If you’re considering Penn Foster accounting degree, expect an experience that is well below most of the other colleges and universities that we've been reviewing.
Penn Foster College, originally called the International Correspondence Schools, is known for providing job related training study as home courses. You receive your materials in the mail or online and study at your own pace.
Courses from Penn Foster are primarily focused on practical job training. Courses for medical transcription, information technology and high school completion are among the most popular with students. The Penn Foster accounting degree is no different.
Penn Foster offers a Certificate in Accounting that includes 31 credit hours of instruction and is completed entirely at your own pace. There’s no accountability, no schedule. Your learning depends on your own determination to succeed.
The program can be useful for students who want to expand their job skills and move into an accounting clerk or other entry level role in a business. If your duties have recently expanded to include some accounting tasks, Penn Foster’s course can give you an understanding of the reasons for those tasks. You can refresh or refine your existing accounting skills.
What this course of study won’t do is prepare you for a career in accounting beyond the entry level. Your credits won’t transfer easily to another institution either. However, you can transfer them to Penn Foster’s Associate in Accounting program.
The Associate in Accounting is also a self-paced, learn at home course. You will receive course materials and very little else. You don’t get much instructor interaction with a Penn Foster accounting degree. You’re on your own.
Penn Foster College is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. This sounds great in their advertising, but adds little value to your certificate or degree. You won’t be able to transfer your Penn Foster College credits to a traditional college or university.
In fact, your educational achievements at Penn Foster mean little outside of the organization. Prospective employers typically do not consider a certificate or degree from Penn Foster as a qualification for employment in accounting.
Since the learning experience is self-paced and effectively non-accredited for other colleges or universities, you will benefit from the information you teach yourself and the skills you gain in the process. These skills will help you with a prospective employer. Your degree or certificate will not.
What do graduates of Penn Foster say about the experience? The comments are not positive. Reviews of the academic quality are mixed. Some students found the work challenging and difficult. They wanted interaction with an instructor, but were unable to get help when they needed it.
Other students expected a college level academic experience and didn’t receive it. The courses are described as being high school level, easy to complete and not worth the investment. These students feel they’ve wasted their money.
Why the difference in opinion? Quite simply, there are no academic standards for enrollment at Penn Foster. Students may or may not have a good foundation academically. Those who did well in high school find the instruction inadequate. Those who struggled continue to struggle.
All are left to learn alone. The experience doesn’t improve when students graduate and being a job search. Since Penn
Foster is not respected by employers. tt doesn’t help graduates find a job. Instead, these graduates speak of leaving Penn Foster off of their job applications and resumes and try to demonstrate their knowledge in other ways.
So, who is satisfied with a Penn Foster accounting degree?
Students who want to learn some foundational accounting principles to help them on their current job seem pleased. Perhaps they came to the course with questions in mind and a framework to apply the answers. Maybe they were motivated by their work situation to make the most of the experience.
Penn Foster College offers limited training, no real instruction, and little real value for most students. At least, this is true in the accounting programs. While the school may provide a positive experience for students working on a high school diploma or entry level training, it’s not a real option for accounting.
If you are serious about a career in accounting, it’s seems fair to say that should look at alternatives to a Penn Foster College accounting degree.