Choosing the Right Career Training School

9/6/2001

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Do you need to update your job skills or acquire new skills to get the job you desire? Career training schools, both public and private, can offer valuable preparation for those seeking entry-level job skills, a career change or upgraded training in a specific field.

A career training school also known as a vocational, trade, or technical school, should be investigated as carefully as any other service. Whether the training program is in automobile mechanics, computer programming, practical nursing, locksmithing or any other vocational career area, it is important to make an informed choice.

The Better Business Bureau suggests the following tips when considering a career training school.

  • Obtain catalogs or bulletins from several schools, both public and private, that offer the training you are seeking. Is the school accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education? Is it licensed by your state Department of Education?
  • Compare the courses, rates of completion, and job placement percentages with those being offered in your community by public schools, community colleges, nonprofit and for-profit schools.
  • Talk to employers in your field of interest. Tell them your objectives and ask them if training in a career school would qualify you for a job.
  • Visit the school and inspect its facilities. Are the facilities and equipment the same as described in the school's printed materials?
  • Find out about the instructor's qualifications. What is the teacher-to-student ratio and the teacher turnover rate?
  • Determine the costs for tuition, books, materials, lab equipment, financial assistance, residence and meals before signing a contract. Ask for details on the cancellation and refund policy.
  • Know the requirements for and terms of the financial aid program. Get the facts about the institution backing loans, grants, or work study programs; how and when funds are dispersed; and how loans are repaid.
  • Be wary if a school guarantees you job placement or makes promises about how much money you will make. An accredited school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education cannot legally make such guarantees. They can, however, provide you with written statistics on past graduates, their jobs and their employers.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau for a reliability report on the school.
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