California Regulators Shut Down Medical Institute


February 17, 2012
by Suada Kolovic
For some students, heading off to college for the next two, four or even six years isn’t the right option. And while college isn’t for everyone, an education should be. In order to stay competitive in the workforce, it’s important to realize that there are opportunities in the form of both trade and vocational schools for students who don’t see themselves on college campuses. But before you sign up for a program that offers training as a dental hygienist or ultrasound technician, verify that the institution is accredited or run the risk of obtaining a very expensive yet useless certificate or licensure. Think this doesn’t happen? Unfortunately, it does: The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has ordered the Institute of Medical Education to close its two campuses in San Jose and Oakland for falsely claiming accreditation.

For some students, heading off to college for the next two, four or even six years isn’t the right option. And while college isn’t for everyone, an education should be. In order to stay competitive in the workforce, it’s important to realize that there are opportunities in the form of both trade and vocational schools for students who don’t see themselves on college campuses. But before you sign up for a program that offers training as a dental hygienist or ultrasound technician, verify that the institution is accredited or run the risk of obtaining a very expensive yet useless certificate or licensure. Think this doesn’t happen? Unfortunately, it does: The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has ordered the Institute of Medical Education to close its two campuses in San Jose and Oakland for falsely claiming accreditation.

According to the college’s website, the Institute of Medical Education is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The reality, said commission has not been a federally recognized accreditor since 2010. “Those things put students at enormous risk,” said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the bureau responsible for shuttering the schools. “These students have spent a lot of money and a lot of time for programs that may not allow them to sit for licensure examinations.” The institute had offered certificate programs in vocational nursing, medical assisting and other health-related fields for fees of up to $40,000 and state officials have urged students to apply to the state’s Student Tuition Recovery Fund, which reimburses students at schools that close.

Have you considered the possibility of going to a vocational school instead of a traditional four-year college?

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