3 questions before you commit to a school or program

Thinking about starting—or maybe re-starting—college or a training program?

student on computerBe smart and think about demand and value before you invest money or time into education.

This simple research can help you identify skills that employers are looking for, career fields that are projected to need workers, and whether your selected program will give you bang for your buck. Get started with these three questions.

1) What’s the local job outlook for the career this training will prepare you for?

Simply put, you may not want to study ski-lift repair if you’re planning to live in Florida. There may be very few job openings.

Learn about the job outlook for a career before you decide to invest in training. Get started with CareerOneStop’s Occupation Profile. Look for the following details about occupations of interest to you:

  • How many years of education does this occupation typically require?
  • How many new jobs are expected in coming years?
  • What’s the usual salary?

2) What kinds of skills, knowledge, and credentials are employer slooking for?

Take the time to target your classes and training programs to help you gain the skills you need to land a job. Discover what employers are looking for from any of these sources:

  • Talk to a career counselor at a college or training program. Ask them about placement rates for graduates.
  • Network with people who already work in the field or industry. Ask them about what’s in demand in their field.
  • Look up job listings on CareerOneStop’s Job Finder to see the types of skills, certifications, experience and other requirements that employers include.
  • View an Occupation Profile to find the skills, knowledge, tasks, tools and technology, and training related to any occupation.

3) How do you know this school or training program is worth the money?

Take these steps to research the value of a training program or school:

  • Visit with admissions and financial aid staff at your schools of choice. Ask about total costs, graduation rates, loan amounts, and employment of graduates.
  • Check to see if a school or program is accredited by visiting their website or the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation Search.
  • Thinking about college? Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard to find out more about a college’s affordability and value so you can make more informed decisions about which college to attend.


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