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  1. #1
    jetmech68 is offline Minor Noble
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    Hello Everybody,

    I am Jack Thomas and this is my first post. After poking around in the forum and getting as much information as I could possibly get, I now have decided it is time to kick it into gear and get my degree finished. Where to start? I am in the Air Force Reserve now for 18 years. I'm getting close to the finish line. In my civilian career, I am a licensed aircraft mechanic (Airframe & Powerpant) and I started working as a mechanic in the mid 1990's in Illinois. Hence, that is where I grew up.

    I now live in Texas and today I am a Quality Engineer without a degree. I've had to let a lot of good paying jobs go the wayside because I don't have it yet. I have tried to get into Embry Riddle to take classes, but everytime I do there is a hang-up somewhere.

    After probing the forums, and finding more about InstantCert and Straighterline, I now am excited to get this started and finished. I have chosen Thomas Edison for my Bachelor program. They have a B.S. in Aviaition Maintenance Technology. I have 98 sem. hours at CCAF at this time. I lack three classes from having the A.A.S. Aircraft Maintenance Technology degree. Of course, they are College Algebra, Humanities and Speech. With that being said, not having the Associate Degree is keeping me from being promotable to SMS/E-8.

    My goal is to get this done in less than a year. I am away from my family and have lots of quiet study time in the evenings. I've been dreading all the boring classes that don't amount to squat, but I know I have to do them. I am going to try and CLEP/DSST as many classes as I can. Math is my weakest, therefore, I may have to take the straighterline course.

    Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.


    Jack Thomas
    Last edited by ShotoJuku; 11-28-2011 at 05:28 PM. Reason: Broken down into paragraphs..

  2. #2
    rebel100's Avatar
    rebel100 is offline King / Queen
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    You could finish that AA/AS in a month or two. Either TESC or COSC would work. There are a couple of 3 ways you can get it done quick, and it sounds like that is a sensible priority.

    I would give aleks a try as College Algebra from them satisfies the requirement and it might be easier than you think (some folks love it, some like me just never make it work)....but you could start tonight if you liked and a 3 day trial is free, and its only $20 a month if you decide to try it in earnest. I did like straighterline a lot better, it to is completely self paced. Can be worked through in a few weeks at most. You are planning to finish tis up at one of the Big 3 right? I am unaware if CCAF takes Straighterline or aleks, I bet they do not.

    You can study with IC and the specific feedback forum to pass Humanities, there may be other options that fulfill the Hum requirement that are easier to test out of than the Hum clep. COSC list the following that should work.

    Humanities
    Art
    Advanced Writing
    Communication
    Dance
    Film
    Foreign Languages
    Journalism
    Literature
    Music
    Philosophy
    Photography
    Religion
    Speech
    Theater

    For example the DSST "world religions" should fit the bill. Are you familiar with Free Clep Prep.com They have a great difficulty list and exam desciptions to help you choose. Be sure what you are testing will fit the bill.

    BYU has a speech class that has come highly recomended. BYU Independent Study - Online Courses kinda pricey at about $479 but gets the job done quick and relatively painless.....if I recall correctly the post about it mentioned completing it within 3-4 weeks.

    COSC might be a better choice for the AA/AS as they have changed their pricing structure and as such might be a cheaper choice to put that degree to rest. Charter Oak State College - Finish Your Degree Online your gonna have to take a look, maybe make some calls and see whats right for you. They will however require the cornerstone course .... so maybe not cheap enough, worth looking into though.

    I think TESC is a great choice for the bachelors, they have the program you need. In fact if you can pull it all together within a year under the same initial fee the cost savings with COSC would likely be negated.....and it would make sense to choose TESC form the outset.

    Just as an aside, Eastern New Mexico Univ has a fully online Aviation degree. Aviation Science might help with specific UL aviation classes you need, or you may want to see what finishing up there would entail. they require about 30 hours through them to earn the degree from them, but they have a two class out of state tuition reduction going on that makes classes pretty attractive. Being in the military they may extend in state tuition to you anyway (they grant that to residents of certain parts of Texas too).

    Aim high!

