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The Dangers of Non-Accredited Degrees

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges & Seminaries' started by Martin, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    Yesterday morning I was talking to the director of the History Department. During the discussion the issue of unaccredited religious schools came up. He said that people who have earned undergraduate degrees (usually in Religious Education or simular programs) from those type of schools are constantly trying to (a) enter the teacher licensure program (for history) or (b) enter the MA/MAT/MAED program(s) in history. The University, and the Departments of History and Education, turn them down. In fact they are required to turn them down.

    What is the moral lesson? Don't earn degrees from unaccredited schools if you have any desire whatsoever to (a) enter an accredited graduate program, (b) get teacher licensure, or (c) transfer credits into another program. I can't stress this enough!! Many Seminaries and Universities are now requiring that students earn degress from schools which hold REGIONAL ACCREDITATION. The issue is not distance learning verses on-campus learning. The issue is accreditation.

    Don't be fooled by false accreditation! If a school is not regionally accredited you need to think twice before earning your degree from that school. This is true even if the school is accredited by TRACS or ATS, but not regionally accredited. Make sure, in writing, that your degree/credits will allow you to enter the more advanced programs (etc) you wish to enter after you graduate.

    Do not earn degrees from schools like Trinity College of the Bible and Seminary, Andersonville Seminary, Christian Bible College (Rocky Mt, NC), Covington Seminary, etc, or any school that claims accredition by any agency that is not a recognized regional accrediting body (ex: ACI, etc).

    Before you enter programs like the ones at Louisiana Baptist University, please be careful to make sure such an unaccredited degree will not cause you problems if you choose to pursue further education (or in your choice of employment). If you are not careful, even a program like that can end up holding you back.
     
    #1 Martin, Oct 5, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2007
  2. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76 Well-Known Member
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    Right! I know a gal who is trying to get a job being a teacher but....SURPRISE! She can't because her degree is from a non-accredited christian college.

    Sad indeed. How would you like to hear "Surprise! You just wasted thousands and 4 years of your life."
     
  3. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    ==It would be terrible, but according to the Director of our History Department it happens all the time. These unaccredited schools need to do more to education their prospective students on what earning a degree from an unaccredited school means. Students deserve to know the truth and they deserve not to be mislead by unaccredited schools.
     
  4. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    From what I've learned, if a degree is not RA, there are always inherent problems, whether that degree is NA or ATS, and much more problematic if it is not accredited at all.
     
  5. kubel

    kubel New Member

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    I was well informed in High School of the importance of attending an accredited college, and I'm pretty sure everyone that graduated in my class knew.

    In my area, I think our regional accreditation is through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools- at least that's what my small college was accredited by. Nearly all legit colleges in our state and in states around Michigan are accredited by them.

    I think there are 6 or 7 recognized regional accreditors throughout the US.
     
  6. saturneptune

    saturneptune New Member

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    We had some individuals who tried to receive a promotion based on a degree from an unaccredited college (US govt job) and could be in serious trouble.
     
  7. David Lamb

    David Lamb Active Member

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    I think this is a problem that we don't have here (as far as I know). As I understand the situation, UK educational institutions can only award degrees if they have permission to do so from central government.
     
  8. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    1. The way I see it: if you want to teach at a RA institution, you must seek a RA accredited degree.

    2. It is no want fault, but the careless person who obtains and unaccredited degree and wish to teach at a RA institution.

    3. Before BJU was TRACS, Dr. Robert Reymond was teaching at Knox Theological Seminary and Covenant Theological Seminary.

    4. So someone with a degree from LBU fits a Covington, a Bethany and an Andersonville.
     
    #8 TCGreek, Oct 7, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2007
  9. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

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    I think most ATS accredited seminaries are also regionally accredited (RA) anyway. I think it's probably a mistake to view ATS accreditation as less than RA. I've seem my graduate theological work from an RA school viewed differently by a seminary where I was applying, because it wasn't an ATS accredited school. It is a fairly new trend for RA Evangelical seminaries to reject ATS accreditation. I'm only aware of Liberty and Masters having done that. ATS accreditation had been coveted by up and coming seminaries in the past.

