14 March, 2007

The College Scam (92%)

What is it with the number "92%"? I've decided over the last month that whenever anyone quotes me a placement rate of "ninety-two percent" that they're most likely being both untruthful and running a scam.

Last week I asked for information about medical coding. I need to work at home and am tired of what I presently do, so I figured a change would be good. I got at least a dozen emails from various people with concrete information about the field. While I was waiting for those emails I did some calling around to various local for-profit career colleges.

It would seem that the world is full of people who are sick of their current job, wish they could make more money and have swallowed the You Must Have A College Degree line. I personally have bundles of college credits. I can tell you all about the Soviet governmental system, go into excruciating detail about scientific methodology, banter about the high points in human philosophy and analyse fairy tales and novels. Imagine my surprise when none of these skills translated directly into employability. The best use of my college education so far has been the ability to write a few mildly interesting blog posts. Whee!

But these colleges--these for-profit schools--have figured that out. And they've got their patter down to a science. For somewhere between twelve and twenty thousand dollars anyone can receive either a degree or a certification in some type of technical discipline. The placement rate into jobs for these graduates is (you guessed it) 92%. At every single school. University of Phoenix. Tennessee Career College. Remington College. Southeastern Career College.

Now of course I was already wary of "92%", seeing as that was the number the J L Kirk lady gave us. I think from now on I'm going to call "92%" the Carny Number. It's close enough to one hundred to seem like success, but unrounded enough to look factual.

And here is where I say how much I love my readers and other bloggers. Because while I spent most of last Thursday being fed the 92% garbage from various tech schools, I got a whole lot of pure knowledge via email. Tons of truth were laid down in my inboxes. The truth is that there is a glut on the Medical Coder market. You do have to have a degree for medical coding, usually something along the lines of an associate's in Healthcare Adminsitration. The one-year tech certification is not enough. And there are really no at-home jobs available. If you are in the field for a number of years then you can earn a sort of "work-at-home" status, but the major Nashville hirers are all for in-office work. And here's the kicker. A career in medical coding pays somewhere between $25K and $32K. That's a very poor return on your investment in a degree.

The sad fact is that most degrees are good for the knowledge only. Unless you become a degreed licensed professional, i.e. a doctor,nurse, teacher, lawyer or engineer--one of the career paths where a degree is required to become licensed to practice--once you're out in the world of work your college education is nothing more than a nice set of books in boxes in storage. Pretty much everyone knows that by now. The For Profit colleges are playing tricks on people's minds. The public see medicine and law as solid careers, and know that you have to have a degree to be a doctor or lawyer. So these very expensive schools charge a lot of money to give you degrees to be a Medical Secretary or a Paralegal. It isn't worth it, especially knowing you can get the same type of degree for a third the cost from MTSU or TSU. I'm 92% certain of that.

22 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, March 14, 2007, Blogger Lynnster said...

I need to send you an email - not about coding but something potentially else. Look for it shortly...

 
At 9:17 PM, March 14, 2007, Blogger Lee said...

Unfortunately, my brother is in the opposite situation. He's trying to become a cop, and he is pretty much qualified, five years in the Marine Corps guarding embassies in the Middle East and all, but now he needs a piece of paper saying he's smart, so he is going for a degree.

I agree with what you say above, but adding to the conversation.

 
At 10:19 AM, March 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10 years ago I got a job in marketing making $36k. On the job application they asked if I had a degree. I left the question blank because I figured telling them I completed only 3 full years of college while working full time for 10 years in the marketing field would automatically put me on the reject list.

So I got the job, worked there for a month, made all kinds of progress for the company and then one day Ms. human resources shows up in my office with a grave look on her face. She said they found out I didn't finish school and would have to fire me. I went to the department head to discuss it and he told me there was nothing he would do because he needed a college grad. I told him I had far more experience than a college grad with proven successes. He told me...get this...he couldn't make an exception because it was costing him a lot of money to send his son to school and it wouldn't be fair to give this job to someone who didn't have a degree. Fair to whom?

Funny thing is, during my university years while I was already working full time in marketing, the school was teaching outdated marketing tactics that were old and not used in the real world anymore. At work we used all the latest techniques and technology, stuff the university wasn't even teaching yet. Oh well.