    Reb
    Last edited by rebel100; 11-27-2011 at 09:58 PM.
    MBA, Western Governors University February 2014
    BS Charter Oak State College November 2011
    AS in EMS August 2010

  3. #3
    dcan is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Howdy, very similar position to you, but I'm Active. I have three words for your math requirement: ALEKS ALEKS ALEKS

    That is a fantastic system, IMO. In the past three months with ALEKS I've completed College Algebra, Trigonometry, and I'm almost through Intro to Stats now. I did this at the same time I took a course at TESC. Additionally, ALEKS Trig counts as my pre-cal credit at TESC so that plus stats completes my entire math requirement there. There are no timed tests, only assessments that you have an unlimited amount of time to complete. Once you assess at 70% complete with ALEKS that is good enough for TESC, just put it on your ACE transcript and move on. Once you have all the math you need/can get from ALEKS on your ACE transcript, pay ACE the $20-40 (can't recall specifically) to send it to TESC and you get the credits. Personally, I actually studied the material and learned it as I went, though I understand "some people" have found "other" ways to answer the questions. I think one person did all their math in a weekend like that.

    Unfortunately this won't help you in the CCAF department, which is what you need for E-8. They won't take Straighterline either. CCAF will accept the math CLEPs and DSSTs though, or a college class. I highly recommend you consider the College Math CLEP, it is worth 6 credits and at TESC is equivalent to General Math 102 and 103 to give you an idea of the difficulty. Of course, "general math" at the college level involves functions, graphs, systems of equations, combinations/permutations (basic counting principles), very basic logic, very basic sets, very basic probability, and some statistics, but really it's pretty easy to learn what you need. I took this back in August and way over-studied (and over-stressed) and when I went to take the actual test it was a complete joke. The Peterson's College Math CLEP book combined with Khan Academy (to learn the sets, logic, and probability pieces) will definitely prepare you for this test. Personally I just skipped over the stats questions entirely, picked a random guess and moved on. There were only a couple I think on the whole test, but there were several on probability and combinations/permutations as well as sets and logic. The rest was mostly algebra and basic geometry.

    Humanities you can knock out with the Analyzing & Interpreting Literature CLEP. I way over-studied for this one as well, but I'm glad I did, because when I took the test it too was a complete joke, at least to me and most others who take it. YMMV when it comes to "analyzing literature" but it's very very straightforward, no "gotcha" questions, at least on the (pencil and paper) test I took six months back.

    The Speech DSST is pretty simple too. I bought two very used textbooks from Amazon and read through them, then took the test. First part is written (hence the textbooks). For the second part you are given a topic, given ten minutes to prepare an outline, and then you give a 3-5 minute speech into a tape recorder in an empty room. You don't even have to stand up. The topics are very general (very similar to the SAT/CLEP essay prompts, examples here and here). Personally I think the advice on writing a "fast-food essay" for SAT prep is very applicable to this type of speech as well. You aren't making a Nobel acceptance speech, you are being graded on your ability to adhere to basic mechanics and a basic outline (intro, body, conclusion, transitions, etc).

    BTW if you are just looking to complete your CCAF first you can also opt to just take the classes needed through the AU-ABC program. You can find it on the AF Portal under the AFVEC.

    I think you will find this way of knocking down your credit requirements will be very fulfilling. If I go back to early August (when I took the College Math CLEP), in the past four months I've gotten 18 credits, in the same time I would normally have gotten only 3 from taking "real" classes. This is a pretty amazing way to go.

    Also, don't forget you can rack up two associate's degrees from TESC on your way to the bachelor's, so you could do the following:

    1. CCAF degree
    2. TESC AA or AS
    3. TESC AAS in Environmental, Safety, and Security Services (just take a bunch of free FEMA courses online!)
    4. TESC BS


    Each one will only run you an extra $275 or so in grad costs I believe. I plan to pick up the AAS on my way to getting my BSBA. Also, since you work in the field, TESC has an ASAST in Aviation Maintenance Technology you can check out, but it may be functionally similar to your CCAF so you may want to go with a more general AA or AS degree. There are also AAS degrees in many different fields that you may be able to slot your credits into as well, can't hurt to check it out. The more the merrier!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by dcan; 11-28-2011 at 11:53 AM.
    rebel100 likes this.

    Goal: TESC BA Computer Science (switched from BSBA CIS)

    After completing all but 4 gen eds for the BSBA, in June 2013 I switched to BA CS to go full-STEM and due to life and career I am now slow-rolling it taking 1-2 courses per semester until complete. Current ETA Fall 2014.

