"Nobody won't honor it, they won't accept it. They won't take it nowhere. It's just like, you have a diploma or a certificate. It ain't worth nothin."
Fighting back tears, Jennifer Martineau told me how she took classes from an online university for an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. She didn't know those classes wouldn't transfer to local colleges and universities because of different accreditations.
"I had the transcript and took it with me and went and applied for a job. They hired me as a substitute childcare workers. And I worked for a couple weeks and got a paycheck and they fired me."
Martineau says they told her it was because she lacked the right accreditation.
"I said, but I studied in school. And they, like they don't believe me. They don't trust me. And I wrote letters to the school."
Martineau says she took four semesters of classwork and worked hard for the grades she earned. Both she and local university officials agree, before investing time and money college classes, students need to do their homework about course transferability.
Chuck Cantrell, "My word of advice is contact the institution that you're planning to transfer to, early, so that you'll know the classes you're taking will transfer."
Brittany Shaw, "Cantrell says a good school should ask what your long term goals are. If they don't, consider it a red flag."
Chuck Cantrell, "We do find that a lot of the online programs are not accredited and so we can't accept their credit."
But he says the consumer should educate themselves about accreditations before investing time and money... Sometimes even more money than you'd pay at a traditional school especially if, like Martinea, your courses don't count.
"If you're willing to put forth the effort to better your education and better your career chances, check with an accredited university and make sure that's the right direction."
Martineau says not checking ... Comes with a high price tag. "I spent most of my money. The thing cost six thousand dollars."