 
At 6:04 PM, March 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you may be wrong. I am a college graduate from a career college in Fort Collins, Colorado called IBMC (Institute of Business and Medical Careers). I got an Assoicates Degree in Medical billing and Coding and now I work at a hospital making over 35K per year. I would not have got this without the education. I think you may be right about some schools but not mine.

 
At 2:29 PM, October 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have degrees and wihout them I would be limited to the types of jobs I could apply for. What you people who have not finished school must realize is that if you don't want to get a degree don't try to justify it by stating that its worthless or you have more experience than someone with a college degree and you should get the job because of that. Many jobs require a degree and if you want these jobs get a degree, don't complain about those who have degrees that lack experience but still get the jobs. If you have so much valuable experience get a degree you are bound to get the job over the less qualified people. One person said they finished three years of college. Why hadn't you finished yet? Some employers may not hire you because you have not completed what you started. I am not really sure why you didn't finish school, but this is what some employers may think. But you left the section on your application that asked if you had a degree blank. If you knew the job required a college degree why did you jepordize your furture employment by not telling the employer this. I would have fired you too for dishonesty.

 
At 12:24 PM, June 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that your comment on the AMERICAN college schooling system is a very radical idea........thank you for having the guts to say the words that most college students soon find out eventually. College is a scam!!!!!!! It should be illegal to market colleges the way they do these days. They should give money back gurantees if students don't graduate, or should given guarentee of some sort, or why don't they just start another scam,, and sell insurance to students in case they don't graduate. Wow.... I hope I don't get stuck to a cross for saying this stuff.....sorry Mom and Dad,,, its different times,,,the Why Us generation is having to learn the eternal lesson,,,, YOUR EITHER IN,,,,, OR,,,, YOUR EITHER OUT....... So,, I wish I could get in with the PISS off the Money Greeding Pricks,,, which is 92% of the people who tell you,,, get a college degree..... Oooops, I'm out. Cya

Best of luck to all that are having to face all those bricks still....

 
At 8:42 PM, December 08, 2008, Blogger Daniel said...

Yes. College is a Scam. Here is why. A college that offers a degree in something that will not compensate the investor/student's money with ten years from the job they attain with the degree, is a rotten ruthless disgusting scam. And the worst part about schools that offer degrees in bullshit like philosophy, or art, any kind of ART degree or a BFA, is that people who graduate with these degrees can only make a living by perpetuating the problem and becoming teachers of these classes.

I took a year of school, got into the BFA program, received straight A's, got on the dean's list, within a year, I dropped out, taught myself actionscript coding, taught myself the entire adobe creative suite, and within 8 months of dropping out, I make 60K a year as an art director for a major magazine.

Here's my advice. If you are in school for Art/Design, drop out. Why? Because no one looks at your degree, they look at your portfolio.
If you are in school for philosophy, drop out. Why? Because either you're going to ruin someone else's life by making them pay 40K to get a worthless degree, or you're going to destroy your own chances of getting a deserving job.


My second arguement is this, why should you give into some backwards system to become a cop, or a teacher, or a lawyer? Why not just study the law independantly, teach your own communities. Start your own businesses. Buy as much land as you can. And completely give up on this retarded co-dependant system. People who have college degrees are so completely brainwashed and victimized by this thought they they "need" a degree to be "successful", its hilarious. I guess its hard to admit after spending 40K and four years of your life, you screwed up big time.

drop out. drop out. drop out. drop out. drop out. drop out. drop out.

 
At 12:17 PM, January 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely believe college is a scam. I have a 3.7 Gpa after a year and a half of chemical engineering at a top engineering school. But guess what I do not receive any aid. And if one more person tells me that aid is out there if i try BULLSHIT I have talked to everyone I can who works at my school signed up and searched through multiple scholarship sites. Guess what, there just aren't any scholarships for a middleclass white kid. Too bad that I'm paying for my education not my parents even though their income determines if I get aid. Engineering is not something you can attain without going to school though. If I could just take a test and get employed I would. I don't even go to classes I teach myself everything from the books yet I pay some jackass's 10k a semester to "teach me" or as I see it to administer me exams. :D

 
At 10:00 PM, February 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst part? They want you to "give back" to the university after you graduate.

 
At 12:29 AM, February 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from TN also. It's a dead state in terms of career opportunities and has been even since before the latest recession.

