Are you in search of an accredited career college to help you build an in-demand career in fields like veterinary technology, HVAC, or medical coding? Then this Penn Foster College review is for you. It includes Penn Foster College accreditation info, the school’s top programs, and reviews to help you make an informed decision. We also provide key Penn Foster College ranking details.
College is expensive, and it’s helpful to know your ballpark costs. That’s why, in addition to the Penn Foster College cost of tuition, we’ve researched other costs that you can anticipate if you attend this online school, plus financial aid opportunities to ease the financial burden. We end with a look into the school’s most popular programs, and jobs you can pursue after graduation.
All About Penn Foster College
Penn Foster College, also known as Penn Foster Career School, is an online school that offers undergraduate college degrees, high school diplomas, and career training programs. Established in 1890 by Thomas J. Foster, the school has a long history in distance education.
Penn Foster’s college programs cover a wide variety of in-demand fields, including business management, medical billing, medical coding, education, criminal justice, design, healthcare, veterinary technology, and nutrition. Its unique high school program offers an online accredited education for those who never got their diploma and for parents looking for homeschooling help.
Its career schools offer industry-relevant curricula with ample education resources and hands-on experience to get you ready for a lucrative career. Prospective students can use the online school to become veterinary technicians, nutritionists, healthcare administrators, or automotive service professionals, among other professions.
Where Is Penn Foster College Located?
Penn Foster College is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a student services center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Penn Foster’s undergraduate education program is based in Scottsdale, where you can get an associate or a bachelor’s degree. Its Scottsdale location also offers career programs.
The Penn Foster high school program is based out of Scranton but is also available in Arizona. Although it has physical locations, Penn Foster College is best known for its robust online school, offering college courses and degrees, career programs, and a high school diploma education pathway.
Is Penn Foster College Accredited?
Yes, Penn Foster College is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC is recognized by the United States Department of Education. Penn Foster’s career school courses and programs also hold a separate regional accreditation, from the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
This regional accreditation also extends to the Penn Foster high school program, which holds additional accreditation by Cognia. The school’s associate degree vet tech program also holds an individual full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Is Penn Foster College Legit?
Yes, Penn Foster College is legit. It offers accredited undergraduate and career programs covering an array of lucrative fields. Its distance postsecondary education is also approved by the Arizona SARA Council for its inclusion in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
Furthermore, its online courses and programs are also approved by the American Council on Education’s college credit program. However, despite its program credibility, Penn Foster does not have the same reputation as traditional colleges. An associate degree or bachelor’s degree from a well-known private or public school will very likely carry more weight.
Penn Foster College Student Reviews
The student reviews of Penn Foster College on popular review platforms reflect a combination of negative and positive experiences. The negative reviews provide feedback on the school’s academics and online classes, plus its payment plans, billing, and student services.
The positive student reviews highlight Penn Foster’s hands-on experience, customer service, affordable payment plans, and individual school courses and programs. According to Indeed’s Penn Foster College review, the school has a 4.3-star rating out of five stars, from almost 200 reviews. The positive reviews mention its programs such as medical coding, vet tech, and HVAC.
The 215 student reviews on Grad Reports’ Penn Foster College page give the school three stars out of five and its positive reviews are balanced alongside bad reviews with negative comments. These include the poor curriculum and management of its vet tech program, bad website services, lack of proper student care services, and billing issues.
Penn Foster College Better Business Bureau Reviews and Complaints
Penn Foster College Better Business Bureau reviews and complaints highlight the school’s programs, costs, and overall experience. Its BBB business profile has not received a BBB accreditation, and customer reviews amount to a 1.93-star rating, out of five stars.
Penn Foster’s BBB business profile addressed 195 complaints in the past three years and 53 complaints in the past 12 months. Primary complaints highlighted that the school’s curriculum, study materials, and study guides are insufficient, making the programs a waste of time for these students.
Penn Foster College Rankings
Penn Foster College doesn’t hold many formal rankings. Although the school is nationally accredited and holds multiple regional, online, and individual program accreditations, this is not reflected on popular ranking websites.
Student feedback available through the school’s BBB business profile ranking, Indeed reviews, and other review sources can better help prospective students make an informed assessment of Penn Foster’s online classes and programs.
Penn Foster College US News & World Report Ranking
US News & World Report’s rankings do not include Penn Foster College at the national or regional level. There aren’t any specific programs recognized by US News either. However, Penn Foster’s US Department of Education accreditation and other recognized accreditations make its online classes and programs credible.
