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Vatterott College presents degree program to address medical needs

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With baby boomers aging out of the workforce and into retirement, Americans have a tough question to ask: what is going to be done to fill the widening void in the healthcare industry? As a population of experienced personnel exits the labor force and healthcare facilities find themselves drawing from an ever-shrinking pool of skilled workers, it’s a question steeped in urgency.

It’s a question Vatterott College is trying to answer. After recognizing Wichita’s growing need for educated healthcare workers seven years ago, the College’s Co-Director, Alan Dykes, began taking the steps necessary to offer an Associate of Applied Science Medical Assistant degree. Now, after nearly a decade of designing the program, Vatterott College is the first career college with the ability to grant the degree in the Wichita area.

“This is what Wichita, the state of Kansas, needs,”? Dykes said. “Students will be given the opportunity to receive the training it takes to work in doctors” offices, health clinics, chiropractors’ offices “this degree means graduates will fill a major void in the medical community.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of medical assistants is expected to increase 27 percent or more by 2014. The objective of this new Associate of Applied Science degree is to fulfill that need by preparing graduates for entry-level employment as medical assistants.

Graduates of medical assistant programs are typically trained to work in a wide range of healthcare facilities such as physicians’ offices; public and private hospitals; chiropractor, optometrist and podiatrist offices; outpatient care centers; medical and diagnostic laboratories; and nursing facilities.

These are options for Vatterott College’s graduates. However, students enrolled in the College’s program will have the additional option of working in radiology. Co-Director, Diana Otis, said this option is a distinguishing factor for the college.

“What really sets Vatterott’s program apart from other schools is this component,” Otis said. “We are the only school in the area with a Medical Assistant program offering training in radiology.”

Enrollment for the first start date on April 2 has already begun, and classes are filling fast. After years of dedication to this project, Dykes and Otis view this major influx of students with a deep sense of satisfaction.

“This was groundbreaking. Offering the MA degree to the Wichita community has been a goal of ours for a long time,” said Otis. “Being able to do this was crossing a major hurdle.”

About Vatterott College
With more than 30 years experience and 19 campuses across the Midwest, Vatterott College prepares students to meet the market demand for technically superior employees. Accredited through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, Vatterott wants to provide skilled training to eligible students, enabling them to secure entry-level or advanced employment.

For more information about Vatterott College – Wichita, branch of St. Ann, visit www.vatterott-college.edu, call 316-634-0066, or stop by the campus located at 3639 N. Comotara, Wichita, KS 67226 for a tour.

UEI removes language barrier with bilingual courses

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The language barrier just narrowed for Spanish-speakers who want career training.

United Education Institute has implemented bilingual courses at its El Monte, Huntington Park and Chula Vista campuses. Beginning this February, the El Monte campus will offer bi-lingual courses in the Medical Assistant and Computer System Technician programs. Huntington Park and Chula Vista will offer bi-lingual Medical Assistant courses.

Class presentations will be taught primarily in Spanish, enabling students who speak Spanish as their first language to maximize their comprehension. Practicing skills, textbooks and medical terminology will be taught in English. This will allow students optimum interaction with patients and medical staff.

“We’re giving students an opportunity that other career colleges in the area simply aren’t offering,” said Randy Morales, El Monte Campus President. “To reach out to new students who will really make an impact on the community, we felt that our courses literally needed to speak their language.”

UEI has continually adapted new teaching methods to focus on students’ needs, a difference that has helped the college stand out from other career training providers. By offering students intensive, focused courses in the allied health, business, computer technology and massage therapy fields, UEI has become a reputable provider of education and training employers know they can trust.

About UEI
UEI has seven campuses in California, located in El Monte, Ontario, Chula Vista, Huntington Park, San Bernardino, San Diego and Van Nuys. UEI offers career training in the following programs: Business Office Administration, Computer Systems Technician, Dental Assistant, Massage Therapy, Medical Assistant, Medical Billing & Insurance Coding, and Pharmacy Technician. Not all programs are available at all campuses. Campus tours are available for people who want to learn more about the school and its programs.

Dawn Training Centre announces enhanced legal assistant program

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In theory, the path to a new career should be a relatively simple one. Find a profession that’s appealing to you, enroll in a learning institution that can give you the proper training for that position, and, upon graduation, hit the interview trail.

Unfortunately, many graduates hoping to pursue careers as legal assistants are struggling to find careers even with the proper training. While the demand for legal assistants continues to rise, some graduates entering today’s job market have found they don’t have a background diverse enough to obtain the job they want.

