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Ray Hayden

Ray Hayden

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Bella and Linus

Bella and Linus




Ray's Master's Degree in Professional Development


My Master's Degree (2011): Amberton University

In 2009, I took the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) cold, and scored a lowly 148. Still, it was good enough to win a seat in not one, but five main stream law schools, and one of them - twice (the closest one to me, Nova - it is the only one of these that I applied to twice).

Did I mention that I am cheap? I'd like to think frugal, but the fact is that I hate to pay a dime over what a fair and reasonable price should be for anything. I do my research and I seek the best deal.

I applied for the law schools I thought I might like, and waited... While I waited, I got bored, as I do, and I decided that since the law schools don't start up until the fall of 2010, and it was just January of 2010 at that time, I decided I could earn a Graduate Certification, or two, before I began my law studies. With that, I applied for, and was accepted into Amberton University outside of Dallas, Texas. This school owns an office building, where they hold traditional courses, but they also have complete programs available online. The whole history can be found at: Amberton University History.

In March of 2010, I began working on the what ended up being three graduate level certifications (listed below). The original goal was to obtain one before law schools began, but the only affordable school close to me did not give me the nod (my LSAT was two or three points too low to get in there). With this wonderful news, I decided to re-apply for the 2011 cycle and complete my Master's Degree in Professional Development.

I chose Professional Development because it is a field in which I am excellent at, and this particular degree, at Amberton, allows me to mix and mingle my courses so that I may get the best value for my dollar - by choosing specific courses that I want.

I first noted that one of my courses would fulfill a requirement for more than one certification. Once I saw that, I figured that it might be true of more than one of these certifications. As it turned out, four of my courses met one requirement for at least two certifications. I was able to complete three certifications with just eight different courses. Two other courses had been selected because I wanted to take them, and the final two courses are required courses in research and ethics that everyone in this program would have to take.

I re-applied for some law schools again for the 2011 cycle, but once again found that I was getting bored. I had looked into alternative schools for some time, and decided to research the "California Option" of distance learning for legal education. The goal is to obtain the Juris Doctor degree. That is going to be another page on the site. This one is for how I completed my Master's Degree for less than $10,000 at Amberton University.

A note:

Amberton University had been an excellent opportunity. I highly recommend the school in general, and the Professional Development Program specifically, for those who do well in distance education.

With that, distance education is not easier than "in class" courses. A lot of people say, and I agree with them, that distance education is more difficult. This needs a little explaining.

The workload is supposed to be the same, and at the Master's Degree level, it is daunting. Amberton will not allow you to take more than three classes per semester without permission, and I would not recommend more than three per semester, the workload is incredible! The aspect of distance learning that makes it more difficult for most people is the absolute lack of the classroom environment. Everything we do via distance education is done at a time and place of our choosing - within a defined time limit.

For a classroom course, your mind is gearing up as you drive to school, for distance learning, you have to turn your mind on to what you are studying and get to work.

I agree with everyone who is of the opinion that it is more difficult, but the offset is in the ability to get work done when and where you can. Most of us who do not use traditional educational options do so because we cannot. For a plethora of reasons, we use distance learning because we need to. For most of us it is not an option, it is the only option.

You get no breaks from the professors and you are expected to accomplish the work. When you graduate, you will feel the effort was worth it, I know that for me, I certainly felt the achievement, and it was worth it!

Cost of this Degree:

This is the current tuition and fees page.

My final cost per course was $700 per course, not per credit. This breaks down to just over $233 per credit hour.

Books, for the Amberton program had not been all that costly.

My total cost for the Master of Arts in Professional Development program was less than $10,000. I graduated debt free because I paid cash as I went.

Master of Arts Degree - From Amberton's page on the Program:

Professional Development
The goal of the Master of Arts in Professional Development is to provide a broad based, interdisciplinary curriculum from the fields of business, communication, counseling, human behavior and human resources and training to meet the specific learning goals of the adult student. This degree program provides students with the opportunity of designing an interdisciplinary program of study that brings fields of inquiry together in unique combinations not otherwise offered as a program at the University. Graduates will use their unique program of study in a wide range of careers including management, team leadership, communication, and social sciences.

