuals who are only working part time. Few students will have the ability to work full time and take full-time classes. While it is possible, it does not mean it is a good idea. Particularly in the beginning of one’s college journey, making good grades and maintaining a good GPA are imperative. One bad grade will always be on one’s transcript has the potential to destroy a GPA which can lead to loss of financial aid and not being able to get into a particular major.

Time management is a valuable skill and is essential to success in online education. Online students should budget around 10 hours of study time a week per class. In addition to readings and quizzes, many classes require students to post written responses to readings and other students posts three or four days a week. Students may also be assigned team assignments and other projects that can be more time-consuming. Successful students will calculate their weekly time commitment for the number of classes they are taking and for the hours they are working to make sure they are not overextending themselves.

Can I Get My Employer to Reimburse Me for School Tuition?

Some companies will help employees pay for college or other continuing education classes. These programs are sometimes offered to all employees, and some are offered only to promoted employees. They may reimburse all of a student’s tuition, only a portion,, and some only if the student makes good academic progress. These valuable employer tuition reimbursement programs vary from company to company but can offer significant assistance to some students. Check with your employer to see if they offer a program and if you qualify.

Will I Save Money Getting My Degree Online? Tue, 25 Jul 2017 20:14:42 +0000

Compared to traditional degrees, online college degrees can offer substantial financial savings. Tuition and fees for online degrees are often less expensive than for a traditional bachelor’s degree. The total cost of a traditional four-year college degree currently averages around $85,000 compared to the total cost of an online bachelor’s degree which averages around $35,000. Many online bachelor’s degree programs offer the same tuition rates for out of state students as they do for in state students, enabling a student to potentially attend a school in another state for the same price as a school in their home state. In addition to saving money on tuition, the cost of housing, food, and transportation are other areas of potential savings.

Everyone has to pay for housing, food, and essential living expenses and these items are not officially considered a cost of attending college. However, they are costs for students who will pay (or pay more) for these items should they choose to attend a brick and mortar college. For example, any student who lives with family and is not paying “full price” for housing and food will be paying more once they move to college. Additionally, students who move from where they currently live to attend a school in another state will probably have higher living expenses. According to the College Board, the average student spends approximately 24% of 43% of their educational budget on room and board. For some online students, this percentage can add up to huge savings.

image credit: CollegeBoard

How Can I Save Money With an Employer Reimbursement Program?

Some companies offer financial assistance to help employees complete a degree, pursue a higher degree, or to take continuing education classes. While employer reimbursement programs vary widely from company to company but can offer substantial saving for employees who qualify. Since these students are already employed, online programs are a popular choice, allowing them to schedule their education around work. Workplace reimbursement programs can be a valuable part of financing an online degree. According to USA Today, these 15 companies will help employees pay for college.

What Are Other Ways I Can Save Money on My Bachelor’s Degree?

Drop the minor – While adding a minor to a degree major has historically been an attractive plan for traditional college students, the ROI on adding a minor is not as positive as to used to be. A minor typically consists of fifteen credit hours and serves as a concentration or focus area to complement a major. Unless a particular degree requires a minor, choosing not to pursue a minor will be a faster track to graduation and can potentially save a semester of tuition and months of taking classes.

Professional development opportunities that can enhance social networks and provide marketable skills are an excellent alternative to pursuing a minor. Many colleges and universities offer classes and certifications through their continuing education departments. Alumni and students can take advantage of these university resources to add value to resumes and increase hiring potential or salaries.

Will My Diploma Say I Got My Degree Online? Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:45:55 +0000

First, it is important to understand the two general types of online degree programs – schools that are only online, and brick-and-mortar universities that have an online presence. Schools that exist only online are likely to have “online” in the name of the school, and it will be evident that a degree was earned online from “Example University Online.”

Online Bachelor’s Degrees received from brick-and-mortar universities that have an online presence will be indistinguishable from other diplomas and will not indicate whether a degree was earned online or in a traditional setting. Because of accreditation standards and processes, graduates of online degree programs receive the same rigorous level of education as traditional degree program students. The degree is the achievement earned. Online is the format or mode used to receive the education, and therefore, is not part of the actual name of the degree earned. In the same way that a diploma would not read “Traditional Bachelor’s of Arts In Psychology” a degree will not read “Online Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology.” The degree earned in both cases is a “Bachelor’s of Arts In Psychology.”

