Employment Scams on the internet and more, be careful in your job search

Very serious stuff about researching careers, education and colleges on the net, and spending big money.

The employment advisory industry does contain dedicated people who will help you every step of the way. Many employers are very good with their career information and hiring processes, and deliver what they say they'll deliver. The reputable colleges are generally very effective advisers and can deal with career issues as they arise.

Unfortunately, about 80% of the employment and training industries, (ballpark figure), isn't up to those standards, or anything like. There's been a big boom in online education, and it has created risks for people researching their careers.

The bottom line here is that your career path is full of things that make the purely commercial part of the industries money, in one form or another.

They're all trying to sell you something, and it's quite possible it's not what you need.

It may even be just what you don't need. So you do have to be pretty careful in your research of your career and qualifications.

Useless courses and unaccredited degrees are a dime a dozen. Many of them are expensive wastes of time.

Some services also tend to push one product or line of career approach, and leave out other options. That can cost you a lot, in terms of missed opportunities.

For your own sake, don't get too impressed with anything, until you're sure it can deliver what you want.

A lot of care is required in checking your information regarding careers.

Checking out education and career products can get quite tricky, so we've come up with a few very simple ways of making sure you're getting good information.

Education and training: Essential requirements

  • Accreditation/accredited qualifications
  • Academic qualifications and financial obligations
  • Clear fees structure/payment
  • Funding
  • Knowing what you're letting yourself in for from Day One

Accreditation/ accredited qualifications

Accredited courses are those which have official education authorities and industry recognition as formal qualifications.

If you can't find any reference to accreditation, be suspicious. Accreditation is a real selling point for education or training qualifications.

It's one of the most important things about any qualification.

Unless you have accredited qualifications to begin with, you can't do your higher qualifications.

For employment purposes, unaccredited degrees cannot be used as qualifications.

Un-accredited qualifications are, in fact, utterly useless.

They can also be extremely expensive.

If you can't find out directly whether the degree or course is accredited, that's more than enough of a reason to get worried.

Ask someone in the industry to which the course relates.

Ask Alpha Accountancy what they think about a possible course in accountancy you've found:

Is a Certificate II course in advanced financial basket weaving/management advisory services from El Cheapo Bloodsucker Online University worth doing, and would it get you credits as part of your MBA?

No, surprisingly, it isn't, and it won't. In fact there's no such certificate, to start with. It's just a name that looks good. Nobody even knows if there's a Certificate I or III.

They've had applicants from El Cheapo before, and they haven't stopped laughing yet. Nobody ever flunks an El Cheapo course, and the poor souls who really try hard only get a macro as their qualification.

They're not accredited, and never will be, if the industry can help it.

You do not need this.

No accreditation- forget it.

Academic qualifications and financial obligations

Colleges and universities, even the real ones, come in all shapes and sizes.

Check out the college itself. Just search ABCDE College, see what comes up.

If you see thousands of complaints, (it does happen) forget it.

Even the big name colleges have their complainants, and it's often for things like fees, or other relevant things. It's definitely not a waste of time to search and see any possible traps or obstacles.

It's also not unusual to find that some academic qualifications don't quite fit the career path you've painstakingly been researching.

This is where you need to be absolutely sure you know what you're doing.

You're signing up for what will be the defining qualifications of your career.

So let's be absolutely clear:

When you sign up for any academic qualification, you're taking on a legal commitment, and a financial obligation.

In some cases, a big one.

Just briefly, consider the possibilities of signing up for something like the unaccredited scenario above, because you would be obliged to pay for it.

The fact that it's unaccredited doesn't mean you don't have to pay for it.

Similarly, even an accredited course involves possibly signing up for something you don't need, which adds costs with no return values.

Very important:

When checking out your degree, a well mapped out course can give you a lot of the prerequisites for your further studies.

You can literally get all your basic studies done, and really manage your times well.

You can use electives as stepping stones to further qualifications.

That's a well planned degree, with a lot of scope for development.

Don't get lazy with your electives, either.

They're not a sort of filler for your degree, something you do as decoration for it, like an optional extra. They should be possible springboards for degrees or higher qualifications in themselves.

Make sure every part of your studies is a career asset, and is relevant to your further studies.

If you're really happy about your choices, and sure that your degree is accredited, and you've got that part straight, we now move on to:

Clear fees structure/payment

As you can see there are plenty of ways of derailing yourself even before you do a single day's study.

Now comes the really tough bit. Paying for it.

One of the great risks of the internet is that getting yourself into tricky financial situations is so much easier.

You'll see on all reputable college and university course schedules clearly labeled fees, and plenty of them, per unit and semester.

This is the business end, and it has to be treated like business.

Funding

Student loans, private loans, government financial education assistance, call it what you will, it all equates to one word:

Debt.

If you're 17 or 70, read this, because you're now talking about big money.

This is a big, built-in, overhead on your career and employment earnings, and it has to be managed properly.

1. Minimize initial costs.