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The Riley Guide

The Riley Guide: Before You Search or Handling a Job Loss

Consider More Training & Education


It's not unusual to need more training or education in order to advance in your career or just retain your current level of competitiveness in today's job market. You may also need training to switch to a new career area, even one that's not too distant from your current field. Here are places to look for education, training, and funding information.

We also have information on Internships, Apprenticeships, & Volunteering. We also have links to some sources for Private Tutoring if you need a tutor to assist you in your studies or with test preparation.

Didn't Finish High School?

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Education Pays! According to data released by BLS in May 2011, completing high school will significantly improve your earning power while reducing the possibility of unemployment. Going beyond a high school diploma goes even farther to help you. If you never completed high school, it is never too late to earn your GED.

GED Testing Service, the American Council on Education
This section of the ACE site offers information on the GED (The Tests of General Educational Development), which is considered equivalent to a high school diploma and is accepted by 95% of all colleges and 96% of all employers in the US. This site explains why you might want to take the GED and points you towards practice exams, local preparation courses, and testing centers. The GED is not offered online, so do not fall for a scam offering you this opportunity. If you never completed high school, this is another chance for you to obtain your diploma and improve your earning possibilities!

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General Resources

The Riley Guide's Career Research Center
This free resource contains job descriptions, salary and employment data, and education information for over 160 occupations. Each occupational page includes links to training and education resources for that particular job.
US News.com: Education
...their annual rankings of colleges plus the guide to graduate schools, links to community colleges, financial aid sources, and more.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Jobs, Careers, and Education
The librarians in the Job and Career Education Center in this library have created a terrific tool for finding information on educational institutions plus financial aid! Check out their listing of print resources, databases, and Internet resources that offer information for anyone seeking assistance with the costs of higher education.
NCES Global Education Locator
... search for schools, colleges, and public libraries. Enter a location, select the kind of institution you seek, and go. This tool does not allow you to search for a program by program type, only for institutions within a specific area. To find specific programs, use IPEDS COOL, listed under the College & University Guides.

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College & University Guides

CampusExplorer
...a free college search guide designed to help people find a school that “fits” them if they are unsure where to go. You can search by type of school, location, major, religious affiliation, and much more (extra search options can be found at the bottom of the page).
CollegeProfiles.com
...brief sketches of a smaller list of colleges and universities than you might find in other online sources, but this list is free. Includes standard information on each school, but also lists programs and schools by theme (Catholic, black colleges, women's, 2-year, orchestra and band programs). You can also review lists of honors programs, Canadian colleges and universities, and more. What it gives you is very nice and well presented. I just wish more institutions were included.
College Navigator
Compiled annually by the US government's Department of Education, College Navigator is your direct link to over 9,000 colleges and universities in the United States. If you are thinking about a large university, a small liberal arts college, a specialized college, a community college, a career or technical college or a trade school, you can find them all here. Users may search by geographic region, by state, by city, by type of institution, or by instructional programs, either alone or in combination. Lots of up to date information can be found on each institution. The College Navigator is a product of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
Peterson's Education Center
Peterson's is the well-known publisher of guides to colleges, etc. Now they are taking this information online. A great resource for information on undergraduate and graduate programs, summer work, continuing education, and vocational/technical programs. Some sections of the site require you register.
UNESCO - Studying Abroad
This is an international guide to higher-education study opportunities and scholarships offered by higher education institutions and international organizations in 129 countries. It includes over 2000 entries on courses and scholarships in different higher-education academic and professional disciplines. Information includes addresses (including Internet sites), admission requirements, application deadlines, financial aid, fees and living expenses in each country and other relevant information. Entries are presented in English, French or Spanish according to the language of the country concerned. Offered by the United Nations Educations, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
U.S. Universities & Community Colleges
...maintained by University of Texas, Austin, Web Central. Check the lists by name or state.
Yahoo - Colleges and Universities
...organized by country but also linking to several indexes.

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College & University Rankings

When you read a ranking, be sure to note what criteria was used and how it was applied in determining the ratings assigned to each institution.
College and University Rankings
...a collection of links and references to print materials ranking colleges and universities around the world. Read their information on the controversy of ranking services before you start reading the rankings. This service is provided by the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Best Colleges, USNews.com
Information and resources for those planning ahead to college, and the latest rankings of colleges from what is probably the best known source. There is a limited amount of information available for free (only a small portion of the collected data for each college, only a short list of the colleges listed in some categories) with most of the valuable data reserved for persons willing to pay for the full guide. Don't skip categories with stars. You will get something under each, but not the full deal. However, if you are seriously researching colleges, the online subscription is worth the minimal fee, but check with your school and public library to see if they have a subscription before you pay.
America's Best Graduate Schools, USNews.com
..Lots of good information for those going beyond the BS or BA. The annual Graduate School Rankings are available, covering new reviews of programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and the sciences. (Info on more programs are available, but not all are reviewed each year.) The site also offers personalization tools, graduate school directory pages, and detailed information on the ranking process. Persons willing to pay a small fee can get access to even more college data, personalization tools, and articles until the next edition comes out, but check with your college library to see if they have a subscription you can use before you do so.
The Princeton Review Annual Best College Rankings
Princeton Review also reviews and ranks colleges, but their list is not usually as long nor as comprehensive at that found at US News. However, they look at a different set of criteria in their work, giving you a different way to look at the schools (more from the student's point of view.)

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Certification / Licensing Information

Many professions require documentation of skills and/or specific permissions in order for you to pursue these jobs. These resources will help you discover what certificiations and/or licenses may be required in your desired job field and your specific location. Then you can use the resources under Vocational & Technical Training and Seminars & Short-Term Training to find the training you need to pass these exams.

