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The University is an accredited and legitimate higher learning option


This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
Read more about our editorial process.

This article was reviewed by McCeil Johnson, JD, Vice President, Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance.

This article was updated on 12/4/2023.

University of Phoenix has been around since the 1970s, but even with its long history, many people still wonder, “Is the University of Phoenix legit?” 

Well, it’s not your typical 4-year college. It’s tailored toward nontraditional learners who often are not able to attend in-person college classes. And that’s why some people question whether the University of Phoenix is a valid option for higher education. 

Is University of Phoenix legit?

Yes, University of Phoenix is legit. It might be a different type of institution in its approach to providing access to education and resources, but University of Phoenix is accredited and legitimate. When it comes down to it, these factors make the University a valid educational path for many adult learners. 

Regionally accredited

University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, which oversees accreditation in 19 states. 

The Higher Learning Commission has a variety of requirements for its accreditation standards, including: 

  • Academic rigor
  • Approved learning outcomes
  • Student experience
  • Institutional financial health

University of Phoenix has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1978.

Welcoming environment for nontraditional learners

It’s not always an option for students to attend a traditional, in-person, four-year university. Life happens, and whether you are a working parent, military service member or a professional who wants to change careers, you may need an alternative way to learn without disrupting your life.

Real advice from real students infographic

University of Phoenix was designed specifically for this nontraditional path, and it’s natural that people are going to question something that isn’t mainstream. Even so, the University offers learners the flexibility they may need to change their lives through education. 

Many University of Phoenix graduates are first-generation college students, but they’re also, often: 

  • Veterans who want to plan for the next stage of their career
  • GED graduates who want to continue their education
  • Full-time parents who want to re-enter the workforce
  • Middle-aged professionals who want to earn an advanced degree

University of Phoenix can be a welcoming place for nontraditional learners who might feel like they slipped through the cracks at other universities. The University recognizes this can be a reality for some, and actively tries to help nontraditional learners. For example, the University works with military service members and their spouses to help them achieve their higher education goals.


The University also works on educational equity with outreach like its Tribal Operations Team. Since just 20 percent of Native Americans hold a bachelor’s degree, there’s a real need to welcome these students with flexible learning opportunities. University of Phoenix works with tribal leaders to support students and even does ongoing check-ins to help students stay on track. 

Infographic on how University of Phoenix is different

Experienced faculty

Not just anyone can teach at the University of Phoenix. Its staff is robustly experienced in their fields with over 27 years of average professional experience. 

The University’s faculty are not just about theory. They design courses for real-world applicability, tapping into their professional experience in their chosen fields  so that adult learners can apply their new knowledge in the workplace. And since University of Phoenix faculty actually work in the industries that they teach, they know firsthand what skills you need to know to be relevant at work. 

It’s an approach that’s paying off: a whopping 85 percent of University of Phoenix students recommend their instructors.  


Rigorous online learning standards

The influx of online learning during the pandemic proved that remote learning can be  just as valid as in-person methods and that you can’t discount the experiences of nontraditional students who learn online.

University of Phoenix started out as an in-person university, but it has offered online learning programs since as far back as 1989. While plenty of people like to question the validity of online learning, the pandemic proved that this way of learning can be just as academically rigorous.

The University was able to retain students during the initial surge of COVID-19 because it was already equipped for online learning. Actually, it was already so experienced with online learning that it created the Alliance for Virtual Learning, which provided a Virtual Teaching Academy in the early days of the pandemic to helpK-12 educators prepare to teach online classes.

Career focused

Another consideration that shows that University of Phoenix is a legitimate educational institution is the fact that its programs are designed to help teach skills needed for today’s careers. 

The University also offers a lot of other career-focused perks like: 

  • A Career Hub to help you pick a career based on your degree and interests
  • Alumni networking opportunities
  • Career Services for Life®, which includes free resources and career guidance for active students and graduates

Is University of Phoenix a good choice?

Yes, University of Phoenix is a good choice. 

From its earliest beginnings as the University that changed higher education, University of Phoenix has embraced excellence and innovation. Through academic rigor, flexibility and knowledge of career-relevant skills sought after by employers, the University strives to help students prepare for today’s ever-changing employment landscape.

Since 1976, University of Phoenix has served nontraditional adult learners with flexible class schedules, experienced faculty with real-world experience, and degrees that enhance their careers. Whether you’re a new high school graduate, a full-time parent who wants to earn a degree, a veteran, or a first-generation college student, University of Phoenix is a good choice. 

Like its students, the University is always pressing, never resting. Read on to discover 5 reasons why University of Phoenix is a good choice.

1.   Your life experience matters

Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at University of Phoenix, life experiences can be evaluated for potential credit. The University works with students to help evaluate their experience — everything from life experience to past jobs — to help them earn the college credits they deserve. For every three credits they earn through PLA, students can shave one course, three credits, five weeks, and over $1,300 off a bachelor’s degree.

That translates to saved time and money. Students with eligible credits and relevant experience on average saved $11k and 1 year off their undergraduate degree and can save up to $6,800 and 9 credits off their master’s degree.

2.   Easy admissions process

Unlike other universities, University of Phoenix does not charge an application fee. You can apply for free, and there’s no need entrance essay or exam required (e.g. SAT, ACT, GMAT, or GRE). And there’s no obligation. Plus, you can apply for Prior Learning Assessment (mentioned above) at no additional cost.