Will My Employer be Able to Tell if I Earned My Degree Online?

The primary way employers will be able to tell if students completed a degree online is by directly asking. Companies concerned about the qualifications of an online degree versus a traditional degree will often have an interview question asking specifically if a degree was earned online or traditionally. Online degrees do not have the same stigma they once did. But individuals who are unsure about an employer reaction can prepare for questions from a future employer by promoting the qualities of a successful online learner and describe ways they will bring value to the workplace.

  • Self Motivated and Independent Learner
  • Excellent Time Management Skills
  • Superior Writing Skills

Other ways an employer may realize a student earned a degree online is by information on a resume or a transcript. If a work resume details a job experience in Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree earned from a college in California, it is fairly obvious the student did not obtain the diploma in a traditional setting. Additionally, college transcripts are the educational record most frequently requested by potential employers when hiring a new employee based on qualifications from a newly obtained degree. To know for sure if a school has “online degree” on a transcript or has classes listed as online, a student should call the school and ask the records department. But, requesting a personal copy of one’s transcript is the best way for a student to verify 100% how it will read.

Will My Employer Care if My Degree Was Earned Online?

Most companies are not too concerned about online degrees, but many are wary of degrees earned from for-profit “diploma mills.” The reputation of the school, the degree received, and the accreditation of the program are the most important facts to most employers. Companies accept well known and respected universities that offer online degrees. Future students should find out the reputation of each school before deciding on a program.

Additionally, prospective employers do not hold unaccredited schools in high esteem. Finding out if an online degree program is accredited should be the first step when looking for an online bachelor’s degree program. Any program that is not accredited should be eliminated from the search since unaccredited schools are usually not eligible for federal financial aid, and credit hours earned may not transfer to another school. College accrediting bodies recognize each other’s local standards and degrees as legitimate, but without accreditation, students may be wasting valuable money and time on a worthless degree.

Online degrees are changing the face of education. They have “leveled the playing field’ for access to education, and the bad stigma associated with online degrees has diminished significantly. Earning an online degree is just as difficult, if not harder, as earning a traditional degree – don’t be ashamed of it!

How Fast Can I Finish an Online Bachelor’s Degree? Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:08:14 +0000

Online classes have become so mainstream that even traditional classes have online components these days. What online classes can offer that traditional classrooms cannot is an alternative schedule since classes don’t have to be taught in real time. This means that some schools provide accelerated programs, alternative credit options and ways to use all 365 days in the year.

How Do I Choose a Program?

You want to determine the best value online colleges for the degree you are seeking first. This should include checking for accreditation, determining the price per credit hour and determining how long it will take you to finish. Often the best value is found in smaller state schools who have invested heavily in their online platform in order to reach rural populations, nontraditional students, working adults and other people who otherwise couldn’t attend school.

How Long Will it Take Me to Graduate?

Next, you want to contact an academic advisor and see if anything you have already done could apply towards credit hours. Did you take AP classes in high-school? Have you taken classes at another accredited college or university? Do they accept life or work experience towards credit hours? Can you just take the exam and get credit for the class? Hopefully the answer is yes to one or more of these questions. But even if the answer is no, you still might be able to get on the fast track.

Many online schools offer accelerated classes. These classes can be completed in five to ten weeks instead of the traditional 18 week semester. This allows you to complete more classes per year. If they also offer year round continuous classes you can gain even more time. Many students starting school with no credit hours can complete these programs in as little as two and a half years! That is definitely a best value because it allows you to enter the workforce sooner and start to earn money!

What are Common Mistakes That Online Students Make?

Many students register for classes without knowing exactly what they should be taking. This leads to taking classes that you don’t need and not taking classes that are required to graduate. This mistake is easy to avoid by carefully studying the course requirements for your major, diligently checking them off the list each semester as you complete them and meeting with your academic advisor frequently. This means that you have to pick a major and stick with it early in the process or you will be in college for several extra years!

Choosing your major is a huge component of getting the best value online degree possible. You need to choose a field that both interest you and is hiring. You do not want to spend time and money on an education that will not pay for itself in the long run. Some fields are growing rapidly such as project management , public healthhospitality management, and nursing. Choosing one of these majors, sticking to a streamlined schedule and staying the course is the best way to find meaningful, lucrative employment as quickly as possible! Get in, get out and get paid, that is the goal. The faster you can do it the better off you will be.