You can also check other university ranking metrics to measure the reputation of Penn Foster College. For example, according to Webometrics, Penn Foster College holds a world ranking of 6,333 and a country ranking of 1,090.
Penn Foster College Times Higher Education Ranking
Penn Foster College also does not hold a Times Higher Education ranking for any of its programs. However, do not let the lack of rankings for this online school deter you from considering its programs.
Its vet tech, business management, medical billing and coding, and other in-demand programs can help you build a successful career. Penn Foster also offers accommodating payment methods and affordable online classes to help you avoid accumulating massive student loans.
Penn Foster College Graduation Rate
Penn Foster College does not report an overall graduation rate for its online programs. However, its impressive student and alumni population of over 13 million is indicative of its solid programs and career success rates. Its student achievement reports highlight its success across its vet tech degree, pharmacy technician certificate, and medical billing programs.
Although the school has not released an official graduate report, its students’ career success offers valuable insights. For example, over 71 percent of its 2018 vet tech associate degree graduates passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam on their first try.
Penn Foster College Admissions
The admissions process and program-related requirements for online learning at Penn Foster College are pretty straightforward. You need to meet these minimal program and candidate eligibility requirements and have a credible payment method. The Penn Foster high school program requires prospective students to have passed the eighth grade.
The admissions requirements for Penn Foster’s career school and college programs vary from program to program. The minimum age requirement ranges from 14 to 17 years old, and you are required to have a high school diploma. Students wanting to enroll in Penn Foster College programs must submit an official high school transcript or the equivalent to prove their high school graduation.
Penn Foster College Acceptance Rate
The acceptance rate of Penn Foster College is nearly 100 percent as it has an open-admission policy and minimal program requirements. This provides a great opportunity for those looking to complete their high school education online or earn a degree and jumpstart their career.
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Depending on your preference you can enroll online, via phone, or by mail. Penn Foster’s medical billing and coding certificates, veterinary degrees and programs, and business management programs can serve as great career starters.
Will You Get Into Penn Foster College?
Yes, you will get into Penn Foster College. The easy enrollment process almost guarantees your acceptance into its programs. The enrollment requirements for high school diploma candidates are incredibly easy, too, with just an eighth-grade education necessary.
Penn Foster’s college degrees, certificate programs, and career school programs have specific admissions requirements. You need to submit your official transcripts and proof of monthly tuition payment methods to get in.
How to Apply to Penn Foster College
- Find your Penn Foster program. The first step in applying to Penn Foster College is to choose a program that best suits your career goals. You can choose from its medical coding classes, pharmacy technician program, or business management or vet tech degrees.
- Gather the required documents. Depending on your program, you’ll need to submit either your eighth-grade report or your official high school transcript, and possibly other documents.
- Choose your enrollment method. Penn Foster College allows its prospective students to enroll online, by phone, or by mail. Once your enrollment form is received, you will receive a welcome email and your student ID number.
- Call to discuss your payment plan. Once you have enrolled in a program, you need to get in touch with the school’s admissions team to finalize your payment plan. You might need to submit a credit report, enroll in monthly payments, or provide your credit card as a payment method.
- Check for further payment assistance plans. The last step is to check if you qualify for any additional payment assistance plans. For example, Penn Foster College offers zero-interest monthly tuition payment plans and military tuition assistance benefits.
Penn Foster College Cost
|Expense||Penn Foster College Cost|
|Penn Foster College Undergraduate In-State Tuition and Fees||Total program costs range from about $699 to $6,000, or as low as $39 per month|
|Penn Foster College Undergraduate Out-of-State Tuition and Fees||N/A|
|Penn Foster College Graduate In-State Tuition and Fees||N/A|
|Penn Foster College Graduate Out-of-State Tuition and Fees||N/A|
|Penn Foster College Books and Supplies||Digital textbooks and study guides included in program cost|
|Penn Foster College On-Campus Room and Board||N/A|
|Penn Foster College Off-Campus Room and Board||N/A|
Penn Foster College offers ample affordable undergraduate degree and certificate programs that can cost as little as $39 to $79 per month. You can opt for its zero-interest monthly tuition payment plan to fund your associate or bachelor’s degree.
The tuition costs for this school are relatively inexpensive and can help you get an accredited education in business, technology, healthcare, education, automotive, and other fields. Enrolling in an online program, instead of an on-campus one, will further save you money on relocation costs, in-person fees, and other mandatory fees.