Those people trying to contradict you by saying they would not be where they are without their degree...the truth is a degree is most useful in one of two situations: 1) you got it in one of the few select fields that are really in demand, and/or 2) you earned it a long time ago back when education really DID matter in this nation and, consequently, got your job a long time ago. If you're coming out of school now and you're not studying something like accounting or medicine/nursing, you can forget it. Look at job ads nowadays--all employers care about is work experience. Spending years in school puts you in a hole, because when you get out everyone else your age who went straight to work has the work experience you probably don't have.

I bought into the "education opens doors"-type arguments. I have a college degree and a law degree, both from top universities. I am currently unemployed. When I graduated from college, I was unemployed until I enrolled in law school, because I didn't know the right people and had no work experience. I thought getting a law degree would end unemployment, but it turns out the majority of legal employers also value work experience more than just having a law degree and what kind of school you attend. Most law ads I see want at least one year work experience; many want more--and some of these really pay ridiculously low salaries considering you spent 3 years in law school and are hundreds of thousands in debt for it.

Both my older sisters went to significantly less prestigious schools than I did--one has a degree from a community college (only because my parents made her go) and the other did study something "worthless" like English--and neither have graduate degrees, but they did things like work at McDonalds and JCPenny while going to school, building up management and customer service skills/experience. Today, they both have decent jobs, and one of them is always getting good promotions and makes more money than her husband does. When they get jobs or promotions, their education is usually not mentioned--their work experience is.

 
At 12:34 AM, February 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And adding to my comment directly above, when I say employers want work experience...they want it in the exact same field you're applying for jobs in, sometimes in the exact same type organization. So in my case, it's catch-22: I am a recent law school graduate who can't get a job practicing law at least in part because I never have practiced law before. And my school is even worse with their placement percentages--they claim stuff like 99% of students are employed within 9 months after graduating. What they leave out is some of these people wait tables, some don't work in the field they got their degree in, etc.

 
At 12:40 AM, August 29, 2009, Blogger Anthony said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. I want to share news aboutcollege which is offers beyond-the- classroom experience to students in the rapidly-expanding industries of Health Care, Criminal Justice, Business, and Computers. Don't miss out on great career opportunities.

 
At 1:21 AM, September 23, 2009, Blogger zhara said...

I went to a community college for 5years while I was working and got a degree in computer technology. The degree was so useless by the time I graduated that the school dropped the program the same year. I could not get a job unless it was volunteering, so I decided to further my education. I picked a private (expensive) online school and I take 1 class a semester. The school sticks it to me by charging me registration and tuition fees totalling about $4,000 a semester even though I go part-time taking one class a semester, because I work. I believe that I will have a good degree (forensics) when I am done, but I will not have the experience to enter the field and get a job. Then I need to get a license by taking a crash course which cost another $3,000 and exam fee $295. All totaled the first college costs about $8,000 for an in state associate's degree. The second college was about $80,000 and another $2,000 for licenses and material. All this just to be told that I do not have enough experience. I have been going to school for 8 years and I have one more to finish and then I need certs.

School is the biggest waste of money ever. I have $100, 000 in debt. It costs way to much I have to pay tuition even though I am taking 1 online course per semester? I had dreams of working in a field that interests me. Now with crushing debt I realize that the college has ruined my life (forget the dreams).

 
At 1:09 AM, December 04, 2009, Anonymous college jobs said...

This is a great reading. Thanks for the post. we have audience that like to read this kind of posts. we will add this to our site. I have a suggestion for a great site that helps to provide all the information about college and university for the higher academic study for the better career so that the aspirants will able to get proper information regarding their career and studies.Thanking you. college jobs

 
At 6:44 AM, June 12, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

College IS a scam. But depending on the program, you can benefit from the transfer of knowledge. In the work world, it doesn't really matter, until you're up for a promotion. Usually that is the deciding factor: "Does this person have the degree?" It really sucks.

I have an MBA and I'm doing fine. I worked my way through college, something kids will have to do if they want to be hired on the way out. Either that or JUST DON'T GO! There is a difference between those who went to college and others who didn't. Often the college kids were actually exposed to a wide range of ideas something the non-college kids often do not have ---and it shows. Of course, there are many exceptions, just that I notice it all the time when talking about the history of ideas, science, and business practices. That said, there are plenty of millionaires who never went to school. Go to a state school and community college if you really think you need that piece of paper and work so you build the experience and don't have to take out loans for "living expenses."