Jana S. is an online professor of Teacher Education with an emphasis on Critical Thinking and Positive Classroom Management. As an educator for 18 years in several different paradigms, she is committed to creating computer-savvy, knowledgeable graduates who can confidently adapt and apply their knowledge to new situations in the increasingly complex world.

The Coding Boot Camp Guide Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:45:18 +0000

What Are the Ways Someone Can Learn to Code?

There are many avenues and individual can take to learn to code and get the chops needed to land a new job and change careers. Some people learn to code on their own. Self-taught individuals are highly motivated and use online resources to create their curriculum or study plans. But this path can be time-consuming, and the lack of formal training may make it difficult for these individuals to land a job.

On the other end of the learning spectrum, traditional university programs that offer computer science degrees have been a time established, more formal way to move into computer programing professions. A bachelor’s degree in computer science provides a broad foundation of learning and offers easy entry into the workforce after graduation. However, college degrees are expensive and usually take four years to complete. Until recently there was not a lot of middle ground for students.

Emerging somewhere in between self-learning and college degrees on the coding spectrum of learning, independent coding coot camps were born. These programs offer intensive learning experiences that prepare students with specific skills in a compressed period. Students leave boot camps ready to work and armed with the most current knowledge. These programs are excellent, but to attend a coding boot camp an individual needs to have significant resources. One of the main stumbling blocks for these independent coding schools is the commitment of time, and money required by students.

Tuition for a typical boot camp ranges from $3,000 – $25,000. To attend boot camp, many students must move to the city where the school is located and be able to afford to not work during the time they are enrolled in the program. Unlike colleges, universities, or trade schools the Independent Coding Boot Camp schools have only recently begun to be regulated or accredited, making it somewhat difficult for individuals evaluate the different programs and making the programs ineligible for financial aid.

The most recent trend in boot camps has been for an independent coding school to partner with an established “brick and mortar” college or university. These University + Coding Boot Camps Partnerships offer the benefits of university resources coupled with the innovation of independent coding schools.

How are Coding Boot Camp Classes Offered?

The modes of delivery for coding boot camps are in-person, online, or a combination of the two.

Online coding boot camps allow students to enjoy the flexibility of working from home and at their own pace. Bloc, Thinkful, General Assembly are a few of the popular online coding schools. In-person boot camps require the individual attend class in-person, similar to traditional college classes. Additionally, boot camps offer part-time and full-time classes.

Are Coding Boot Camps Accredited or Regulated?

Each university controls the coding boot camps that have established partnerships with them. The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR)  has developed a standard framework for reporting student outcomes for independent coding boot camps. The CIRR is a new organization and consists of a group of 28 coding programs and member organizations with the goal of providing clear, simple, and validated reporting.

What are the Specific Types of Coding Bootcamps?

University + Coding Bootcamp Partnerships offer the benefits of university resources coupled with the innovation of independent coding schools. Some partnerships grant college credit for coursework, and some have financial aid available.

  • Concordia University – St. Paul + Software Guild
  • CUNY- Queens + Revature
  • Kaplan University + Dev Bootcamp
  • Lynn University + Wyncode + General Assembly
  • Northeastern University + Level
  • Seattle Central College + Launch code
  • Strayer University + New York Code & Design
  • University of Missouri + Revature
  • University of Maryland University College + Revature
  • Wichita state + Software Guild

University “In-House” Coding Bootcamps are programs developed by each school and are not affiliated with any outside education providers. These coding boot camps usually last 8 to 20-weeks.

  • Sacred Heart University
  • Seattle University

University + Coding Bootcamps, Continuing Education programs take place on a university campus through the continuing education department. Graduates receive a boot camp certificate of completion from the school but do not receive college credit. Trilogy Education has launched part-time boot camps in cooperation with the continuing education departments of many universities.

