Commuter or "career colleges" are popping up in office buildings and shopping centers everywhere.
With their family friendly schedules, like evening and weekend classes, these schools may seem like a great alternative for working adults who want a degree.
Want to become a medical assistant? A veterinary technician? Two year career schools are now the hottest thing.
Just One Course a Month
Working mom Carole Pierson said "it was advertised as a school where I could go full time, just take one course a month."
So after seeing ads for career schools University of Phoenix, Strayer, DeVry, and Kaplan, among others, she enrolled in a career school.
But her dreams of using her 2 year degree toward a 4 year nursing program were soon dashed.
Carole said "I was stunned to find out that absolutely none of my credits would transfer" to any 4 year school she checked.
Carole says she has to start over if she wants the higher paying jobs that come with a 4 year nursing degree. She said "my husband and I are out $21,000 and a year and a half of our time."
Is it worth it?
Bloomberg News says only 14 percent of major universities nationally accept credits from these for-profit career schools.
But college president Ken Richards defends his school, saying the placement rate is phenomenal for students with Brown Mackie degrees.
Richards said ''91.5% of our graduates were placed in a position, their first true career position, upon graduation." He says several graduates have landed jobs at Procter and Gamble, as one example.
Is it Accredited?
In addition, he points out his school is nationally accredited, saying "we're fully accredited. We are accredited with ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) which is a national accrediting agency, plus the state Board of Regents."
But it's not "regionally accredited," an important requirement for transferring credits to most public-supported schools.
And so Carole Pierson has a caution for anyone considering a career school. She said "make sure the credits you are receiving at the smaller college are actually transferrable to the larger college."
The Bottom Line
Two simple steps will prevent any problems.
- One, before you sign up for a school, check their accreditation.
- Two, check with local universities to see if their credits transfer, if you think you may want to transfer in to a 4 year degree program.
That way you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.