For-profit tech colleges: Can employers trust them?

IT-oriented colleges have come under fire for high costs and deceptive practices

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Few employers would comment on how they view degrees from for-profit versus not-for-profit schools. However, Ben Patz, president of Presidio Networked Solutions South, says a degree from a for-profit school "doesn't make the eyebrows go up" at the $1.3 billion professional and managed services engineering firm. What's more important, he says, is that an applicant "have a very hands-on grasp of the technology that we're dealing with" and a passion for learning. "It's a brutal field to stay on top of things," he says, so "you need to be constantly training."

Regardless of where they get their degree, says Patz, it helps if a student also possesses a certificate in a specific vendor's technology. "If they've done that, that shows a real interest. Those people get rated way higher on our list," he says, regardless of which school they attended.

Many students also like the "real world" experience they get from the part-time, still-in-the-field instructors that often staff for-profit colleges. "It gives you more information on what's going on in the real world, compared to going to a community college or university where the teacher is just in the classroom all day," says PC client admin Torres. "As technology changes, I would rather be taught by a teacher who knows exactly what is going on right now, rather than teaching me what happened a month ago or even years ago."

So if your local community college can't find space for you or you're spending half your life in airplanes -- or in Afghanistan -- a for-profit school could be the ticket to an IT degree or enhanced IT skills. Just choose carefully, and know you're likely to pay a lot more for that easy access.

This story, "For-profit tech colleges: Can IT pros and employers trust them?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in IT careers at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

This story, "For-profit tech colleges: Can employers trust them?" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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