  • Case Western Reserve + Trilogy
  • George Washington University + Trilogy
  • Georgia Tech + Trilogy
  • Northwestern University + Trilogy
  • Rutgers University + Trilogy
  • Southern Methodist University + Trilogy
  • UC Berkeley Extension + Trilogy
  • UC Irvine + Trilogy
  • UC San Diego Extension + Trilogy
  • UCLA Extension + Trilogy
  • UNC Chapel Hill + Trilogy
  • UNC Charlotte + Trilogy
  • University of Arizona + Trilogy
  • University of Central Florida + Trilogy
  • University of Denver + Trilogy
  • University of Kansas + Trilogy
  • University of Utah  + Trilogy
  • UT Austin + Trilogy

EQUIP University + Coding Boot Camp Partnerships are initiatives between the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships, or EQUIP, an educational organization established by the U.S. Department of Education with the goal of helping students access federal student aid for educational programs offered by non-traditional training providers. EQUIP partners with colleges and universities, including coding boot camps, online courses, and employer organizations in an attempt to access innovative learning and training opportunities that are not part of the current financial aid system for higher education. Students can get financial assistance and college credit for completing a coding boot camp from EQUIP partnerships institutions.

  • Marylhurst University + Episodes
  • SUNY Empire State College + Flatiron
  • Wilmington University + Zip Code Wilmington

Community College Coding Bootcamps are partnerships between community colleges and independent boot camps, similar to the university partnerships. They offer affordable alternatives to the university programs.

  • Central New Mexico Community College + Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp
  • Community College of Allegheny County + Mined Minds
  • Dallas Community College System + Straightliner (also EQUIP)

Independent Coding Bootcamps (University Alternative) are private for-profit schools. There are more than 200 independent boot camps.Some of the most popular are Coding Dojo, Deep Dive, Dev, Epicodus, Flatiron, General Assembly, Holberton, Iron Yard, Level, Mined Mind, Revature, Sabio, Software Guild, Trilogy, Wyncode, Zip Code.

How Can I Tell if Coding Boot Camp is Right for Me?

Bootcamp students have vastly different experience levels and come from all walks of life. The qualities shared by successful boot camp students are drive, willingness to work hard, love of learning, and a strong desire to enter the field.  Other essential skills are the ability to pick up new technologies quickly and a capacity to work on a team collaborating with others. Here is what some boot camps have to say about the ideal candidate for a coding boot camp program and the traits or skills do they have.

“They already have been learning some coding concepts and have a computer to work on code on a weekly basis. They are smart, motivated and driven to succeed.”

–    Liliana Monge, the Co-Founder, and CEO of Sabio (Antioch College partnership)


“Logic and problem-solving skills, grit, tenacity, determination, good communicators.”

–    Samantha Hayoun, Zip Code Wilmington


“The ideal Wyncode candidate is a hardworking, motivated and focused individual who is interested in the power of technology. We do not judge candidates on what they have done to date but rather their potential to be successful.”

–    Juba Mikkola, Wyncode Academy


“Desire to learn with a strong emphasis on a growth mindset.”

–    Matt, Lynn University + Wyncode Academy

What are Some Free or Inexpensive Classes I can Use to See if Coding Boot Camp is Right for Me?

Not everyone needs experience in coding to get accepted to a boot camp, but it doesn’t hurt.  For individuals who do not have much experience in programming, there are many free or inexpensive classes offered online. Before committing to a program, students should see if they like coding by taking one of these classes. Free or inexpensive classes and boot camp prep classes can be found at Code School, Codeacademy, Coursera, Eloquent JavaScript, Flatiron, Free Code Camp, General Assembly, Girl Develop It, JavaScript for Cats, Learn to Code With Me, One Month, Railsbridge, Skillcrush, Treehouse, Udacity, and Udemy.

How Much Does Boot Camp Cost and How Can I Pay for it?

The average coding boot camp tuition is around $11,000.00. Although, there are a few schools that are free to students and alumni. In addition to the cost of tuition, living expenses, and lost wages for the time a student attends the boot camp need to be factored in to estimate the total cost.

The expense of a boot camp is less than a college degree, but federal financial aid is available in some locations that have teamed up with universities. For example, Sabio and  Antioch University have a joint program that offers two paths for students. They can take a six month program and earn a Certificate in Web Development. Or, students can attend Sabio’s six month coding boot camp.earn thirty-six hours of college credit toward a Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Studies from Antioch University. Students get the best of both worlds, participating in the Sabio Boot Camp and working towards a degree at Antioch University and are able to enjoy the benefits of financial aid.