One way I got out of the crushing debt is to work in public service, doing something good for others, and have my loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the IBR repayment plan. Of course, you'll need DIRECT loans, not private loans, to repay this way.

 
At 4:06 AM, September 10, 2010, Anonymous watches said...

College IS a scam. But depending on the program, you can benefit from the transfer of knowledge. In the work world, it doesn't really matter, until you're up for a promotion. Usually that is the deciding factor: "Does this person have the degree?" It really sucks.

I have an MBA and I'm doing fine. I worked my way through college, something kids will have to do if they want to be hired on the way out. Either that or JUST DON'T GO! There is a difference between those who went to college and others who didn't. Often the college kids were actually exposed to a wide range of ideas something the non-college kids often do not have ---and it shows. Of course, there are many exceptions, just that I notice it all the time when talking about the history of ideas, science, and business practices. That said, there are plenty of millionaires who never went to school. Go to a state school and community college if you really think you need that piece of paper and work so you build the experience and don't have to take out loans for "living expenses."

One way I got out of the crushing debt is to work in public service, doing something good for others, and have my loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the IBR repayment plan. Of course, you'll need DIRECT loans, not private loans, to repay this way.

 
At 3:22 PM, December 04, 2010, Blogger cpascal said...

It would be good if there weren't so many employers who insist on college degrees for jobs that don't have anything to do with the things you learn at college. Also, it would be good if there was more in the way of credit-by-exam programs like the Cleps. Although it's possible to test out of the first two years of college, and to get an associate's degree through testing, there really need to be more options for getting upper-level college credit through testing. I noticed the post by the engineering student who's doing most of his learning by himself with the textbooks.

 
At 11:21 AM, December 29, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kTo any student who is wanting to attend a for profit college. Intercoast College is a scam. If you did attend this school which has 11 different locations in several states, chances are you dont have a degree in anything. Please email me and I can give you more info. I WENT TO SCHOOL THERE AND WORKED THERE AND YOU WILL BE SHOCKED AT WHAT GOES ON. kelleymrose@yahoo.com

 
At 11:25 AM, December 29, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To any student who is wanting to attend a for profit college. Intercoast College is a scam. If you did attend this school which has 11 different locations in several states, chances are you dont have a degree in anything. Please email me and I can give you more info. I WENT TO SCHOOL THERE AND WORKED THERE AND YOU WILL BE SHOCKED AT WHAT GOES ON. kelleymrose@yahoo.com

 
At 3:05 PM, December 10, 2011, Blogger jay_jay26 said...

Another great source of education combined with work experience is the military. I'm surprised that nobody that had posted in here is not a vet. Is a bit shocking how many time is wasted in the civilian education system; while the military trains somebody to be a network administrator in less than 19 weeks, (with certs like A+, etc.) along with the work experience, to get the same education and experience in the civilian sector, it take over four years.

Yes, I do believe that the civilian institutions are a scam; they are teaching outdated systems, outdated languages (computer languages), and make you pay for the certs.

 
At 6:45 AM, April 09, 2012, Blogger ganesh said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again



Medical Coding

 
At 11:08 AM, November 25, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think college is a scam too. I recently enrolled in an excelerated college education program at a private college. This is suppose to be a fast track way to educating adults who feel that they are too old and/or too busy to attend the traditional setting.I took on 21 credits(including my regular degree requirements on top of my nursing prereqs), because my real goal is nursing but for me to attend any excelerated nursing courses in my own school as well as anywhere else I have to have a B.S. in another subject just to participate. WHAT? So I told my school that I wanted to walk for my associates so that I would at least have my associate degree if I wanted a career change.

But my real motivation was to avoid nursing schools deciding what "credits" they were going to accept and not accept when I apply to traditional programs(Which is what I will have to do to get my union and job to pay down towards my education). See I figure that when I have an actual degree it can't be disputed and that they will be forced to take it at face value but will have probably require me to take more convoluted classes from the next university that I want to attend so that I may obtain my BSN. I think that the real travesty is that college remains like an unregulated system such as cable. I think you should get only what you need interms of the degree you seek. Not all the extra crap that they require. And I don't think that they should be allowed to play games with the credits that they will and will not take.

Frankly I think its bull and disrespectful to the student who has already poured so much time in their education. I dropped $10,000dollars for my recent 21 credits and I will apply as a traditional nursing student in the fall.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home