Want Training For A New Career? Check Schools With BBB Firstby Nick LaFleur on Jul. 21, 2010, under Life, Tips
Today’s job market demands new skills, and career training schools, both public and private, offer training that can help you prepare for a new career. But which ones will really help you land a job?
Better Business Bureau can help you narrow your search. BBB Reliability Reports show whether the school has been the subject of complaints from students and others and give you information such as who runs the school or how long it has been in business. The reports are available online at www.tucson.bbb.org. “It pays to check out a school’s credentials and its success at placing graduates,” said Kim States, BBB President. “While most vocational schools do a good job of training students, there are some operators who are more interested in collecting tuition than in providing valuable training.”
Just as with buying a new appliance, it pays to do some comparison shopping to determine the cost, the course offerings and other aspects that may make a particular school the right one for your schedule, your budget and the skills you need. The following are some tips to help you find the right school:
- Obtain catalogs or bulletins from several schools, both public and private, that offer the training you are seeking. Ask whether the school is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Find out whether it is 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 or its website?
- 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, housing and meals before signing a contract. Ask for details on the cancellation and refund policy and whether financial assistance is available.
- 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 disbursed; 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 BBB for a Reliability Report on the school at www.tucson.bbb.org or by calling (520)888-5353.