For-Profits Offer Flexibility with Trade-Off

The ads are all over television, encouraging viewers to see themselves in any number of careers, from pharmacy technician to sports photographer. The schools and occupations vary, but the promise is the same: the job of your dreams, and faster than you could imagine.

Such is the backbone of marketing efforts by for-profit schools, from national corporations to mom-and-pop trade colleges. They tout more flexible class schedules than community colleges and a guaranteed seat that public technology centers can’t provide. The trade-offs are higher tuition, more student debt and, depending on the school, a lower chance of getting a job.

Students looking for a relatively quick career change must choose, based on their finances and their comfort with the school. When Josh Hallums was looking to enroll in an EMT program, he checked out community colleges, as well as for-profits Miller-Motte Technical College and the University of Phoenix.

He chose the program at Volunteer State Community College because he felt better going to a public school than a for-profit school, which he said could "pick up and take off on you."

"That happened at a non-state-backed school," Hallums said. He’d heard about Donelson-based Tennessee Career College, which closed its doors unexpectedly last year over financial trouble.

When Jason Bryant was ready to move from a professional golf career to one in audio engineering, his research consisted almost solely of for-profit colleges. He had already attended college for nearly three years before turning pro, and at age 34 wanted to start his new career as quickly as possible.  (

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of