For-profit colleges and trade schools is the fastest growing sector of education in the United States. A for-profit or proprietary-college is any post-secondary school that is run by a private business for profit.
Also known as career colleges, for-profit trade schools offer a range of programs for one purpose: to arm students with professional-level skills for the ever-competitive job market. The main difference between for-profit and non-profit colleges is that the former rely on profits for funding, as opposed to donations or government handouts. For-profit colleges also have to pay taxes.
Four Major Types of Higher Education in America:
1) For-Profit (Proprietary) Colleges: Specializes in job-related training, pays taxes, and relies on profits for funding.
2) Private (Non-profit) Colleges: Receives tax exemptions and usually affiliated with religious subsets.
3) Public (Non-profit) Colleges: Funded and operated by state government.
4) Community Colleges: Funded by state jurisdiction. Mostly for two-year associate degrees but some offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs.
For-profit trade schools often take more innovative strides in training students and launching them into the workforce. With their growing reputation for helping students land employment opportunities, the best for-profit colleges have become an increasingly popular choice among today’s students. The following article covers the eight main advantages of attending a for-profit trade school.
1. For-profit Colleges build partnerships with decision-makers and help graduating students succeed in the job market.
Career colleges have an exceptional ability to build relationships with the decision-makers in today’s job market. On the one hand, this occurs based on the needs of the students, many of whom make their enrollment choices based on how a particular college will give them a leg-up among employers once they graduate. Career colleges must deliver, because their enrollment numbers rely on their ability to turn students into successful, gainfully-employed graduates.
Thanks in part to this mutual interest, students who attend a for-profit trade school will often find access to internships and other unique employment opportunities while transitioning from college life into the workforce. Considering the extent to which most fields have become competitive, the improved prospects for which graduates are known to benefit has been a testament to the educational quality of such institutions.
While it has thus far sparked only murmurs in Congress, the issue of student career prospects has been gaining traction as part of a growing awareness for the wellbeing of millennials — a movement spurred by America’s spiraling student debt problem.
While all this is happening, however, for-profit schools — with their ability to secure partnerships with proven job-assistance programs — are leading the way in terms of helping students make the college investment pay off with gainful, field-appropriate employment upon graduation.
2. For-profit colleges have the scalability and flexibility to adjust programs for expected job growth and trends.
Career colleges stay updated on the flow of the job market. As such, for-profits know which fields have growing opportunities, which fields are in decline, and which fields are likely to expand in the near future. Best of all, for-profit trade schools cater their programs accordingly. They expand programs and departments in areas of study that are in high demand among employers, and curb areas of study that yield little or no demand.
This stands in marked contrast to regular colleges, where many a tenured professor will go on teaching certain disciplines for years — sometimes even decades — after their sell-by date in the real world. At best, adaption to trends in the job-market is slow in the departments of traditional non-profit colleges, where unsuspecting students are often encouraged to major in fields of study that simply don’t translate to employability.
By staying on top of where the job market is heading, for-profit trade schools are at the forefront of offering courses in newer, burgeoning fields — many of which are simply not established at regular colleges. This adaptability makes for-profit colleges the better choice for applicants who are serious about gaining skills for in-demand, lucrative fields.
3. For-profit trade schools offer an education model based on competency instead of duration.
For-profit trade schools do far more than develop partnerships with employment programs. There’s also an effort among for-profit institutions to place the emphasis of an education on student competency, as opposed to seat time.
This change marks a drastic shift from traditional education models, where the emphasis is typically placed on the amount of time that a student spends studying a particular topic. In the for-profit sector, there’s an understanding that credit hours alone don’t necessarily equate value in the eyes of employers. When it comes to the job market, things like skills, knowledge, and competency are the true assets that enable applicants to land work.
At for-profit colleges, methods to make teaching more efficient are constantly in development. These methods ensure that students gain the skills that are needed to turn degrees into bona fide credentials for the job market.
With that criteria in place, students that attend for-profit colleges and trade schools graduate with credit hours and by demonstrating professional-level skills in their chosen area. Since the emphasis is on skill-building the most gifted students at for-profit institutions can gain the skills needed in far less time than they would at a regular college. By developing a competency-based educational model, the best for-profit trade schools create a win-win situation for all parties involved: the schools, the students, and the employment bodies looking for new talent.
With their growing reputation for skill-based curriculum, career colleges are increasingly viewed as the most ideal of breeding grounds for new talent among prospective employers. Furthermore, the competency-based model helps students learn at their own pace, and also allows for-profits to graduate individuals in a timelier manner, thus freeing up class slots for newer enrollees while fast-learning students land lucrative positions sooner in life.
The for-profit competency model creates a learning infrastructure in which students are developed as individuals. This model is a refreshing contrast to the square-peg mindset of traditional non-profit learning institutions. This contrast — coupled with the growing wave of criticism toward accreditation in regular schools — is gradually positioning for-profit colleges as a preferable alternative to non-profit colleges.
4. For-profit colleges use less funding from taxpayers than public and not-for-profit schools.
Some people say that too many tax dollars are being swallowed up by schools, welfare, and entitlement programs. Others would say that taxes, while sometimes annoying, are necessary to support basic infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, parks, sidewalks, and garbage collection.
