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thefragile7393 07-01-2014 12:42 PM

Trying to pick a school program
 
What would you do of these options?
There is a for profit school here in town that has two programs I am very interested in. The problem is that one program cannot be found at the cheaper community college level.
The other can be found at one community college-in another city. There is a hybrid online/weekend program that I am missing one pre-req class for. It only accepts students once a year in the spring.
The problem is that the class must be finished before apply....so I would miss out on this application cycle and have to wait until next fall to apply for the spring 2016 class. Or I could attend the same program at the for-profit school in January. There is a HUGE HUGE price difference though.
Or
Forget either of those two programs at both schools...and stay at the community college and go into a program you aren't really interested in but don't hate and it's a lot cheaper.

Linda on the move 07-02-2014 04:48 PM

I don't think you've included some really important information. What do you want to do when you are done? What are the job prospects in that field? How much will that job pay, and how much is the tuition at both schools? How are the 2 schools viewed when looking for jobs? Some for profit schools here don't have great reputations, some do.

How much would your pay for graduating earlier from the for-profit school (and therefore earning more money) offset the increase in tuition for waiting on the CC program?

Based just on what you are saying, I would lean toward the CC program in the other city. I would take the prerequisite now and then be ready to apply. But I don't feel you've included enough for me to say that full out -- there is a lot left out of your message. Also, check to see if the other CC has an agreement with the CC where you live -- I'm doing an on-line program in another city in my state, but pay the lowest rate for tuition because they have an agreement with my county.

One_Girl 07-04-2014 01:19 PM

I would avoid for profit programs. Some have been sued and had to repay the government, my ex attends one that has professors who only have associates degrees and has been unable to get work despite also being a veteran, and a friend who works as a job coach was just telling me the other day that not one of her clients in the last ten years has been able to get a job in their field of study from the for profit school in our area. Community colleges are cheaper and have qualified professors who teach in accredited programs. I'd go with those.

thefragile7393 07-04-2014 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move (Post 17750010)
I don't think you've included some really important information. What do you want to do when you are done? What are the job prospects in that field? How much will that job pay, and how much is the tuition at both schools? How are the 2 schools viewed when looking for jobs? Some for profit schools here don't have great reputations, some do.

How much would your pay for graduating earlier from the for-profit school (and therefore earning more money) offset the increase in tuition for waiting on the CC program?

Based just on what you are saying, I would lean toward the CC program in the other city. I would take the prerequisite now and then be ready to apply. But I don't feel you've included enough for me to say that full out -- there is a lot left out of your message. Also, check to see if the other CC has an agreement with the CC where you live -- I'm doing an on-line program in another city in my state, but pay the lowest rate for tuition because they have an agreement with my county.

Thank you Linda. HEre is some more info.

There are three programs. Occupational Therapy Assistant is my main interest, and this could make the path to being an actual Occupational Therapist thanks to a program at a public university in NM that is for OTAs to get their Masters in OT. It is also only available at the for profit Pima Medical Institute. None at the CC level in the entire state.

Next is Physical Therapy Assistant. PMI has this program, and the only community college program in the state is about 1.5 hours away. The program does have a hybrid online/weekend program. A local university has a Bachelors for PTA for afterward, and I would also go to get my massage therapy licensing, as PTA and massage go together very well. The downfall is that well, it's far, and that is a lot of wear and tear on a car. I wouldn't be going every weekend but it would be frequently of course, since labs have to be done.

Last is Respiratory Therapy, which is available at my local community college. This is the one I am least interested in. I've been told getting the bachelor's is pretty useless...and there are two levels of certification, which means two diff types of testing, paying money twice to take the tests.

I have looked up each job on the government's Bureau of Labor and Stats, I subscribe to Indeed.com's emails on job openings in the state I want to move to for all three areas. I have looked through Indeed's forums and all over trying to get ideas to see if all three fields are saturated or not. The problem is that I can't really get clear answers on any of them to tell for sure, and of course no one knows what the field will hold in several years once I get out. The government website projects OTA and PTA jobs to have the most growth, since supposedly it will fit in with more insurance plans to find it cheaper to pay an assistant to do the work of an OT or a PT. They essentially evaluate and the assistant carries out the plan. However I have seen stories of facilities, for both fields, just hiring more PTs or OTs instead of using assistants (who can only work under a licensed PT or OT).

