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If you're planning to attend college, protect yourself and your GI Bill. Choose a school that won't leave you in an economic lurch without the education you hoped to get. For more information, watch the PBS Frontline video,"College, Inc.", or visit the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs to view "Educating Sergeant Pantzke". To learn more about the GI Bill and your rights scroll down to DON'T BE A VICTIM (below) and also visit
Numerous for-profit schools have been springing up across the country and on-line. For all we know, the on-line schools may be somewhere in a third world country. The primary purpose of for-profit schools is to part you from your money and your GI funds without giving you the education that you deserve. Remember, you worked for that GI Bill money; it's yours, and even if it looks as if it isn't coming directly out of your pocket, you need to protect it as if it were money in your wallet. Once it's gone, it's highly unlikely that you'll get it back. Both civilians and service personnel have become their victims.

If you're planning to attend college, first do your homework. A little extra research will save you tons of future heartache and economic hardship. Look for a school that has been around for at least seventy-five years. Search state, local, or city government websites for government-run schools in your area. Don't be fooled by schools that have the word state, city, or other government sounding name after it; contact your government website directly to make sure that it is a bonafide government school. The same holds true for religious colleges because for profit colleges have bought out some religious schools that have gone bankrupt.

In the PBS Frontline video, "Educating Sergeant Pantzke", which aired June 28, 2011, you're advised to stay away from schools that advertise. It's an excellent point because established, "legitimate" schools don't need to advertise aggressively or court you unless you have superior athletic skills. "Legitimate" is in quotes because the for-profit schools are considered legitimate, certified, and accredited, but they may not always deliver what they promise. They will continue to be in business to pick your wallet and the government's pockets unless legislation is passed to stop them.

If you have little knowledge of the college enrollment process and/or aren't sure if you are a good candidate for college, you may want to start with a government run community college. There are several good things about community colleges:
1. They're right in your neighborhood.
2. The cost of education is increasing, but a community college is usually less expensive than four-year colleges.
3. Most four-year colleges will accept most or all of the credits from the community college, which isn't always true of the for-profit schools.
4. After you complete all the required credits, the equivalent of two years, you will receive an associate degree. If you go to a four year college, you have to complete the equivalent of four years for a bachelor's degree.

If you suspect that you're currently attending a for-profit school, here's a few things you can do:
1. Look for a legitimate school for next semester.
2. Ask the new school how many credits they'll allow you to transfer from the for-profit school.
3. If you discover that something isn't kosher about your present school, inform the Department of Veterans Affairs.
4. Check with employers in the field to see what opinion they have of your school.  If they don't have much faith in it, you know you need to look for another school.

To find schools in your area, google your state and follow the links. For instance, when I googled California state colleges, I found a list of schools in California. For those of you who live in the New York area, you can visit NYS schools.  Here's a partial list of NYS trusted schools:
All SUNY and CUNY colleges, which include community colleges and four year schools that also have graduate programs.
Private schools in NYC area and vicinity: Columbia, Pace, Cornell, Fordham, NYU, Berkeley, Long Island University, St. John's.
March 12, 2013
Updated: February 24, 2015

Veterans come from all walks of life.  Some of you have studied beyond high school and have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees while others may or may not have completed high school.  Regardless of your educational background, you might want to consider continuing education classes or technical, vocational, and business schools as well as colleges.  Such courses are a fair or good option, especially for individuals who are looking for a change that will require less time in the classroom.  Continuing education courses are for people from all walks of life and completion of such classes will provide you with knowledge, but the courses might not lead to a degree, license, or certificate.  Some colleges might give you credit for those classes so it’s always wise to ask.  The continuing education courses that will help you apply for a state license or certificate might lead to a new career and to extra money in your pocket.  The information that appears after this paragraph is for individuals who want to pursue courses that will lead to certification or licensing with minimal time in a learning environment.  For instance, in New York State a crane operator who works in construction needs forty (40) hours of training.  Other skills, such as locksmithing or art, can be learned at home through bonafide home study courses.  The difference between learning a craft from a friend or through You Tube as opposed to an accredited school is that the certificate or license that you’ll receive will permit you to hire yourself out with confidence and with the backing of that coveted paper.

There are three types of continuing education courses: classes for people with or without a high school diploma, courses for students who have completed college, and training sessions for professionals with graduate and/or doctoral degrees.  Several continuing education courses allow students to prepare or to expand their knowledge in diverse fields.  They range from preparing a non-high school graduate to obtain a G.E.D to a medical doctor certifying him/herself in a different field, such as an OB- GYN opting to become a liver specialist or a psychiatrist or enriching his/her life with classes in dance, art, music, photography, or any other interest that he/she overlooked while working hard for a medical degree.  The following information will probably help someone with minimal education to consider or plan for a rewarding future.

Various continuing education courses can be completed in as little as several concentrated hours over the span of a weekend or a month or in six to twenty-four months in one to several hour slots.  When you complete courses of this nature, you may apply for and hopefully receive a state certificate or license that will allow you to enter your chosen career.  Some certification might require you to pass a written exam and others might only require you to present proof that you have completed the necessary training.  Each state government agency might have its own requirements so check with the state government where you plan to work.  Prior to enrolling in a class or course of study, get the goals in writing from the school that is offering those courses (specifying what they will teach you and informing you if those classes can lead to certification or licensing).  The information might be in the school’s brochure, pamphlet, website, or e-mail.  Wherever it is, hold onto that information for as long as you may need it.  Get that written information before the start of a semester so you won’t be caught in a rush or having to pay late fees.  Here are a few careers that individuals have pursued in continuing education classes through community colleges or other institutions:

Cosmetology and barber, and other services related to beauticians and barbers, including manicures and pedicures, shaving, make-up application, hair conditioning and coloring, etc.

Pet grooming and veterinarian assistants.

Medical, nursing, and dental assistants: learn ultrasound, how to draw blood (phlebotomy), prepare billing statements, become an eye care or ear care technician, dental hygienist, etc.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics (require additional training)

Other public service jobs: teacher’s assistant (paraprofessional) or aide, school secretary, notary public; security guard; court clerk, stenographer, or bailiff.

Fields in transportation: train engineer, bus driver, cab driver.  Extra skill jobs: ferry and tug boating, flying.

Contracting services: electrician, plumber, painter, locksmith, crane operator, scaffolding operator.  Extra skill jobs: architect, building engineer.

Computer skills: computer technology and/or application and literacy.  As a techie, you know how to repair hardware and/or software (such as physically repairing and installing parts of a computer device or knowing the operating system and detecting and destroying viruses).  If you’re trained in applications and literacy, you’ll know the ins and outs of programs, such as how to work with Microsoft’s Word, Excel, or Publisher; Adobe’s PDF, Flash, or Paint Shop; Corel’s WordPerfect, or other software programs.
Photographer and Photojournalist.  With all the digital cameras out there, I thought that photography was a dying art.  I was wrong.  People still enjoy working with manual SLR and camcorder cameras (for both still and motion photography).  Artists like the personal touch and enjoy setting the lighting, filtering, definition, and speed that those cameras demand and offer.

Train to become a food handler or inspector, chef, and/or restaurateur.

Forest ranger and other fields in parks management.

Farming, gardening, and animal husbandry.

Handling and applying insecticides and other hazardous materials.

Driving Instructor; Commercial driver

Oceanography assistants: handling fish and marine mammals

Zoo Keepers

Dancing, Tennis, Golfing, Exercise, and various types of instructors, including driving.
If you seek other challenging fields, read on and/or seek advice from someone whose footsteps you’d like to follow.