    Completed:
    AAS Computer Science, CCAF
    CLEP: A&I Lit, CCM, College Math, Fin Acc, Marketing, Mgmt, Microecon
    DSST: Public Speaking, Business Ethics, Finance
    ALEKS: College Algebra, Trig, Stats
    Classes: ENC-102, LAW-201, ECO-111, ACC-102, LIB-495, COS-213, COS-241

    Next: Computer Architecture, Calc I

    Remaining:
    CLEP: 3x gen eds
    Classes: Calc I/II, Discrete Math, Operating Systems, Capstone

    Wife & step-son pursuing state emergency management certification & Big 3 options.

    Newbies Links (READ) (READ)
    Unofficial Community-Supported DegreeForum Wiki (link approved by forum admin)

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  4. #4
    jetmech68 is offline Minor Noble
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel100 View Post
    You could finish that AA/AS in a month or two. Either TESC or COSC would work. There are a couple of 3 ways you can get it done quick, and it sounds like that is a sensible priority.

    I would give aleks a try as College Algebra from them satisfies the requirement and it might be easier than you think (some folks love it, some like me just never make it work)....but you could start tonight if you liked and a 3 day trial is free, and its only $20 a month if you decide to try it in earnest. I did like straighterline a lot better, it to is completely self paced. Can be worked through in a few weeks at most. You are planning to finish tis up at one of the Big 3 right? I am unaware if CCAF takes Straighterline or aleks, I bet they do not.

    You can study with IC and the specific feedback forum to pass Humanities, there may be other options that fulfill the Hum requirement that are easier to test out of than the Hum clep. COSC list the following that should work.

    Humanities
    Art
    Advanced Writing
    Communication
    Dance
    Film
    Foreign Languages
    Journalism
    Literature
    Music
    Philosophy
    Photography
    Religion
    Speech
    Theater

    For example the DSST "world religions" should fit the bill. Are you familiar with Free Clep Prep.com They have a great difficulty list and exam desciptions to help you choose. Be sure what you are testing will fit the bill.

    BYU has a speech class that has come highly recomended. BYU Independent Study - Online Courses kinda pricey at about $479 but gets the job done quick and relatively painless.....if I recall correctly the post about it mentioned completing it within 3-4 weeks.

    COSC might be a better choice for the AA/AS as they have changed their pricing structure and as such might be a cheaper choice to put that degree to rest. Charter Oak State College - Finish Your Degree Online your gonna have to take a look, maybe make some calls and see whats right for you. They will however require the cornerstone course .... so maybe not cheap enough, worth looking into though.

    I think TESC is a great choice for the bachelors, they have the program you need. In fact if you can pull it all together within a year under the same initial fee the cost savings with COSC would likely be negated.....and it would make sense to choose TESC form the outset.

    Just as an aside, Eastern New Mexico Univ has a fully online Aviation degree. Aviation Science might help with specific UL aviation classes you need, or you may want to see what finishing up there would entail. they require about 30 hours through them to earn the degree from them, but they have a two class out of state tuition reduction going on that makes classes pretty attractive. Being in the military they may extend in state tuition to you anyway (they grant that to residents of certain parts of Texas too).

    Aim high!

    Reb
    Rebel,

    Thanks for the information. I have looked into ENMU and I live within the radius to get the in-state tuition rate. I need to knock out my Gen Ed classes and I don't want to have to only take two classes at a time. It will take forever to finish a degree that way. They said 2-3 years. I don't want to take that long of a period to get it finished because I'm afraid I wont get it done. Also, after speaking with them, they said they are trying to get a Master's program going in that feild also. If anytime is to be taken on a degree that is the one I need to spend time. I just have to come up with a plan and follow it. My oldest just started college. I need to prove to her she is spending countless hours and money just to sit in a classroom. However, I will take your other suggestions and plug them into my plan. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

    Jack

  5. #5
    jetmech68 is offline Minor Noble
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcan View Post
    Howdy, very similar position to you, but I'm Active. I have three words for your math requirement: ALEKS ALEKS ALEKS

    That is a fantastic system, IMO. In the past three months with ALEKS I've completed College Algebra, Trigonometry, and I'm almost through Intro to Stats now. I did this at the same time I took a course at TESC. Additionally, ALEKS Trig counts as my pre-cal credit at TESC so that plus stats completes my entire math requirement there. There are no timed tests, only assessments that you have an unlimited amount of time to complete. Once you assess at 70% complete with ALEKS that is good enough for TESC, just put it on your ACE transcript and move on. Once you have all the math you need/can get from ALEKS on your ACE transcript, pay ACE the $20-40 (can't recall specifically) to send it to TESC and you get the credits. Personally, I actually studied the material and learned it as I went, though I understand "some people" have found "other" ways to answer the questions. I think one person did all their math in a weekend like that.