I. Required Graduate Studies: 6 Hours
RGS6035 Theory & Application of Research Methods 3 hours
RGS6036 Ethics for Decision Making 3 hours
II. Major Requirements: 30 Hours
Thirty (30) semester hours of graduate courses selected by the student from one or more of the following areas:
Business Administration
Communication
Counseling
Human Behavior and Development
Human Resources and Training
Psychology
Religion/Ethics
Sociology
III. Minimum Requirements:
24 semester hours applicable to the degree must be completed at Amberton University.
36 semester hours for a degree.
A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is required.

Certification in Change Management:

The Certificate of Completion in Change Management prepares students to take a leadership role while addressing positive and negative issues encountered by individuals, teams, and organizations as they move through the change process. Students successfully finishing the four courses not only complete the certificate but also earn twelve hours of graduate credit. This certificate is offered on the graduate level only and may be completed online.

Courses:
HBD6776 Leadership Theories and Practice

The course presents leadership development theories necessary for the challenges of today's organizations and for the rapidly changing work environment of the future. The course addresses current terminology, concepts, competencies, and attitudes to enable students to become leaders who accomplish extraordinary things in organizations while maintaining integrity and credibility.

HBD6771 Conflict Management and Resolution

The course presents a discussion of the nature of conflict and the origins and strategies used in managing conflict for productive results. Both interpersonal and intergroup conflicts are studied.

HRT6570 Leadership & Team Development

The course acquaints the student with processes to utilize interpersonal, conflict management, team building, and leadership skills to achieve objectives in a group. The primary objective of the course is to help students analyze the role of leadership and teams.

HRT6575 Organizational Change

The course presents concepts of spontaneous and planned changes within the organization and their influence on employee behavior and the organization's structure. Topics include change theories, managing change, strategic advantages and disadvantages of change, and planning change goals.

Certification in Conflict Management and Resolution:

The Certificate of Completion in Conflict Management and Resolution is designed for the business leader who seeks understanding of how to respond to conflicts within organizations, both on the individual and group levels. The certificate focuses on managing conflict, negotiating to resolution, and persuasive communication techniques. This certificate is offered on the graduate level only and successful completion of the program awards twelve graduate credits. This certification may be completed online.

Courses:
HBD6771 Conflict Management & Resolution

The course presents a discussion of the nature of conflict and the origins and strategies used in managing conflict for productive results. Both interpersonal and intergroup conflicts are studied.

MGT5193 Negotiation Skills for Managers

The course presents skills for a variety of negotiating situations: managing contracts, implementing change, making sales purchases, settling organizational conflicts, planning strategies, and achieving credibility.

COM5405 Persuasion

The course allows students to review the major theories of persuasion in addition to methods by which to apply the theories. Key topic areas include the psychology of persuasion, source credibility, motivational appeals, social campaigns, and propaganda.

HBD5173 Organizational Behavior

The course presents an integrated social science view of human behavior in organizations. Topics include inter-group relations, conflict in organizations, organization structure, work design, and the quality of work life.

Certification in Executive Leadership:

The Certificate of Completion in Executive Leadership provides students with those skills necessary to lead operational units across a broad organizational spectrum. The focus is on developing the talents required to advance competitiveness and motivate others to success. Students successfully finishing the four courses not only complete the certificate but also earn twelve hours of graduate credit. This certification is offered on the graduate level only and may be completed online.

Courses:
HBD6776 Leadership Theories and Practice

The course presents leadership development theories necessary for the challenges of today's organizations and for the rapidly changing work environment of the future. The course addresses current terminology, concepts, competencies, and attitudes to enable students to become leaders who accomplish extraordinary things in organizations while maintaining integrity and credibility.

HRT6570 Leadership & Team Development

The course acquaints the student with processes to utilize interpersonal, conflict management, team building, and leadership skills to achieve objectives in a group. The primary objective of the course is to help students analyze the role of leadership and teams.

HBD5741 Motivation

The course presents an in-depth examination of current issues on motivation and their application to real life situations. Topics include not only the theories of motivation but also goal setting, employee attachment, reward systems, employee attitudes, and the phenomenon of learned helplessness.

HBD5173 Organizational Behavior

The course presents an integrated social science view of human behavior in organizations. Topics include inter-group relations, conflict in organizations, organization structure, work design, and the quality of work life.