    Tom
     
  10. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    ==I wonder how ATS accreditation alone is viewed by secular universities? What if a person earned a MDiv from Knox Theological Seminary (Florida) and then wanted to earn a PhD from a secular university. How would the fact that Knox is only ATS accredited affect that person's chances of entering the secular PhD program? Most secular programs require regional accreditation. While this is certainly not a problem for most ministers who are attending these seminaries, it maybe a problem for future professors (etc).

    Any ideas?
     
  11. Bro. James

    Bro. James Well-Known Member
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    If your church is not a "plant", and you are not in competition to be a "plant manager", there should not be a problem. Look what happened to the Church at Rome since the 4th century when she got married(accredited) to/through Caesar. Only certain accredited people can say the words which change the wine into blood and bread into flesh. Will carnal man ever get it right? He has not shown such ability thus far, in fact on the contrary--he has failed utterly to get his theology correct. Yet, a little child can understand the grace of God--long before entering the hallowed halls of higher learning.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  12. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    American accreditation does not impact the school's teachings or beliefs.
     
  13. scubablt

    scubablt New Member

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    Re: Idiotic decision for sure!

    Hello to All:

    I am sorry, but I must say that when people sign up for (and pay out the hard-earned BUCKS) for any degree that is from a non-accredited school of any kind... well, it is stupid, idiotic, and just flat crazy. They are in effect signing their own educational death certificate.

    I know for a fact that it will keep you out of further education in high-quality, accredited seminaries, colleges, etc. ALSO: Some church Search Committees will also say NO to your job search as they do back ground checks and see that you took the EZ way out for your degree! I know some will disagree with me to the 10th degree, but I do say the EZ way out, because most of these non-accredited schools are done all or at least mostly on computers online via the WWW! I am sorry, but there is a lot to be said about having to go to school AT THE SCHOOL... it just makes it a whole lot better, easier to swallow, and everything else! Sure, I know that distant learning has come a long ways in recent years, but it si just NOT the same in my humlbe opinion.

    What do others think? :1_grouphug:

    As for me, I got my BS Ed, M.Div., and D.Min. from accredited, mainline schools and seminaries that would NEVER EVER give me problems regarding accreditation.

    Think about it before you spend and waste those dollars. :BangHead: I did and I am glad I did. When I started praying about my Doctoral Degree work, I almost took the EZ way out as I considered some distant learning schools... mainly Luther Rice Seminary. Man, am I glad I did NOT go that route and instead went to one of the six Southern Baptist Seminaries! Sure, I know a lot of people love 'ole Luther Rice, but it is not the same and the accreditation speaks for that statement. :wavey:
     
  14. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    1. It seems like you have more confidence in your education than you have in God.

    2. Look at what God was doing in the life of Dr. Charles F. Stanley, way before Luther Rice was TRACS accredited!
     
  15. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    ==As much as I believe in accreditation, as should be obvious from the OP, I would not go as far as you have here. Many people who attend non-accredited schools do so out of misinformation. They just don't know the facts and they are fooled by schools that are not honest, or equally confused, about this issue.

    ==This is very true. Again, however, I want to stress that most of the people who work through these schools just don't know any better. When they try to get into an accredited school they are usually shocked by what they hear. The problem is not the people, it is the schools.


    ==On this, it is you who are misinformed. Many mainline, accredited Universities and Seminaries are offering graduate degrees 100% online (and I think that is great!). I finished my seminary degree online (I started at SEBTS and finished at Liberty). Sure going to campus has its benefits, but sometimes that is just not an option. Distance/online learning helps people earn graduate degrees who normally would not be able to due to their life situation. Whether that is a seminary degree, a business degree, or some other degree, I think it is wonderful that schools are taking advantage of this technology.

