For Immediate Release - March 12, 2013

Division of Professional Licensure Announces Meeting on Private Occupational School Regulations

Requests public input on development of new licensing rules for private occupational schools and their sales representatives

BOSTON – The Division of Professional Licensure today announced that it will hold a meeting on Friday, March 22, to solicit public input for the development of new regulations governing private occupational schools and their sales representatives.

The meeting will be held on March 22, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Division of Professional Licensure, 1000 Washington St., Conference Room 1D, Boston. DPL invites all interested parties and stakeholders to attend and participate in the meeting, and welcomes the submission of written comments.

“Our experience with the sudden closure of American Career Institute in early January revealed that much work needs to be done to ensure that students, faculty and staff, school administrators and sales representatives have the tools they need to deal with unforeseen circumstances,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. “These regulations will tackle how to deal with school closures, recordkeeping, and a number of other things important to the proper operation of occupational schools.”

“Occupational schools can play an important role in training people for jobs in many trades and professions,” said DPL Director Mark Kmetz. “Clear and effective regulation can help to ensure that students get the training they pay for and are properly prepared to join the workforce. We will be drafting new regulations and we invite students, former students, instructors, school administrators, sales representatives, and all other interested parties to offer ideas for consideration in the rulemaking process.”

DPL invites comments at the meeting on any topic that may be appropriate for occupational school regulation, including: 

  • The approval of instructors and curriculum;
  • The use of substitute instructors;
  • Recordkeeping practices and whether to require schools to keep both paper and electronic copies of all student records;
  • The enrollment contract and student refunds;
  • Disclosures and advertisements to prospective students;
  • Which schools and programs should be exempt from licensure; and
  • Requirements relating to school closures.

DPL will work with a new Advisory Council on Private Occupational Schools, to be named shortly, on the development of the proposed regulations. After the proposed regulations are drafted, one or more additional public hearings will be held pursuant to the formal rulemaking process.

Under a law enacted last year, DPL assumed responsibility for the licensing and regulation of private occupational schools and their sales representatives. Previously, private occupational schools and their sales representatives were licensed and regulated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The law provides that the DESE regulations, originally promulgated in 1997, remain in effect unless they are revised or replaced by DPL.

More information on DPL oversight of occupational schools is available on the DPL Occupational Schools webpage, www.mass.gov/dpl/schools. Specific questions about the regulation process or the March 22 meeting should be directed to Rachael Phinney, Board Counsel for the Office of Private Occupational School Education at Rachael.Phinney@state.ma.us or 617-727-9715. 

The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 365,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration. DPL also licenses and regulates more than 200 private occupational schools currently operating in Massachusetts. Follow DPL on Twitter at @MassDPL

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