Cost of Living in Scottsdale, Arizona
The cost of living in Scottsdale, Arizona, is 15 percent higher than the national average, according to PayScale data. The city’s housing cost is 42 percent higher than the national average, making it a relatively expensive location. However, you can avoid Scottsdale’s high housing costs by enrolling in Penn Foster College’s online programs.
For those of you who are interested in exploring beyond Penn Foster’s undergraduate subject areas, Scottsdale Community College might be the school for you.
Penn Foster College Financial Aid
Penn Foster College does not accept FAFSA benefits or other federal financial aid. It also offers fewer financial aid opportunities compared to other undergraduate private or public schools. However, its low tuition rates and zero-interest and other monthly payment plans help compensate for the lack of federal financial aid offerings.
Penn Foster’s monthly payment plans range between $39 and $79, with zero interest charged. You can complete your high school education by paying just $50 per month. The school also offers undergraduate degrees in accounting, veterinary, HVAC, business, and medical fields for as little as $1,099 per semester.
Penn Foster College Scholarships
Penn Foster College does not offer scholarships for any of its online or on-campus programs. It also does not accept any federal grants or federal loans for its undergraduate degrees or career certificate programs. However, it offers educational assistance benefits to its military students.
Penn Foster’s military benefits programs are offered to veterans and active-duty military personnel. The school falls under the Victory Media-designated Military Friendly online school program. It offers the Montgomery GI Bill, Veterans Educational Assistance Program, Post-9/11 GI Bill, MyCAA, Army Credentialing Assistance, and the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistant Program.
Although the financial aid opportunities for its civilian students aren’t as extensive, Penn Foster’s payment plans help make students’ financial journey an easy one. The zero-interest payment plans also extend to textbooks and other supply expenses. Its low per-month and semester costs also allow students to get a good education at an affordable rate.
Penn Foster College Graduate Salaries and Outcomes
Penn Foster College does not report any official statistics for its graduates’ salaries and outcomes. However, the school’s website includes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows, for example, that $36,200 is the average salary for graduates with a business management associate degree and certificates in the US.
Its undergraduate degrees and certificates can help you land a job in healthcare, education, technology, HVAC, medical coding, or accounting fields. You can use the school’s career services to increase your chances of job placement.
Penn Foster College Notable Alumni
The number of current students and alumni of Penn Foster College totals 13 million individuals, and among them are some notable alumni. One example is Tiffany Brown, a graduate of the Penn Foster’s dental assistant program. After finishing school, Brown volunteered along with others at the New Mexico Mission of Mercy clinic to help 952 dental patients for free.
Just like Brown, several Penn Foster College graduates have built successful and aspiring careers.
Penn Foster College Campus Life
The benefits of a fruitful campus life at Penn Foster College are, for the most part, delivered digitally, as the majority of its students enroll in online programs. The college has a regularly updated student life blog that discusses career outcomes, school news, and academic success tips.
Penn Foster also has a robust military educational assistance program that offers resources and financial aid to its veteran and military students. Its 24/7 live tutoring service also makes online campus life seamless.
Penn Foster College Academics
Penn Foster College academic programs are in the medical, HVAC, education, veterinary, business, and accounting fields. You can get an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, certificate, career diploma, or a high school diploma at Penn Foster.
The school fits in among the most affordable online colleges that can help you become a dental assistant, a residential electrician, an IT support specialist, an accountant, or a medical coder. It offers various online programs in 11 in-demand areas of study.
Penn Foster College Colleges and Departments
|School or Department Name||Available Program Examples|
|Penn Foster College||Accounting Associate Degree|
|Penn Foster College||Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management|
|Penn Foster College||Computer Programming Certificate|
|Penn Foster College||Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice|
|Penn Foster High School||Online High School Diploma|
|Penn Foster College||Associate Degree in Veterinary Technician|
|Penn Foster Career College||Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma|
|Penn Foster Career College||Dental Assistant Career Diploma|
Penn Foster College Faculty
The faculty members at Penn Foster College haven’t received many online reviews. According to Rate My Professors, Penn Foster College faculty score an overall rating of 2.5 stars out of five, but only one review was provided. LinkedIn offers a few statistics on Penn Foster faculty, including that their average tenure is 4.4 years.
Popular Penn Foster College Majors
Popular Penn Foster College majors are in business management, accounting, veterinary, dental assistance, criminal justice, and computer information systems subjects. In these areas, you can get an associate or a bachelor’s degree or get a career diploma to advance your professional goals. Below are the top five majors at Penn Foster College.