To apply to University of Phoenix, you’ll need to meet its simple admission requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a valid visa if you’re living in the U.S.
  • You must have a high school diploma, GED or foreign equivalent
  • You must pass an English language proficiency test
  • Some programs have additional requirements (like work experience)

University of Phoenix’s Enrollment Representatives can guide you through the process. 

And, of course, it’s also reassuring to know when you’re applying that University[LD1]  of Phoenix has been continuously accredited[LD2]  by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1978. This means the University passes the HLC’s standards for: 

  • Student experience
  • Staffing
  • Student resources
  • Governance
  • Financial performance

University of Phoenix also has specialized programmatic accreditations for some healthcare, counseling, education, nursing programs[DS3] . Programmatic accreditation represents an additional level of external peer evaluation and quality assurance that applies to specific programs within the University.

3. The University helps students save time and money

University of Phoenix helps students save time and tuition with PLA (covered above), transfer credits, scholarships, and more.

  • Transfer credits: If you’re considering a transfer to University of Phoenix, an Enrollment Representative can help you understand your credit transfer options. The University will request your prior college transcripts at no charge, when possible. University of Phoenix also accepts transfer credit from many international colleges, as well as military service and relevant work experience. The University also considers credits for CLEP, AP, DANTES, and other testing scores for college credit. The University’s Savings Explorer tool can help students or prospective students see how their work, life and school experiences might help them saving on tuition.
  • Scholarships: University of Phoenix believes everyone deserves an affordable education that they shouldn’t have to compete for. That’s why the University offers an unlimited number of scholarships, so if you qualify, you can get one. Starting with your first course, every qualifying new student will be awarded one of the University’s scholarships, or you’ll get a better offer you qualify for.
  • Fixed tuition. At University of Phoenix, students have one flat rate from the moment they enroll until the day they graduate from their program. They can count on predictable and transparent tuition through the University’s Tuition Guarantee.
  • Competency-based programs. Faculty-supported, self-paced programs allow working professionals to leverage their knowledge and experience to earn a degree faster, and for less.

4. University of Phoenix is flexible, helping students ‘balance it all’

University of Phoenix first offered online classes in 1989, so it has a deep understanding of what works with online learners. With a University built for busy adults, the University offers flexible options, such as:

  • A semester-free format. The University offers up to 17 opportunities a year to start their degree.
  • Freedom for stuents to learn when they want with 24/7 online classrooms
  • Single courses that generally last for five or six weeks rather than multiple courses that span a traditional semester

These flexible options often appeal to non-traditional learners, who generally are older, and balancing work, dependents, and other life demands. In fact, in FY23, the average University of Phoenix student was 38 years old. Eight in ten of the University’s students worked, and 63.5% of them had dependents.

5. Skills mapping leads to career-relevant skills in weeks — not years

University of Phoenix is bridging the gap between the classroom and the workplace by aligning degree programs to the skills employers want. This is called skills-aligned learning, or skills mapping.

Skills mapping allows students to earn career-relevant skills and update their resumé in weeks, not years, with every 5 or 6 week course in its bachelor’s and master’s programs. Students can get value from their education before they even graduate.

In July 2023, University of Phoenix announced that its innovative skills-mapped curriculum, focused on the working adult learner, has culminated in 100 percent of associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs open for new enrollment now being full skills-mapped.

The skills-mapping journey looks like this:

  1. The University works with labor market analysts to evaluate thousands of job posts to identify skills today’s employers want in job candidates.
  2. Those skills are embedded into University programs.
  3. The University align credits to skills in a 1:1 ratio across required courses of study. This means, on average, for every three-credit core course a student takes, the student can demonstrate three career-relevant skills.*
  4. Students are assessed with real-world assignments (called authentic assessments[LD1] ) tied to those skills.
  5. The University helps students keep track of skills they have demonstrated through a personalized skills profile.
  6. In select courses, students are awarded with digital badges for the skills they demonstrate. This helps them showcase their skills right away on social profiles.

 Watch this video to learn more about the skills-mapping process.

University of Phoenix: An excellent choice for 1 million alumni and counting

University of Phoenix connects non-traditional learners with flexibility and opportunity. In fact, the University’s Career Services for Life® commitment offers access to career services and resources from a student’s first course until graduation.

In fact, as long as you’re an enrolled student or a University of Phoenix graduate, you can tap the university’s career center for support for:

  • Career exploration tools
  • Career coaching
  • Resumé building
  • Interview preparation
  • Personal brand development
  • Job search support
  • Salary negotiation skills
  • Career blogs and video content
  • Networking and mentorships

With over one million Phoenix alumni across the globe, University of Phoenix is a good choice for nontraditional students who want to pursue a degree. If you’re considering University of Phoenix, trust that it’s a good choice thanks to accreditation, experienced faculty, and flexibility — as well as because of the value it places on your life, and the skills-mapped programs that align the skills students are learning to the skills employers want.

So, what are you waiting for? Explore our academic calendar and upcoming start dates today.

Michael Feder


Michael Feder is a content marketing specialist at University of Phoenix, where he researches and writes on a variety of topics, ranging from healthcare to IT. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program and a New Jersey native!


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