Most students pay for independent boot camp tuition out-of-pocket using personal savings or loans. Coding bootcamp loans are available from third party lenders like Pave, Affirm, LendLayer, Earnest, and Climb. Some boot camps offer payment plans, deferred payments, and have agreements to use a percent of a student’s salary after graduating to pay for tuition. Scholarships are available for minorities, women, military personnel, and other select groups. A list of coding boot camp scholarships is available from Course Report.

What is the Curriculum of the Coding Boot Camp Program?

Most coding boot camps teach a full-stack web development program. A full-stack encompasses the front-end, the interface a user interacts with and the design features seen on a website, and the back-end, where the foundational code allows a website to accept, process and deliver information. Depending on the coding school, the languages taught are slightly different. Most full-stack developers can code with 5 to 6 major languages or frameworks. Because programming languages can be geographically distinct, students should research the area where they want to work to make sure they are learning the most useful languages.

How Should I Choose a Coding Boot Camp?

Different boot camps are meant for various skill sets and these schools are classified differently than other traditional college programs. Absolute beginners should choose a program that is “Zero to” and individuals with some experience should choose a program that is described as “20 to”.

  • 0 to 60 – absolute beginner to moderate ability
  • 0 to 100 – absolute beginner to advanced ability
  • 0 to 200 – absolute beginner to superior ability
  • 20 to 80 –  modest ability to intermediate ability
  • 20 to 120 – modest ability to excellent ability

The location of the boot camp is another major factor to consider. Students who can move should try to attend a boot camp in the city where they are interested in working. A benefit of an in-person program is the face-to-face networking and job placement services. It makes sense to be in the city where you want to live in after boot camp to take advantage of these program benefits. If students have an idea about what kind of work they are interested in doing after boot camp, they can narrow their search.

What are the Admission Requirements for Coding Boot Camp?

Almost all boot camps require an applicant to have a high school diploma. Some schools require U.S. Citizenship, and a few require a post-secondary education. Almost all coding bootcamps have applications that students can fill out online. Many bootcamps require applicants to complete pre-work to demonstrate commitment and a basic competency level. Bootcamp admission rates vary widely among schools. Some of the extremely competitive programs accept less than 6% of applicants while some are trying to get people to attend.

Will Attending a Coding Boot Camp Land Me a Job?

For individuals who are using Bootcamp to change careers, it is important to find a school that offers resume and cover letter assistance, interview preparation, and job placement assistance. The jobs available will depend on the intensity level of the boot camp attended and on prior experience. Forbes Magazine lists 11 Careers You Can Land After Attending A Coding Bootcamp. Other jobs include Front-End Developer, Junior Developer, and a Full Stack Developer.  

How Can I Personally Prepare for My Time at Boot Camp?

To prepare for boot camp, students should organize their personal life so they are prepared to run on autopilot while in school. Before boot camp begins, students can streamline by paying bills early, organize finances, pre-shopping for special dietary needs and staple items, and making sure the closet is full of clean clothes. Any life activities that can be “front loaded” should be completed before boot camp starts! A daily schedule mapping out every day for the entire length of the boot camp can optimize time management during bootcamp. Focused and dedicated student are more successful than unprepared students.

What are Some Things That Can Help Me While I am in Coding Boot Camp?

Hours of sitting in front of a computer can be unkind to your bum and the rest of your body! Students should take a walk every day, maybe during lunch with new boot camp buddies,  to get the blood flowing and help maintain physical fitness. Daily walks will help students stay in peak physical and mental shape. Along with exercise, healthy eating during times of high stress has been shown to fend off sickness and fatigue. Packing your lunch every day and cutting out processed and unhealthy foods can give students more energy and save the time it may take to leave campus and eat.

To reduce strain and fatigue on your eyes, remember to use the 20-20-20 rule daily. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. When using laptops, computers, smartphones, gaming systems and television screens take periodic breaks to give your eyes a rest.

Take full advantage of the resources offered by the school. Job placement assistance, as well as help with resumes and interviewing, are valuable services. Don’t forget to network with classmates while at boot camp. Especially for students who are changing professions, friends made in boot camp may be future co-workers, employers, or employees!

What Happens After Coding Boot Camp?

After coding boot camp, students should be prepared to enter the workforce and be able to secure a job in the industry quickly. It is good practice for all students to maintain professional networks and participate in continuing education. Because coding boot camp programs are young, former boot camp students should consider writing reviews and advice for others who follow.