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Career Schools

Choosing a Career School

A private postsecondary career school is any for-profit or not-for-profit business maintaining a physical presence in New Hampshire that: Offers training or education in any form or manner, for tuition or a fee, and a) enhances a person's employment, career, trade, professional, or occupational abilities; b) provides for continuing education or certification in one's field, career, trade, profession, or occupation; or, c) fulfills a training or education requirement in one's field, career, trade, profession or occupation.

These schools are non-degree granting institutions that offer courses in a variety of subjects including computer training, medical assisting, nursing, massage therapy, Montessori teacher training, heavy equipment operations, office support, EMT and paramedic, hazardous materials handling, modeling, electrical training, bartending and more. Programs are vocational in nature and range from several days to several years.

Students may spend many hours at their chosen career school and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and are encouraged to consider the following:

  • Choose a licensed school

Any career school meeting the requirements above, must, by state law, be licensed. A list of schools that are licensed to operate in New Hampshire can be found at Career School Directory Acrobat Reader. If you are interested in a school that is not licensed, you may call (603) 271-6443 to see if this school is either a) exempted from licensure, b) is licensed, but not on the Career School Directory yet, or c) is operating illegally. A school operating illegally in New Hampshire may be fined $5,000.00 per month and up to $25,000.00 per year.

  • School bonding

All licensed career schools are required to be bonded. Being bonded means that the student's tuition has some limited protection should the school close and not be able to refund students who have not finished their program.

  • Job placement

Different schools offer different types of job placement; anything from notice of job opportunities to internships. It is unlikely, however, that a school can guarantee job placement. Ask specific questions of any school that guarantees that they will find students a job.

This means that the student has three business days to cancel their enrollment with the school after signing the enrollment agreement. This statement is required to be on any career school contract or enrollment agreement that you sign; if it isn't, please contact this office.

  • Transfer of coursework

Students might want to transfer to another school after completing a course or program. Ask the school whether their courses can be transferred. Some schools have agreements with specific schools or colleges to accept certain courses. If the school has such an agreement, ask for a copy of it. It is entirely up to each school to decide whether it will accept another school's coursework.

  • Cost

It is important to understand the total cost of the program, including the costs of registration, supplies and equipment. If the school wants students to buy books or computers through them, students should do a price check at other stores or online to compare prices. If a loan is taken, it is important to understand interest payments and how they will add up.

  • Refund policy

All career schools are required to comply with state regulated refund policies. If students withdraw after attending 50% of a program, the school is not required to refund any money to the student. Withdrawal prior to the 50% point requires a pro-rata refund per Pos 1111 Chapter 1100.

  • Financial aid

Students should look for a lender that will pay student loans to the school in several installments (called “disbursements”). It is typically in the student's best interest to have the lender send payments for each session (e.g., quarter, trimester, semester, etc) rather than paying the school in one lump sum. (If your school closes, the loan company will hold the student responsible for any money it paid to the school on your behalf. If the lender pays for the entire program up front, students may find themselves responsible for a large sum of money, even if they didn't complete the program.)

  • Read the material

Read all materials provided by the school, especially the enrollment agreement and its refund policy. Make sure that the school's enrollment agreement and refund policy comply with New Hampshire law. Students should not sign anything until they are sure that they understand what they are signing, particularly if they are feeling pressure to sign a document. If a school is pressuring students, please contact this office. Make sure the school provides everything promised in writing. Keep copies of everything, including certificates, tests, attendance records, grade reports, transcripts, etc. If ever there is a question or complaint, or if the school goes out of business, those materials will be extremely helpful.

  • Are you ready to attend a career school?

Students are more successful at career schools when they speak, read, and write English well. If the school does not have an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course, they are encouraged to attend an ESOL course prior to enrolling in a career school. For a listing of schools offering ESOL courses, visit the ESOL listing.

  • Licensing and accreditation

Licensing is a process whereby a government agency (i.e. the New Hampshire Department of Education, Higher Education Division) regulates a school per statutes (laws) and rules.

Accreditation is a process whereby either a regional or national organization evaluates either a school, as a whole, or a program offered by the school according to a set of standards.

Most all career schools in New Hampshire are required to be licensed; only a few career schools in New Hampshire choose to be accredited.

  • A note regarding licensing

Privately owned career schools are required to be licensed by the Department of Education, Higher Education Division, but programs at privately (or publicly) owned colleges and universities are not required to be licensed. For instance, a massage therapy program at a privately owned massage therapy school will be licensed, but a massage therapy program at a college is not governed by career school licensing laws. Other similar programs will include certificate programs at colleges such as bartending, paralegal studies, graphic design, computer programs, medical billing and coding, etc. This may or may not influence whether or not students decide to attend a career school or a college.

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New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711