An interview with Jennifer Miranda, a graduate of an Associates in Accounting program offered by University of Phoenix – Austin.

Q:  What program did you attend?

An Associates degree program in Accounting at the University of Phoenix. The program was based out of Austin, but I took the classes online.

Q:  How long was the program?

On average it runs 2 years. I took a year off in between so it took me 3 years.

Q:  Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

It was considered full time. You only take two classes, but because of the workload it is full time. Each class goes for nine weeks.

Q:  Were you happy with the training that you received?

I would have to say it was intermediate. I had some classes I received excellent training in, but then there were some classes that I did not feel like I learned anything. In those, everything was like grade school; the answers were there in front of me.  My core classes I virtually taught myself by going out and buying different books and learning the techniques through those.

Q:  What was the most difficult part of the program for you?

Really the whole interaction with the staff. My counselors were awesome and sometimes I felt bad for them because I would take out a lot on them. They were always very motivated, it just felt like a lot of times they had their hands tied.

Sometimes I couldn’t get a hold of my instructors online. I had one teacher flag me for plagiarism, but what had happened is that somebody else had posted the assignment a year prior, and the assignment required specific headings, so when you use those headings that she required those still pop up as plagiarized sections because they’re on the internet. I tried for three weeks to get a hold of her to talk about it.

Q:  About how many other students were in your classes?

On average there are 20-25 people in the classes, but you really only interact on the forums with about 8 that really take it serious.

Q:  What is your current career?

Right now I’m working part time at PetSmart.  I went on an accounting interview but was not selected.  There’s a lot that I still don’t know.  The program didn’t require any internship or externship. I wish it had. An Associates is not much in the work place these days. They often want you to have a Bachelors or 5 to 7 years experience.

Q:  What was the most important class/lesson from the program?

I learned about diversity and cultures and religions, that helped me understand different people. Also I learned a lot in leadership and management, things that make it easier for me to follow through and of course science courses I learned a lot in because I love science.

Q:  How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

$22,000. So far that’s what I’ve added up, they used more than one lender, so I’m not sure.

Q:  Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships?  Which ones?  Were these easy to obtain?

They helped with Pell grant money, not scholarships, I did try on my own but it never came my way. The only downfall is I didn’t get as much as I thought I would. I don’t know if my counselor didn’t know how much I was eligible because  they included my husband’s income, so I don’t know.

Q:  Were any of your classes online?

Yes my whole program was online, I did love that part.

Q:  Did you consider other programs?

Yes. First I wanted to do business management. When I went in they asked me if I was a number cruncher, things like that. I am good at things like that, so they talked me into going into accounting.

Q:  Did you consider other schools?

When I went back after taking a year off, I originally wanted to switch schools but I kept thinking I should just stick it out, plus I still owed money to the University of Phoenix.

Q:  Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?

I would for those who want the online convenience, I was able to log in at my own leisure and stay logged on however long I could, I loved that about it. The only thing I would say is before they get enrolled, be sure of what you want to go for. It’s very hard to transition. It’s not like a typical college where you can change your major five times. But if someone is dedicated it’s a good school.

Q:  For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job?  If so, what are they and what do they entail, and did you get them by the time you graduated?

The CPA, certified public accountant.  I still need to go take that test, but I’m dreading it.

Q:  Any other advice?

Just do your research and find the school that’s going to fit you, and that’s more geared to what you want, if it’s business geared, don’t go there if your going to be a teacher. Look at what schools that are good for that. Just because they offer a program doesn’t mean it’s good. Look at the classes you take and really ask if you’re going to use that in your career. I didn’t do my research, but I intend to do my research next time for my Bachelors to know where I want to go.

View a list of Accounting programs offered in Texas.