Penn Foster College Associate Degree in Accounting
Penn Foster College is popular for its accounting associate degree program, which helps students build lucrative careers in finance and accounting. This seven-month degree is offered for $1,499 per semester and covers financial data, intermediate accounting, and financial statement analytics.
Penn Foster College Associate Degree in Accounting Jobs
- Accounting clerk. An accounting clerk works under accountants and is responsible for billing processing, maintaining financial records, and other general accounting tasks. You can use this accounting degree to gain the basic knowledge needed to advance in the accounting world.
- Billing specialist. A billing specialist works in an organization’s billing department and is responsible for tallying transactions and balancing accounts.
- Accounting assistant. An accounting assistant, just as the name implies, assists senior accountants in budgeting, payroll, records management, and other accounting tasks.
Penn Foster College Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems
This computer information systems associate degree is for students looking to get a foundational to intermediate background in networking and systems administration. You can complete it in six months and learn Java programming, database technology, HTML, computer applications, and network administration.
Penn Foster College Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems Jobs
- Network support specialist. A network support specialist works in the information technology and data communications department. They assist an organization’s customers or employees, or both, in troubleshooting any networking issues.
- Computer support specialist. Similar to a network support specialist, a computer support specialist also works in the IT department. They aid the business’s customers or employees with their computer issues.
- Network administrator. A network administrator is an entry-level IT technician who is responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining an organization’s computer networks.
Penn Foster College Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
This Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice can open up career possibilities in the criminal law, police, social work, and education sectors. The online degree requires 121 credit hours, which can be completed in eight semesters.
Penn Foster College Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Jobs
- Police officer. Police officers are in charge of upholding the country’s judicial systems by responding to dangerous incidents in their communities. They also help solve crimes by collecting evidence and performing other related duties.
- Private investigator. A criminal justice degree will provide you with investigation, criminal law, criminal profiling, and evidence collection skills. These skills will qualify you for a private investigator position.
- Correctional officer. A correctional officer is responsible for custody processing and regulation for criminals. They typically work in prisons and are responsible for management of the inmates.
Penn Foster College Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma
This medical billing and coding career diploma will prepare you for the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist, Certified Billing Specialist, and Coding Associate professional certification exams. Its curriculum covers medical coding guidelines, patient record management, and electronic health records software.
Penn Foster College Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma Jobs
- Medical coder. A medical coder works in the healthcare and clinical fields and is responsible for analyzing clinical and patient data. This career diploma will equip you with the healthcare system skills needed to land this coding job.
- Medical billing specialist. A medical billing specialist is also a coding professional who is responsible for managing daily patient records, billing, and insurance claims. This job requires accounting, medical coding, and healthcare information management skills.
- Inpatient coder. Inpatient coders are responsible for processing, analyzing, and auditing patient data files. Penn Foster’s career diploma program will train you to ace professional medical coder certification exams.
Penn Foster College High School Diploma
Having a high school diploma or a GED is one of the most common requirements for most jobs. Penn Foster College offers an online, flexible high school diploma program for students who have passed the eighth grade. If you want to increase your earning power by completing your high school education, this self-paced program could be for you.
Penn Foster College High School Diploma Jobs
- Customer support specialist. If your goal is to become a customer service manager, a high school diploma can help kickstart that career. You can apply for customer support specialist jobs after getting your high school degree and climb the career ladder.
- Office assistant. Depending on the workplace and specific job, an office assistant’s role can involve calendar management and other personal task management. You can use your high school diploma to qualify for certificate, degree, or career diploma programs covering legal, executive, dental, or medical assistant fields.
- HVAC Technician. HVAC technician training programs require you to possess a high school diploma or a GED, so Penn Foster’s online diploma can be a first step in launching your career in the HVAC industry.
Is Penn Foster College Worth It?
Yes, Penn Foster College is worth it for those looking for a flexible and affordable short-term education. You can prepare for a career in business, accounting, medical coding, or design fields or as a veterinary technician. However, if you are looking for a highly reputable and recognized college, then Penn Foster College would not be the right choice for you.
Penn Foster College Review FAQ
Yes, Penn Foster College is legit. It holds a national accreditation and a regional accreditation from governing bodies.
Penn Foster College offers career diploma, certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and high school diploma programs. You can get an education in business, computer programming, accounting, healthcare management, education, or veterinary health.
You can get an online high school diploma at Penn Foster High School if you have at least an eighth-grade education. That is the only requirement for admission into the diploma program.
The top programs offered at Penn Foster College are its Associate Degree in Accounting, Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems, and Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma. Other popular programs include veterinary health and technology, dental assistance, and criminal justice subjects.
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