Drawing on the real-world experience of its graduates and analyses of current trends in the job market, Dawn Training Centre has made enhancements to its Legal Assistant program, making it one of the most unique programs in the nation. The addition of courses involving the world of medicine helps graduates adjust to today’s demanding job market and broaden their opportunities of developing a successful career.

Dawn Training Centre has added a new requirement to its Legal Assistant program that allows students to diversify their experience to several career fields. The School now requires additional coursework in the following areas: medical terminology; medical science; and advanced keyboarding. This key adjustment gives graduates a faster track to a legal career.

“Adding these new courses makes our students better prepared to enter a job market that has become increasingly more demanding,” said Cheryl Zapata, Executive Vice President of Dawn Training Centre. “With this enhancement, we hope to make our students not only qualified, but sought-after.”

Legal Assistant classes at Dawn Training Centre include instruction in business, criminal, civil and family law. Teachers use classroom instruction and hands-on experience in all of the School’s career training programs. In addition, Dawn Training Centre helps students develop professional skills that build confidence in job searches and helps them build their resumés.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal assisting jobs are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Professionals in these positions are vital parts of any law practice and perform a variety of tasks, such as assisting busy legal teams and performing many of the same tasks as lawyers.

About Dawn Training Centre
Dawn Training Centre’s mission is to help students develop their potential through technical training and to produce graduates who are qualified for skilled positions. Based in Wilmington, Del., Dawn Training Centre has access to major employers throughout the mid-Atlantic, tri-state area. Dawn Training Centre offers career training in some of the nation’s fastest-growing career fields, such as Medical Assistant, Nurse Assistant, Medical Biller/Health Insurance Claims Examiner, Medical Office Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Massage Therapist, Esthetician, Spa Body Technician and Legal Assistant. The Institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology.

Traditional schools more aggressive in online marketing

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While career colleges have been aggressively courting students for online programs via e-marketing for years, traditional colleges and universities have been slower on the draw. That is changing according to a recent report from eLearners.com, a company that recently conducted research on the higher education field.

In a survey of colleges and universities that actively market degree programs online, 82 percent of career colleges claimed they devote more than 50 percent of their budget to online marketing. Only 40 percent of traditional schools claimed expenditures of 50 percent or above.

But those numbers have nothing to do with planned spending for next year. When asked about anticipated spending, 80 percent of traditional schools indicated they would be increasing their online marketing budget for the coming fiscal year while 82 percent of career colleges said they plan for their budgets to decrease or remain the same.

The study, titled “Attracting the Next Generation of Online Learners,” has also shed some light on student enrollment processes for career colleges and traditional schools. Career colleges still seem to reach potential students faster: ninety-one 91 percent said they follow up with prospective students at least once per month after initial contact compared to just 50 percent of traditional schools.

However, the outcome in this area tends to lean in favor of traditional schools, at least with respect to timing, where 70 percent of traditional school respondents say the average time it takes from initial contact to paid enrollment is three months or less. In that same time frame, the average for career schools to close the deal is only 55 percent.

“Obviously, the for-profits have been realizing success using online marketing channels for a longer period of time, and their budgets reflect it,” said Andrew Gansler, CEO of eLearners.com. “But without question, the not-for-profits are taking the field and want to play.”

“The question now is whether the not-for-profits can leverage their brand names enough to offset the tremendous marketing prowess that the for-profits have achieved.”

Overall, the participating institutions indicated that the biggest challenges facing them in online recruiting are generating qualified leads, name recognition, contact rates (ability to reach the leads) and conversion rates of leads to enrollments. A unique struggle among traditional schools was dealing with internal bureaucracy challenges while career colleges mentioned the challenge of ever-increasing competition and costs.

eLearners.com interviewed 25 percent of its higher education associates for the survey. The sample was evenly distributed, with 52 percent of respondents representing career colleges and 48 percent representing traditional schools. The candidates were interviewed on a host of subjects, including contact response, conversion, retention, vendor relationships, budgets and program selection.

Unique curriculum offers added punch to career schools

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If there is one universal understanding among school owners – besides the constant need for more leads – it’s that unique program offerings are vital to a school’s success.

In markets saturated with competition, potential students are being bombarded with billboards, direct mail and TV commercials from dozens of different schools. More and more career schools are realizing the key to standing out from the competition is to add one (or possibly two) unique programs that can help their school stand out from the rest.

That philosophy is the unique concept behind Professional Fitness Institute – Las Vegas and its new approach to personal training. PFI is making its curriculum available for purchase to other career schools. In turn, the PFI – Las Vegas campus, which has offered quality personal training courses to students for almost five years, will be arranged as the location for a week-long personal fitness training boot camp.