    Unfortunately this won't help you in the CCAF department, which is what you need for E-8. They won't take Straighterline either. CCAF will accept the math CLEPs and DSSTs though, or a college class. I highly recommend you consider the College Math CLEP, it is worth 6 credits and at TESC is equivalent to General Math 102 and 103 to give you an idea of the difficulty. Of course, "general math" at the college level involves functions, graphs, systems of equations, combinations/permutations (basic counting principles), very basic logic, very basic sets, very basic probability, and some statistics, but really it's pretty easy to learn what you need. I took this back in August and way over-studied (and over-stressed) and when I went to take the actual test it was a complete joke. The Peterson's College Math CLEP book combined with Khan Academy (to learn the sets, logic, and probability pieces) will definitely prepare you for this test. Personally I just skipped over the stats questions entirely, picked a random guess and moved on. There were only a couple I think on the whole test, but there were several on probability and combinations/permutations as well as sets and logic. The rest was mostly algebra and basic geometry.

    Humanities you can knock out with the Analyzing & Interpreting Literature CLEP. I way over-studied for this one as well, but I'm glad I did, because when I took the test it too was a complete joke, at least to me and most others who take it. YMMV when it comes to "analyzing literature" but it's very very straightforward, no "gotcha" questions, at least on the (pencil and paper) test I took six months back.

    The Speech DSST is pretty simple too. I bought two very used textbooks from Amazon and read through them, then took the test. First part is written (hence the textbooks). For the second part you are given a topic, given ten minutes to prepare an outline, and then you give a 3-5 minute speech into a tape recorder in an empty room. You don't even have to stand up. The topics are very general (very similar to the SAT/CLEP essay prompts, examples here and here). Personally I think the advice on writing a "fast-food essay" for SAT prep is very applicable to this type of speech as well. You aren't making a Nobel acceptance speech, you are being graded on your ability to adhere to basic mechanics and a basic outline (intro, body, conclusion, transitions, etc).

    BTW if you are just looking to complete your CCAF first you can also opt to just take the classes needed through the AU-ABC program. You can find it on the AF Portal under the AFVEC.

    I think you will find this way of knocking down your credit requirements will be very fulfilling. If I go back to early August (when I took the College Math CLEP), in the past four months I've gotten 18 credits, in the same time I would normally have gotten only 3 from taking "real" classes. This is a pretty amazing way to go.

    Also, don't forget you can rack up two associate's degrees from TESC on your way to the bachelor's, so you could do the following:

    1. CCAF degree
    2. TESC AA or AS
    3. TESC AAS in Environmental, Safety, and Security Services (just take a bunch of free FEMA courses online!)
    4. TESC BS


    Each one will only run you an extra $275 or so in grad costs I believe. I plan to pick up the AAS on my way to getting my BSBA. Also, since you work in the field, TESC has an ASAST in Aviation Maintenance Technology you can check out, but it may be functionally similar to your CCAF so you may want to go with a more general AA or AS degree. There are also AAS degrees in many different fields that you may be able to slot your credits into as well, can't hurt to check it out. The more the merrier!

    Good luck!
    dcan,

    Wow so much information. Thank you so much. I will need to come up with a good plan and follow it. It sucks that I won't be able to use the ALEKS or Straighterline for my math credits. If I had TESC put it on a transcript would CCAF take it then? I'm sure that question has been asked already. I will look into the College Math Clep if not. I have plenty of time to study at night. Speech will be a breeze for me as I have a gift for gab as my wife tells me. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will get my plan together and get started. I would like to be done with my BS in one year or less. 18 credits in four months is amazing. That is why I am here now.

    Jack

  6. #6
    dcan is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetmech68 View Post
    Also, after speaking with them, they said they are trying to get a Master's program going in that feild also. If anytime is to be taken on a degree that is the one I need to spend time. I just have to come up with a plan and follow it.
    Yes, absolutely. You can't test out of a master's, and if the school doesn't care about how you got your bachelor's (most don't anyway) then screw it, get that sucker out of the way as soon as possible and move on to the real deal.

    Goal: TESC BA Computer Science (switched from BSBA CIS)

    After completing all but 4 gen eds for the BSBA, in June 2013 I switched to BA CS to go full-STEM and due to life and career I am now slow-rolling it taking 1-2 courses per semester until complete. Current ETA Fall 2014.