Regardless of where you might stand on the issue of taxation, it’s worth noting that for-profit schools are not reliant on funding from taxpayers than not-for-profit colleges. In a study conducted by Georgetown University researcher Robert J. Shapiro and economist Nam D. Pham, it was found that for-profit colleges take less than a third as much government funds as schools in the public and non-profit sectors. Some for-profit trade schools, like Vista College, take no direct government funding.
5. Career colleges do more with their money to help make a better education system for their students.
Public and not-for-profit schools might currently dominate the higher learning marketplace, but they’re doing far less to maximize their funds in ways that would benefit students in the long run.
The main problem here is that non-profit colleges can’t seem to figure out the right way to spend their money — most of which goes to building lavish dorms, eateries, and workout facilities to attract applicants. All of this spending can leave little for these schools to spend on developing programs that give students the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in today’s job market.
When paired with a learning environment in which students are rubber-stamped based on seat time — regardless of skills gained — the consumer amenities of today’s public campuses can cause tangible skills to be less important than the campus’s modern services and facilities.
As recently as 2007, spending on post-secondary education accounted for 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in the United States. This more than doubled the 1.5 percent of likewise spending in other developed nations. With all things considered, the biggest problem with school funding is not that too much public money is being earmarked for schools. The problem is that too many schools are misspending their money. The exceptions, of course, are for-profit colleges, which focus their funds in the areas that help students graduate with job prospects.
6. For-profit colleges have a better graduation rate than non-profit colleges and universities.
In comparison to non-profit colleges, for-profit trade schools turn out a greater number of graduating students on a year-by-year basis. According to data compiled by the U.S. Education Department, students who have a lack of high school diploma, for example, are only 17 percent as likely to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree as students who have their high school diplomas. At for-profit colleges, students without a high school diploma are 24 percent as likely to earn two or four-year degrees.
These numbers might not seem like a huge improvement over regular schools, but it at least means that, when driven, roughly one in four students with unique challenges will graduate when attending a for-profit college vs non-profit college, and it will all be accomplished with less cost to taxpayers.
As more non-traditional students enroll in college, these numbers are sure to increase. After all, few people can get by these days on a minimum wage salary. People in their late 20s who dropped out of high school or passed on college are coming to the realization that a college degree is likely their only way to achieve more.
There are also untold numbers of workers who made their way into fields back when the barrier of entrance was lower in various trades. Such people will often enroll in college to update their skill sets and to stay competitive amidst rising standards within their industries. For many of these people, the objective is twofold — to hold up their end among younger, more educated talent, and to stay on top of newer, potentially disruptive technologies.
In any case, such people could account for a growing segment of students at for-profit trade schools in the years ahead. As career colleges develop improved methods for helping attendees who don’t fit the conventional student profile, there should be a rising number of first-time graduates who didn’t enter college right after completing high school.
7. For-profit colleges generally provide better education because we are disciplined by the job market.
The success of any school primarily relies on the ability of its staff to help the vast majority of its students complete their degrees. Without that cycle of success, a school will gain a poor reputation in the marketplace and ultimately close its doors.
For-profit trade colleges and trade schools have strived to prove themselves amidst the fierce completion of not-for-profit and public schools. At for-profit colleges, the objective is to see students actually succeed in the job market with the skills and knowledge they gain from their studies, whether a class takes place in a traditional classroom or online environment. For the students of for-profit trade schools, this unique commitment to skill-building and job-finding is invaluable.
As anyone who’s attended a regular college knows, the question of whether employment actually awaits in the outside world can be worrisome throughout a two or four-year degree program. Students at for-profit colleges have an extra-level of assurance that other students lack — an added commitment on the part of the school to the post-graduation career prospects of every student who completes their studies.
Of course, it’s been somewhat of an uphill battle on the part of for-profits to establish legitimacy in the broader educational marketplace. This reputation is because for-profit schools are a newer type of institution, and therefore lack the prestige that has long been granted to public and non-profit schools.
In many ways, however, this situation is merely a case of history repeating itself. After all, there was once a time when land-grant and community colleges were the new players on the block, and both have since become primary options among millions of students pursuing higher educations.
8. For-profit colleges use up-to-date technology and provide online learning environments.
Of all the innovations that for-profit colleges and trade schools have brought to the educational playing field, one of the most important has been the manner in which they have leveraged information technology. With this innovation, for-profit colleges have been able to offer some of the best courses within an online environment — a common setting for many for-profit study programs.
The Department of Education recently observed that courses held online are often more engaging than classes held in the classroom. In its drive to improve this type of learning even further, the for-profit sector has a number of advanced curriculum specialists whose primary function is to continually innovate, develop, and fine-tune the content of online courses so that the leaders of tomorrow can get the most advanced educations today.
Consider the Possibility of Attending a For-Profit Trade School
By staying on top of a mounting list of reasonable demands on the educational front, career colleges can appeal to to an ever-growing range of consumers and lawmakers alike. For-profit schools could lose their standing if they don’t focus on issues that plague regular colleges, such as soaring student loans, unresolved veteran matters, and the high prevalence of low-paying jobs being handed to graduates nationwide. For-profit trade schools are working to be a leading player on the postsecondary stage.
If you’re ready to get started on a promising career path, Vista College, a for-profit trade school, can arm you with the skill sets and knowledge levels demanded by employers in numerous fields.
Day and night, we offer a range of online and on ground courses for various two and four-year degree programs. With eight campus locations in Texas and New Mexico, Vista is among the nation’s best for-profit colleges. Visit us online today to learn more about our programs.