At these camps, students undergo an intense, hands-on experience from PFI instructors before certification. By bringing together hands-on training with the involvement and endorsement of fitness celebrities, PFI’s curriculum is unique and groundbreaking. But the School’s ultimate goal is to be the highest-quality provider of education and training for personal fitness trainers, said David A. Pettrone Swalve, PFI President.

“It sounds like an ambitious goal,” Swalve said. “But that’s what I like about it.”

PFI – Las Vegas has been synonymous with quality fitness training and education since its inception. Now, the administrators of PFI are determined to become the source for personal fitness training education, Swalve said.

Given the previous pattern of schools that offered personal training degrees without requiring hands-on training, PFI’s fitness boot camp blows that philosophy out of the water, taking its boot camp to an impressive new level.

Later this summer, four-time Mr. Olympia runner-up Jay Cutler will be the featured fitness celebrity at PFI’s boot camp. The event, occurring from Aug. 27 through Sept. 1 at the PFI campus in Las Vegas, Nev., represents the crowning achievement for students and schools participating in the curriculum.

“Where else would you host an event like this?” Swalve said. “Las Vegas hosts more fitness and training competitions than anywhere else in the world. This camp is the pinnacle of our personal training program. For many of our students, it’s one of the best experiences of their lives – and they get certified.”

Boot camps are offered quarterly to students across the country attending PFI affiliate schools. If schools continue to partner with PFI at the rate they are, Swalve said they will host boot camps every month. The PFI boot camp is the culminating event in the education of each student. In addition to receiving intense, hands-on instruction for new techniques and best practices, students complete their educational requirements by taking the National Strength and Conditioning Association-Certified Personal Trainer exam.

The NSCA-CPT certification was developed in 1993 for professionals who work one-on-one with their clients in a variety of environments, including health and fitness clubs, wellness centers, schools, and clients’ homes. The exam thoroughly tests the knowledge and skills that are necessary to successfully train both active and healthy individuals, as well as those who need special assistance.

PFI and the NSCA have entered into a unique partnership that will allow PFI to proctor the test at the end of each boot camp right on the PFI campus.

Training sessions at the camps are led by students as well as fitness celebrities and experts like Cutler, who is preparing for the 2006 Mr. Olympia, which will also be held in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sept. 30.

But there’s more to the PFI formula than hands-on training, expertise of fitness celebrities and exam certification. The organization offers accreditation body new-program approval support to schools offering the curriculum. PFI has retained fitness professionals and celebrities who will allow their likenesses and images to be used in advertising and marketing campaigns. Lastly, the School provides instructor training and support to ensure that the program is started properly.

“PFI has a proven curriculum that focuses on skills and attributes necessary for a career as a personal fitness trainer,” Swalve said. “We want to be able to share this knowledge with schools across the United States to standardize skill training for fitness professionals.”

For more information about PFI, its curriculum or its affiliated schools, contact David A. Pettrone Swalve, PFI President, at 702-434-8940 or via e-mail at dswalve@pf-institute.com.

New research center excludes career school factor

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For millions of young people, weak academic preparation impedes their chances of succeeding in higher education. Millions of others face financial roadblocks in finding the money to go to college.

Other than the poorly educated or the financially strapped, no one is more familiar with these situations than the administrators of career schools, who offer curricula specifically targeting this demographic.

Yet, a new research center funded by the U.S. Department of Education with the intent of improving access to higher education and breaking down academic and financial barriers will not include career schools as a part of its research.

The department’s Institute of Education Sciences issued a five-year grant of nearly $10 million to develop the National Research and Development Center on Postsecondary Education. The center will study programs employed by two-year and four-year schools to help students make the transition to college and master the basic skills needed to earn a degree.

While the project is noteworthy for its emphasis on two-year schools as opposed to solely four-year, where the majority of research has been conducted in the past, studies will focus primarily on public schools that offer dual enrollment and college-prep programs, said Thomas Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center (CCRC), which will house the center.

“(The center) has a community college emphasis, but that’s not all it is,” Bailey said. “It may be that issues with proprietary schools are something they want us to look at eventually. The higher education act will be reauthorized soon, and there are some controversial issues involved with proprietary schools, so they may want us to look at it, but that has not been determined yet.”

The center will evaluate the effectiveness of two programs over four years:

– Those that enroll high school students in college courses (dual-enrollment programs); and
– Those that provide remediation groups or learning communities for low-skill students.

Dr. Thomas Brock, Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC)’s Director of Young Adults and Postsecondary Education, said the grant would allow researchers to focus on this critical area in which too little rigorous research now exists. MRDC is partnering with the CCRC, the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, and professors from Harvard University and Princeton University to conduct research.