The community college programs are about 7-11 grand. the PMI versions are 30 grand just for an associates. In doing research public and private non-profits seem to be generally respected....for profit schools not really in general. PMI, from the research I have done with the BBB and other consumer websites, seems to be pretty respected. The flagship school is here and is taken seriously from the employers I have talked to and it's a good school it seems like. BUT...that price.

At that price...going 30,000 into debt for an associates...then doing a bachelor's and masters for OT...we are looking at maybe 50,000 total. A LOT of debt.

I have seen guides that say that your program shouldn't total more than your yearly earnings. The problem is pay varies with experience and in what setting...schools make less, home health and skilled nursing facilities pay more, plus there are so many repayment options that I don't totally know what my monthly repayment would be exactly...however I got a rough idea from a debt calculator and it's close to 400 a month. :irked

It looks like starting out (in pretty much any of the fields) I would make 7 bucks an hour more than I do now. The median ranges....OTA seems to be the higher of the three.

It's like I have too much information....I can't seen to cut through all of it to make a decision. I DO NOT want a mountain of debt. I am a single mom with little help.

JudiAU 07-07-2014 07:15 PM

No for-profit schools. Ever. Ever.

Linda on the move 07-12-2014 08:41 AM

I agree with not using for profit schools.

The other thing is that Arizona has a very responsive community college system. If there were a shortage of OT assistants in the state, there would be a nice cheap program to train them. The fact that there isn't a red flag that not only will you pay a scary amount for your education, you'll have a harder time finding a job when you are done.

I considered getting a masters of the University of Arizona, and calculated that it would cost 20-30K.

30K for an associates in really, really high. At that price, have your considered going directly into bachelors program, doing the gen ed at community college and doing the bachelor's work at a state university?

MeepyCat 07-12-2014 10:11 AM

Have you talked to working OTAs and Ots about their career paths? What degrees did they come in with? If there are only two programs in the state that offer that narrowly specific degree, then maybe you don't need to be so specific, and you might be better off with a more general degree that includes prerequisite coursework for certfication.

I absolutely would not pay the $30k for the for-profit school.

thefragile7393 07-12-2014 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move (Post 17803410)
I agree with not using for profit schools.

The other thing is that Arizona has a very responsive community college system. If there were a shortage of OT assistants in the state, there would be a nice cheap program to train them. The fact that there isn't a red flag that not only will you pay a scary amount for your education, you'll have a harder time finding a job when you are done.

I considered getting a masters of the University of Arizona, and calculated that it would cost 20-30K.

30K for an associates in really, really high. At that price, have your considered going directly into bachelors program, doing the gen ed at community college and doing the bachelor's work at a state university?

I know it's ridiculous, to say the least. I can do the gen ed locally easily. I was wanting to do an online bachelors in Rehabiliation Services at Western New Mexico University, a public non-profit, online and my state gets in-state tuition due to transfer agreements. It alone won't get me a job as a COTA or OT though. I can get a bachelor's in anything and then apply for the Masters program at AT Still University up in Phoenix, which is private non-profit, for their entry-level masters program in OT--the ONLY OT program in the state. That would mean pretty much being unable to work (their FAQ states work would have to be minimal because of the program's rigor) and having to move to Phoenix. I couldn't use WNMU's COTA-OT hybrid bridge program because you have to be a COTA in order to get in.

thefragile7393 07-12-2014 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeepyCat (Post 17803722)
Have you talked to working OTAs and Ots about their career paths? What degrees did they come in with? If there are only two programs in the state that offer that narrowly specific degree, then maybe you don't need to be so specific, and you might be better off with a more general degree that includes prerequisite coursework for certfication.

I absolutely would not pay the $30k for the for-profit school.

For OT a bachelors is required, in any field pretty much, but in order to be an OT you must go through an accredited OT program for a Masters. OTA must go through an OTA program that is accredited in order to practice as one. No other way of getting around it. Same with PTA, RT...all of those fields require you go through specific training programs in order to work in those fields. I have a friend who is an OTA and was working 3 PRN jobs here in town and loved it...she did recently get a full time position with a school district, and she is a pretty recent OTA grad, although she went through an even more expensive program for OTA. She was able to somehow pay up front for it, so she does not have the debt worries I do :eek:


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