Choosing a School

What is a proprietary school?

  • Proprietary schools offer certificate or diploma programs. People attend these schools to learn a trade or to prepare for a business occupation.

How do I choose a school?

  • If you have decided you would like to attend a proprietary school in New York State, we suggest you use the list below to help you choose a school.
    • Check to make sure the classes are taught in your language.
    • Check to make sure the contract you sign to attend is in your language and you fully understand everything you are agreeing to by signing it.
    • Ask the school if you can sit in on a class for one day at no obligation. If they refuse, think about whether you want to go there. Take a tour of the whole school.
    • Talk to students who are taking classes now. Ask them if they are pleased with the training.
    • Call businesses to see what is required to enter the job you are interested in and ask them if they would hire someone who graduated from the school. Ask whether they require a college degree - if so you need to attend a degree-granting school instead.
    • Ask the school where they have placed their graduates in the past. Call these employers and confirm the placements.
    • Compare the school with other schools in the area. For example, colleges, other proprietary schools and training programs.
    • If you enroll in a program, realize that the school can not guarantee you employment when you graduate.
    • Read all the information the school gives you. Do not sign anything until you fully understand it. Take it home overnight if necessary.
    • Read the school's refund policy very carefully before you sign the contract. Make sure you fully understand your financial obligations.
    • Anyone who speaks with you about enrolling in the school must be licensed by the New York State Education Department. It is called an Agent Certificate. Ask the person to show you his or her license.
    • If you are required to take out a loan, make sure you understand the terms and are able to make the payments.
    • If you answered an employment ad and were referred to a school, you should contact our office at telephone number (212) 643-4760.
    • Contact our office to find out if a school you are interested in is licensed or registered by the New York State Education Department and/or if any complaints have been filed against the school. 

Click here for a listing of pass/fail rates for appearance enhancement schools (cosmetology(hairdressing), esthetics, nail specialty, natural hairstyling and/or waxing)

Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education

Licensed Schools are the Way to Go!

About 500 Private Career Schools licensed by the New York State Education Department are required to meet very specific standards to help ensure that the educational programs are appropriate.

Look for this symbol when making choices for your future:

Find a licensed school

Career Schools