“There is a gap in what we know and don’t know about the policies and programs that postsecondary institutions are implementing to improve student access and success in higher education,” Brock said. “This grant will give the center the opportunity to do the research that will help us say with more certainty what works and what doesn’t.”

In addition, the center will evaluate financial aid policies and state incentives to promote low-income, low-skilled students.

Rate rise poses double whammy for career college students

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College just got more expensive for adults pursuing a higher education.

That’s the word from economists after an almost 2-percentage-point interest rate increase for federal student loans went into effect on July 1. For borrowers who missed the deadline, it could cost them thousands of additional dollars in interest once they enter the workforce.

The rate poses a double whammy for career college students. This traditionally older crowd might also be carrying other types of adjustable rate loans on which they will now be paying more.

“Career school students are likely to be older and have more responsibility,” said Sandy Baum, an economics professor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. “They may have a mortgage payment that is going up, too.”

Baum also serves as financial aid analyst for the College Board education association that produces the SAT college entrance exam. She said students from for-profit colleges borrow more on average than students from other types of schools.

“If you graduate with Bachelor or Master degrees from a career school, you acquire a lot more debt and have higher debt levels than students with similar degrees from other institutions,” Baum said.

The rush to refinance created the sort of panic one might associate with final exam week. Only this test involved a deadline with much higher stakes.

Thousands of applications for student loan consolidations have bombarded organizations such as the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), the nation’s 12th largest student loan holder.

“The business over the last month has been the equivalent of about 10 months worth of business,” said Raymond Bayer Jr., executive director of MOHELA. “It’s just been incredible.”

Bayer said MOHELA has received about $750 million in consolidation loan volume in the last 30 days. By comparison, so far in 2006, the average volume per month has equated to about $90-100 million.

Rising rates
According to CNN.com, the variable rate on a common Stafford loan dipped to as low as 2.77 percent for students in the 2004-2005 school year and 3.37 percent for graduates already making repayments. Those rates rose again last year to 4.7 percent for students and 5.3 percent for graduates.

This latest jump – to 6.54 percent for students and 7.14 percent for graduates – continues the trend of rate rising.

Baum said that the reaction to the student loan rate rise has been exaggerated compared to the interest rate rise of other loans. Still, she said the impact cannot be underestimated for career college students.

“It will certainly have quite a measurable impact on them,” Baum said.

Providing a quality education isn’t enough to keep students in classrooms

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Career colleges are generally known for meeting the needs of students. They increase access to higher education.

Repealing the 50 percent rule

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Are career colleges enrolling more students online?

Today’s students are of every age, gender and income bracket. She’s a single mother. He’s stationed overseas. They’re the people striving to gain the skills necessary to succeed in a market demanding highly educated workers. They’re the people who now have easier access to a new frontier in education thanks to a landmark decision made in Congress last March to repeal the 50 percent rule.

The 50 percent rule was first implemented in 1992 to combat the questionable practices of a few schools that acted mainly as diploma mills, offering empty degrees through their online courses. In the years since the implementation of this rule, the use of the Internet for quality education has grown in popularity and practicality. Students with hectic lifestyles are drawn to the convenience of online courses they can take whenever and wherever is most convenient for them. The 50 percent rule, once put into place to protect the student, soon became out-of-date and was in fact hurting those who just wanted a quality education.

The repeal of the 50 percent rule did away with the requirement that colleges must provide at least half of their course offerings at an on-site campus rather than online to be eligible for federal financial aid.

Now students have access to more and varied online degree and certificate programs since these limitations have been lifted. Schools can offer all of their courses online and still enable their students to qualify for federal financial aid.

Three months after the repeal

While many anticipated a huge boom in the career college industry, it may be too soon to tell whether the repeal of the 50 percent rule will have those expected effects.

The University of Phoenix is one of the largest providers of online degrees with over 65 Internet-based programs. Joe Cockrell, the University’s public relations manager, believes that scrapping the 50 percent rule will have lasting effects in the for-profit education industry, especially in smaller or emerging schools.

These smaller schools now have the ability to expand their course offerings and student base without the financial burden of increasing their onsite facilities. Rather than being limited to attracting half of their student population from their local communities, they’re now free to attract students from around the globe to enroll in their online programs.

He also believes that the new policy will have lasting effects beyond industry growth because it will “allow greater access to higher education.”

Given time and the continued advancement of computer and Internet technology, the repeal of the 50 percent rule may create access to higher education for an astounding number of people. Geographic, time and financial constraints may no longer be a barrier to those seeking career training as more schools have the option of increasing their online course offerings without penalty.

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