- Will your program be delivered by distance education?
If your program or training will be delivered "at a distance," you will want to find out as much about the school and the coursework as possible. It is important that you find out if the school is accredited by a nationally recognized agency.
To find out if the school's accrediting agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, take a look at the List of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies.
To find out if the school is operating legally, contact the state licensing agency using the Directory of Higher Education Officials.
More information on distance education.
- Does the school offer job placement assistance?
Many career colleges and technical schools provide job placement assistance as part of their service. If the school does offer job placement assistance, ask about the job placement rates (the percent of graduates placed in jobs) and compare the placement rates with those of other schools. Ask for information about recent graduates, and find out where they went to work.
Whenever possible, ask former students about their experience at a school you are considering. Did the training they received prepare them for the job they wanted?
- How can you avoid diploma mills?
Unfortunately, there are some schools--often called "diploma mills"--that are more interested in taking your money than giving you a quality education. Information about how to avoid these types of schools can be found at:
U.S. Department of Education: Diploma Mills and Accreditation
Oregon Student Assistance Commission: Overview of diploma mills and a list of unaccredited colleges
Have students filed complaints against the school?
If you want to find out if any complaints have been filed against a school, you should contact one or more of the following authorities:
State Licensing Agencies - Directory of Higher Education Officials
Accrediting Agencies - U.S. Department of Education's List of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other organizations can provide information regarding customer complaints in local areas. The BBB Web site lists local telephone numbers.