    ==First, Luther Rice University is accredited by TRACS which is a recognized accrediting body. While it does not hold the same weight as regional accreditation, it is accreditation. Second, Luther Rice is fine for a Baptist pastor who just wants to earn his Masters or Doctorate without leaving his full-time ministry. The TRACS accreditation will not be a problem for him. The accreditation issue will mainly be a problem for those who wish to enter fields in education or business. While some Baptist churches may only hire pastors who have accredited degrees, many do not.
     
  16. SBCPreacher

    SBCPreacher Active Member
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    Friend,

    Thou art misinformed. I have a degree from a non-accredited seminary. None of it was done online. All of it was done by listening to class lectures on tape (many hours for each class!!), doing the research, writing the papers, and taking the tests. Was it as beneficial as being in the classroom with others trying to learn the same things? No. I missed the interaction with the professors and the other students. Would I have rather finished my seminary at one of the SBC schools - ABSOLUTELY! But that was simply not an option for me. With a wife and four kids to feed, leaving my ministry to return to school was out of the question.

    Now, can I transfer my degree credits to an accredited seminary? probably not, but that really doesn't matter to me.

    Can I teach at an accredited school? Nope. But again, that doesn't matter to me.

    Can I effectively pastor my local church with the experience and education I have? Yep (and only because I have been called of God to pastor in His local church and He has equipped me for His calling).

    My suggestion:
    1. Don't go around knocking something you know very little about.
    2. Don't get caught up in the "my degree is better than your degree" game.
    3. Realize that the calling of God on one's life is far more important than where the letters behind the name came from.

    I'm done now. Go ahead, fire away!
     
  17. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Really, were you called of God to study where you did? Did you LEARN anything? Those years were certainly not wasted if they were spent in the center of God's will.

    For the pastor and Christian educator (Homeschool, Christian School, Sunday School) accreditation should not be a factor. Just who are you seeking approval from? Pray about it, seek God's face, and then follow his leading.

    There is no excuse for the 'problems' brought up by others on this thread. You should know if a degree program is accredited or not before you start. If you are planning on teaching in a public school or university then you know not to start an unaccredited program. There may be cases where schools misled prospective students about the value of their degree programs but you cannot blame them alone if the student failed to research the school before enrolling. If you are lead by God into a secular teaching position he will also lead you in the education you need for it.

    Distance education and non-accredited degrees offer many pastors and other Christians opportunities for education they could not receive any other way. I don't understand why they are so regularly attacked on BB. Just what are you accredited scholars afraid of? How does the fact that the pastor of some other church earned his degree online hurt you? I am in an unaccredited doctoral program and have been for about 4 years now. I am not trying to steal your job or cheapen your credentials. I just want to be the best servent of God I can be.

    You scholars need to come down out of your ivory towers and spend some time with us common folk. The average preacher in my part of the country has about 1 year of undergraduate Bible school and most of those are unaccredited. The really educated ones have associates degrees from fruitland or some other like institution. I know of one pastor in our county that actually attended an accredited seminary (New Orleans). I just don't see how one of those pastors signing up for an online class threatens you guys. I encourage my friends to take classes and learn stuff, it makes them better pastors.
     
  18. SBCPreacher

    SBCPreacher Active Member
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    I've served with more than one pastor with degrees from accredited seminaries (including the SBC's which I hold in the highest regard) that can't preach their way our of a paper bag, and are also poor pastors.

    Don't get me wrong. Seminary or Bible College training is important, but the degree - no matter where it comes from - doesn't make a man a pastor.
     
  19. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    The call of God is what makes a man a true pastor, but I believe he must honor that call by receiving a solid seminary training, which I believe is reflected best in accredited institutions.
     
  20. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    ==For me it is about helping people get the best education possible. That does not just mean enrolling in a program in which they can learn, but also enrolling in a program that can be a spring board for them in the future. Un-Accredited degrees limit a person's future educational and employment goals. Now, if their calling is to be a pastor then I suppose accreditation is not that big of a deal. As long as the unaccredited school is not pretending to be accredited when it really is not. No Christian should lend any sort of support to a dishonest institution.
     
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