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Checking out schools

Concerned about a school’s accreditation and reputation? Check these sites before you enroll.

Dear Molly: I know you’ve said in past columns that you can’t comment on how good a specific IT training school is because you’ve never taken classes there. But isn’t there some organization that accredits these places or evaluates them in some way? I want to take some computer training, but I don’t want to waste my time or money. Any help you can give would be better than the promises I’m getting from all these schools.

Molly says: If there is a business publication in your area that specializes in talking about IT, check with that publication to see if it does an annual roundup of training schools in the area. Some of these publications will evaluate schools for this kind of directory, but others simply provide side-by-side comparison information. In any event, that’s one way to get some useful information about the IT training schools in your area.

If you want to check on the credentials (including accreditations) for a specific school, there are several Web sites that provide databases of IT training schools. If you would like to double-check, you can always contact the organization that grants the accreditation to make sure the school really has that status and that the status is current.

American’s Learning eXchange allows you to search for a particular training organization or to locate organizations that offer accreditations. Thus, you can link directly to one of these organizations and search their lists for local training schools.

U.S. News & World Report offers rankings for colleges and ranks them by major. If you are located near any of the top IT schools and those schools have programs for people not pursuing degrees, it’s a good bet that you will find those classes a good investment.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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