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Education Training Centers - Do Your Homework Before You Enroll

by Richard A Asselta

posted in Legal

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For many people, training centers and technical schools offer wonderful opportunities to obtain the additional education and training that can provide them with a good-paying profession. These schools and centers can award you with either a degree, a certificate or can prepare you to take an examination to obtain some type of technical license. They can range from certificates in electrical or mechanical fields to occupations in the medical profession. The majority of these schools do a great job and provide people with the tools they need to thrive. Unfortunately, some schools and training centers are more interested in getting would-be students tuition than providing them with the ability to better themselves.
Recently, I spoke to two people who had a similar experience. Trying to get back on their feet, they visited a training school. Both were interested in obtaining a certificate to work in the medical field here in Florida. Both had a past criminal conviction which they disclosed to the admissions officer. When asked if their past conviction would present a problem, both were emphatically told no. They then enrolled and took student loans which ranged from $25,000.00 to over $40,000.00. After graduating from the program they applied to the applicable state certification board, only to be told that their criminal convictions rendered them ineligible to obtain a certificate. Tens of thousands of dollars later, these people can't get that high-paying job they were promised.
In order to protect yourself, here are some tips:
  • Make sure the school you are thinking about enrolling is legitimate and is qualified to award you whatever degree or certification you want to pursue;
  • When speaking to any school representative, get names, titles and write down when and where you spoke to them;
  • Take notes and write down as accurately as possible what information they provide to you;
  • Ask them if there is any written documentation detailing what they are telling you. If not, ask them to put it in writing;
  • Follow-up your meeting/conversation with a confirmatory letter to that person, setting forth what was represented to you;
  • Finally, do your own homework. Call any licensing boards or agencies yourself before you enroll and speak to them directly. Ask about what is required to obtain a certification and any issues that may make you ineligible, like a criminal infraction or outstanding child support obligations.

These simple steps could save you a lot of unnecessary time, aggravation, and money.
About the Author: Richard Asselta is the founder of Asselta Law, PA, concentrating in Education Law. He is a former attorney for a large public school district. He has worked with teachers, parents, and students on complex matters in a variety of educational settings. You may reach Mr. Asselta at richard@asseltalaw.com or visit http://www.asseltalaw.com for more information.
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