    Completed:
    AAS Computer Science, CCAF
    CLEP: A&I Lit, CCM, College Math, Fin Acc, Marketing, Mgmt, Microecon
    DSST: Public Speaking, Business Ethics, Finance
    ALEKS: College Algebra, Trig, Stats
    Classes: ENC-102, LAW-201, ECO-111, ACC-102, LIB-495, COS-213, COS-241

    Next: Computer Architecture, Calc I

    Remaining:
    CLEP: 3x gen eds
    Classes: Calc I/II, Discrete Math, Operating Systems, Capstone

    Wife & step-son pursuing state emergency management certification & Big 3 options.

    Newbies Links (READ) (READ)
    Unofficial Community-Supported DegreeForum Wiki (link approved by forum admin)

    Testing Overview | Exam Resources | Test-Specific Feedback (IC subscribers only)

  7. #7
    rebel100's Avatar
    rebel100 is offline King / Queen
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    I wasn't necesarilly promoting a degree from ENMU, just pointing it out as a unique opportunity and a way to pick up some ul aviation courses. 4 classes taken at discount should equal an area of focus. That could be done by the end of summer.
    Last edited by rebel100; 11-28-2011 at 07:19 PM.
    MBA, Western Governors University February 2014
    BS Charter Oak State College November 2011
    AS in EMS August 2010

  8. #8
    jetmech68 is offline Minor Noble
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel100 View Post
    I wasn't necesarilly promoting a degree from ENMU, just pointing it out as a unique opportunity and a way to pick up some ul aviation courses. 4 classes taken at discount should equal an area of focus. That could be done by the end of summer.
    Reb,

    I know where you were coming from. I apologize if I sounded arrogant. There are not many schools out there that offers aerospace/aviation degrees on the maintenance side. As I have read in the forum most will attend several schools before obtaining a degree. I have attended four Community Colleges already. Not to mention working 60 hours a week sometimes 72 hours. Makes it a little difficult but when I was in Iraq I watched my comrades work 12 hour shifts and go to school. Its a sacrifice that one has to make if they want it bad enough. For me, I am away from my family 300 days out of the year. After reading dcan post if I can obtain any other degree while on the way to getting the one I want, well that will help too. I wont necessarily have to bank on the aerospace industry for other work. Even though it is still going strong with the economy in the dumps.

    JT
    Last edited by jetmech68; 11-28-2011 at 07:51 PM.

  9. #9
    dcan is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Do you have an FAA cert? This site will show you what certifications you may be eligible for. You will still have to go through training/etc but this is a nice list of civilian certifications that match up to your specific AFSC. May be something you can look into outside/in addition to a college degree. I know CCAF has done some coordination with the FAA regarding Airfram & Powerplant certifications, but I'm not sure on the details. This A&P site has more info on the A&P program.

    Goal: TESC BA Computer Science (switched from BSBA CIS)

    After completing all but 4 gen eds for the BSBA, in June 2013 I switched to BA CS to go full-STEM and due to life and career I am now slow-rolling it taking 1-2 courses per semester until complete. Current ETA Fall 2014.

    Completed:
    AAS Computer Science, CCAF
    CLEP: A&I Lit, CCM, College Math, Fin Acc, Marketing, Mgmt, Microecon
    DSST: Public Speaking, Business Ethics, Finance
    ALEKS: College Algebra, Trig, Stats
    Classes: ENC-102, LAW-201, ECO-111, ACC-102, LIB-495, COS-213, COS-241

    Next: Computer Architecture, Calc I

    Remaining:
    CLEP: 3x gen eds
    Classes: Calc I/II, Discrete Math, Operating Systems, Capstone

    Wife & step-son pursuing state emergency management certification & Big 3 options.

    Newbies Links (READ) (READ)
    Unofficial Community-Supported DegreeForum Wiki (link approved by forum admin)

    Testing Overview | Exam Resources | Test-Specific Feedback (IC subscribers only)

  10. #10
    jetmech68 is offline Minor Noble
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcan View Post
    Do you have an FAA cert? This site will show you what certifications you may be eligible for. You will still have to go through training/etc but this is a nice list of civilian certifications that match up to your specific AFSC. May be something you can look into outside/in addition to a college degree. I know CCAF has done some coordination with the FAA regarding Airfram & Powerplant certifications, but I'm not sure on the details. This A&P site has more info on the A&P program.
    Thanks dcan! I appreciate the sites, however, I have the A&P since 1991. These credits have been on my CCAF transcript for sometime now.

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