In searching for the best online school, one of the most important things you can do for your future is to research your school choices. There are a number of things you should be looking for to ensure your success in your online education.
First you’ll want to make sure the school is licensed in the state it’s in. We’re not just talking a business license here – anybody can get that. What I’m referring to is a license for education. All states have a rigorous evaluation method for approving or certifying schools that operate within their state.
This is done in an effort to protect the public, and criteria is usually strict. Go ahead and call the state licensing board and ask, if you can’t find it on the state’s education website. (MTACC has been certified by SCHEV in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2003.)
You may find that some schools are not licensed, and this is a red flag, especially if they say they’re not required to be licensed. At this time (late 2015) authentic schools with real programs and instructors are required to be licensed in all 50 states. If they’re not licensed, then no one is looking out for the consumer . . . and there is no one to hold them to specific standards of education. If a school doesn’t take the time and effort to become licensed, what type of shortcuts are they going to take with YOUR education?
Your research should uncover whether students of any school you’re considering are happy and feel like they’re receiving a quality education. The best way to check that is to check on the school’s history with previous students and graduates, as that is probably the best indicator of the type future YOU can expect with any particular institution.
It’s important to choose a school with a BBB rating of A+. Here is a link that explains the BBB rating system in detail: http://www.bbb.org/council/overview-of-bbb-grade. A school with an A+ rating means there have been few or no complaints against them, they’ve been in business for a good amount of time, and they are likely to interact with their students and graduates well – all things that mean a big thumbs up in your research. (MTACC proudly holds an A+ rating with the BBB and first became a BBB Accredited member back in 2003.)
The Better Business Bureau evaluates a business’s standards, compliance to ethical practices, and their commitment to their customers to resolve issues quickly and ethically. Every BBB Accredited Business is monitored for continuing adherence to BBB standards.
We also suggest you always do a thorough Google search on the schools you’re considering to see if there are any negative things said about them or a long history of dissatisfied students. Remember, if there is a problem, students will talk! If there are no negative complaints, or if what you find is positive, it’s likely that the school has mostly satisfied and happy students.
After researching those things mentioned above, you’ll likely have narrowed down your choices even further. You next step, however, is probably the most important: Give each school a call and talk to someone in depth about your career goals, their programs, and how they can help YOU. By talking to the school in depth, you’ll be able to get a feel for the atmosphere, the depth of customer service, and the responsiveness that you need for a great online education.
When talking to a school on the phone, see if you can discern if the representative is really listening to you or if you feel like they’re reading from a canned transcript – if the latter, chances are you’ll be just another number to them. Instead, make sure the school asks questions about YOU before giving you information about their programs. After all, it’s YOUR education that’s important here.
Speaking of talking on the phone, one of the things we’ve found is that the larger the school is, sometimes the smaller the student feels. Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, consider whether you’d prefer a more personal approach when it comes to asking questions, having things explained, or getting personalized instruction based on YOUR needs. (MTACC gives you your own instructor in our Advanced Medical Transcription and Editing program, and your education gets very personalized as you get nearer the end. Read here about how our instruction is one of the highest caliber instruction in the industry and how we train our students.)
Feel free to ask about the school’s current student base and how many of their graduates are employed. If they don’t employ at least 9 out of 10 students (90% job placement rate), you’re taking a chance that you’ll become another statistic. (Note: MTACC currently has a 100% job placement rate for its Advanced Medical Transcription and Editing program.)
One thing we also suggest is to ask the school to give you the name and contact information of a few graduates near you whom you can call in order to find out how their experience was. Ask if the graduate had a good experience with the school’s Job Placement program (if they have one.) Again, you’re looking for a broad range of opinions so don’t be afraid to ask hard questions.
School choice is important to your success as you get ready for your new career. You need a school that produces happy and successful graduates that can pass employment tests. Also, finding a school with establish contacts of employers in the industry is very important. See our other articles for additional things you should be looking for in a high quality online education.
Be smart, wise, and diligent in your choice for excellent online training program. Some research now will pay off down the road for you in job prospects, the ability to perform well on the job, and YOUR economic future.