American Sentinel University appears in our ranking of the 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Health Informatics Online 2018.
American Sentinel University is an online educational institution that focuses solely on healthcare and offers degree programs designed to further the careers of working healthcare professionals. American Sentinel University was formed in 2006 when three schools were merged into one. The schools involved were Sentinel University, an online nursing school based in Denver, CO, the American Graduate School of Management in Denver, and the American College for Computer Information Sciences in Birmingham, AL. Currently, the university offers 12 degree programs ranging in levels from associate to doctoral and in the areas of nursing and health care, informatics, management, and technology.
American Sentinel University Accreditation Details
American Sentinel University is fully accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the only accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as being qualified to accredit distance education institutions.
In addition to this overall accreditation, the nursing undergraduate and graduate degree programs are specifically accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, program is also accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for the three specialty tracks of Educational Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Informatics Leadership.
American Sentinel University Application Requirements
Regardless of degree sought, the first step of the application process at American Sentinel University is to submit the application itself, either online or in paper form, and including a resume, a curriculum vitae, or a statement of professional accomplishments and goals. From there, documentation needed depends upon the level of degree sought.
The bachelor’s degree program offered here is an RN to BSN program, so requires proof of a current and active Registered Nurse (RN) license and official transcripts from all prior postsecondary school coursework. The master’s degree program in nursing requires proof of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or, in the case of the accelerated RN to MSN program, proof of coursework taken that led to the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and of a current and active RN license. The non-nursing master’s degree programs require proof of a bachelor degree earned.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program once again requires proof of a current and active RN license and evidence of a master’s degree. These items are required regardless of the specialization chosen with this degree program.
American Sentinel University Tuition and Financial Aid
American Sentinel University structures tuition based on the degree level sought and, in the case of the undergraduate program offered, on whether students choose a competency-based education that makes use of immersive virtual simulations or a more traditional, course based system. Students choosing the course based education are assessed $410.00 per credit hour, and the program requires a total of 60 credit hours to complete. Students choosing the competency-based program are assessed $3,000.00 per semester and complete competencies at their own pace. On average, students are expected to be able to complete this program in three semesters.
At the graduate level, the master’s degree programs are assessed tuition per credit hour, with the exception of the MBA in Healthcare, which offers a choice between course-based or project-based tuition options. Standard tuition rates for the master’s programs are $530.00 per credit hour for a total number of credit hours needed of 36 to 42, depending on the program. In the case of the project-based option, students are assessed $3,500.00 per semester and are expected to complete all projects within four semesters as a general rule.
The DNP program assesses tuition per credit hour, at a rate of $710.00 each and for a total of 42 credit hours. Students entering into the DNP with specializations in either informatics leadership or executive leadership that do not already have an MSN degree will be required to take an additional nine credit hours at the Master degree level, at tuition rates assessed for that level.
Just as with other traditional forms of post-secondary educational options, students may be eligible for financial aid to help offset tuition costs at American Sentinel. Prospective students should begin by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), providing various options for grants and loans. Students may also explore options for employer reimbursement, if applicable, and/or payment plans offered through the university directly.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Informatics Leadership
This program is designed for nurses that already hold a master’s degree and wish to lead the informatics in current health care systems. Nurses with this degree become the health IT advisor, bridging the gap between patient care and the technology needed to optimize such care. The curriculum for this program includes courses on statistics and research as it applies to health services and the application of nursing informatics on administration, leadership, and management, data management, and the management of population health and public health policies. Elective courses offer options that branch out into areas of healthcare finance, quality management, and the role of technology and simulation in nursing education. In addition, the degree requires completion of two capstone courses, both of which are residency courses. Of these, one residency is onsite and one is virtual.
The DNP program is designed to take an average of two years to complete, offering a rolling admission process and courses that are only eight weeks in length, providing as much flexibility as possible to work around the schedules of busy working professionals. In addition, all students within the DNP programs have access to student success advisors, on hand to offer guidance throughout the programs and up to graduation.
Online educational experiences have become a commonplace alternative to more traditional postsecondary settings, offering a wider variety of options for busy working professionals who want to further their education but who may not be able to attend classes in a traditional setting or at certain times. Focusing specifically on healthcare and creating a curriculum designed strictly for online learning, American Sentinel University provides maximum flexibility in degree options while keeping tuition costs reasonable when compared to more traditional programs, and even some other online programs.