Information For Students - Office of Private Occupational School Education

The information below will be useful to current, prospective, and former private occupational school students.

Licensing requirements for schools and for sales representatives protect students from the harms that can occur if a school does not provide the education that the student reasonably expected, if a school closes, or if a school does not provide a timely refund of tuition.

A student who believes that a school or a sales representative is not complying with the law may file a complaint with DOL by calling the telephone tip line for occupational schools at 617-727-6917 or filing a written complaint. The DOL Application for Complaint form is available here. Every complaint will be investigated, and appropriate cases will be prosecuted.

In addition, G.L. c. 112, § 263 allows students to pursue a private civil action against an officer, representative, or school that misleads or falsely advertises. The student may recover treble damages or $10,000, whichever is greater, plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees.  DOL is not a party to these actions.  Schools are required by regulation to establish a complaint procedure.

If your school closed unexpectedly and you were not able to complete your program of study, you may be eligible to obtain a refund of your tuition or participate in a "teach-out" of your program.  For more information, please refer to the Closed School Bulletins for your school.

If your school is no longer in operation and you need a copy of your records or transcript, you can obtain them by following this Closed Schools and Student Records link.

Students Considering Attending A Private Occupational School

Thinking about attending a private occupational school?  The following links will prepare you with what questions to ask of schools, what resources are available for financing your training, and what consumer issues you should consider.

Know Before You Go

Here are some useful resources to jump-start your thinking. While some links are specific to college attendance, that information often applies as well to occupational school programs:

In addition, the following links will help you to think about some basic skills you might need to develop before you enroll:

  • Do you need to improve your English skills, obtain a GED, or simply improve your academic skills prior to enrolling in a private occupational school? Please call the Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline for help finding a program: http://www.getrealmass.info/hotline/.
  • Massachusetts students seeking to obtain a high school equivalency or obtain records of their Massachusetts high school equivalency should click here.  Students who completed a high school equivalency in another state should check with the Departments of Education in the state in which they obtained their high school equivalency.

Finally, here are some links to useful resources that will assist you in determining how to finance your education:

Consumer Awareness

Transfer Awareness

For students thinking ahead, or those who are considering transferring to another educational institution once they complete their training, the following links provide useful information to consider.

  • MassTransfer is an interactive website for students seeking to transfer into a Massachusetts Community College or other Massachusetts Public College. The site contains information on the what, why, and how to transfer; provides information on the MassTransfer Block; and, links to the transfer counselors at the public colleges.
  • The Directory of Massachusetts Transitions Programs provides contact information for ABE Transitions to Community College Programs, which are for those entering college for the first time, which can be challenging, particularly if the student is coming from an adult basic education program. Often the gap between achieving the high school equivalency diploma (GED) or Adult Diploma (ADP/EDP) can be enormous. The Massachusetts Transition Programs are designed especially for those who are interested in exploring and accessing higher education, but may be unsure about what the college experience entails. The Transition programs will ease the transition and assist the student in exploring and learning about college life, including accessing services and successful achievement of academic goals as needed for career and further education and training opportunities.

Other Useful State Agency Links

  • Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) is the state agency responsible for promoting, developing, and servicing registered apprenticeship programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

School Accreditations and Accrediting Agencies

By law, private occupational schools licensed by the Division of Occupational Licensure may advertise accreditations only from agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). For a listing of USDOE-approved accrediting agencies, please visit the Office of Postsecondary Education's (OPE) website. Please note that when looking up a school or an accrediting agency on OPE's website, you must use the exact name of the school.

What does it mean when a school is accredited? To learn what accreditation means for you and the institution you are considering attending, please visit the U.S. Department of Education's website on "Accreditation in the United States". In addition, more information on accreditation can be found through the following links:

Contact for Information For Students - Office of Private Occupational School Education

Online

To receive instructions on conducting common transactions, email the address below. This is an unmonitored email address. Please do not send any documentation to this email address: Email Office of Private Occupational School Education at occupational.schools.info@mass.gov

Fax

617-727-8612

Address

1000 Washington Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02118

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