Licensed Occupation Tool from CareerOneStop
The Licensed Occupations Tool allows you to search for occupational licensing requirements by state, occupation, or agency. This tool includes information on licenses that may be required by law in order for you to practice a particular occupation. Keep in mind that information for all states, agencies, and licenses may not be included. Search this database by occupation, state, or state agency.
Certification Finder, CareerOneStop
Certifications are examinations that test or enhance your knowledge, experience, or skills in an occupation or profession. The Certification Finder is an online directory of third-party organizations that provide verification of skill or knowledge attainment usually following generally accepted occupational standards. This directory allows you to search for certifications by keyword, specific occupation or occupational area. If you are completely unsure of what to look for, I suggest you either Browse a List of Occupations or Browse a List of Industries to see what kinds of certifications your target occupation or industry might require, then find the one(s) that you need and who to contact.
Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR)
This international organization serves those entities or individuals involved in the licensure, non-voluntary certification or registration of the hundreds of regulated occupations and professions. Individuals will appreciate the extensive links to these many organizations under the Regulatory Directory link in the left margin. These are divided by geographic region (North America, Europe, and Australasia), and the North American Directory of Regulatory Boards and Colleges can be browsed by profession or jurisdiction.

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Vocational & Technical Training

Career Research Center, Rileyguide.com
This portion of The Riley Guide helps you explore possible careers, including many technical and skilled trades areas, and connects you to education and training programs.
Career Research Center, Rileyguide.com
This portion of The Riley Guide helps you explore possible careers, including many technical and skilled trades areas, and connects you to education and training programs.
US Dept. of Education's College Navigator
College Navigator lists all post-secondary schools in the U.S. that are qualified to receive financial aid from the US goverment. This means that almost every higher education institution is in the database with lots of data on each school that they are required to provide, including vocational and technical training schools. Part of financial aid qualification includes being accredited.

Seminars & Short-Term Training

These programs may lead to certification, continuing education, and even a new career. Seminars tend to be relatively short, covering a few hours to a few days, while our Short-Term education and training programs allow you to earn a certificate, diploma, or award in less than 2 years.

SIS: Seminar Information Service
Another place to find listings of seminars, but with a great twist. Select the subject area in which you are interested, and it not only lists the course topics but also the date and location of the next seminar! Select the date and location that interests you, click the "Details" button, and get all the info on location, cost, and course outline. You can enroll right online using a credit card, purchase order, or your company's info (including the name of who approved it.) Very nice.
Short-Term Training Finder, America's Career InfoNet
Ready to make a change, or find that you need a specific certification in order to advance in your job, but you just don't have time for a 4-year degree? Try this new tool. "Use this tool to find education and training programs where you can earn a certificate, diploma, or award in less than 2 years. You can search below by an occupation, school, or program." Users are currently able to search about 70,000 training programs across the country by entering an occupation, school, or program. Results can be viewed at the state or zip code level. You can browse the full list of occupations represented here to find the one most closely related to your interests, or you can search by keywords describing the skills you need or the job you want. After reviewing your search results, click on the "Next Steps" tab to be linked to information on how to Pay for Training and Get Credentials (certificiations and licenses).
You might also be interested in the programs listed in our Career Resource Center as well as our Certification and Licensing information, above.

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Distance Education & E-Learning

You no longer need to live near Berkeley, CA, in order to take classes at UC Berkeley! Distance Education is rising in popularity and availability and can include anything from single courses on on topic you need now up to accredited programs offering degrees from high school through college.

Distance Education and Training Council
... DETC (formerly the National Home Study Council) is a non profit educational association located in Washington, D.C. It serves as a clearinghouse of information about the distance study/correspondence field and sponsors a nationally recognized accrediting agency called the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council. Through their website you can find accredited high school and college degree programs, a single directory of all institutions who have received accreditation from this group, and a nice list of study subjects available from the many programs.
MarylandOnline
...one-stop entry to all the colleges offering distance education programs in the state of Maryland.

The General Resources and the college guides will have more information.

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Financial Aid, Loans, & Scholarships

Some of these resources also include information on preparing for college, including the kinds of exams you might need to take. We have a few resources here with guidance for unaccompanied or homeless youth as well as those without stable housing.

If you are unemployed because of the current economic situation and are considering pursuing more training at the college level, you might be eligible for aid from the Federal Government. Visit Opportunity.gov for more information. Veterans of the US Armed Forces should look at the information we have under Vets: Education and Training Support for GI Bill and other programs.
Student Aid on the Web: Federal Student Aid from the U.S. Department of Education
The Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in the United States, providing nearly 70% of all student financial aid. This site provides users with access to and information about the products and services needed throughout the financial aid process. There is information targeted to parents, counselors, returning (adult) students, and international students as well as students in college and graduate school. Under “Funding” you’ll find links to information on state aid, tax credits, the Department’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and The Student Guide. Updated each award year, the Student Guide is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education and includes information about the programs and how to apply for them. The entire FSA site is available in English and Spanish. Please Note: There is a second site called Fafsa.com. This is NOT the free FAFSA online application provided by the Department of Education. FAFSA.com is a paid preparer offering to assist you with your FAFSA application for a fee. Please be sure you are connecting to site you wish to use.
FinAid
...the single largest, most comprehensive guide to financial aid sources and information online. It links everywhere, it guides you through advice, articles, and warnings, and is endorsed by The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). If you go to only one financial aid source online, make it this one.
Go Financial Aid
...a financial aid consulting group offering a lot of free information on types of financial aid, how to prepare for college, and more. Their consulting services (assisting you in applying for financial aid) are not free, so please read their information carefully and write to ask for copies of their Terms & Conditions before you decide to hire them.
USNews.com: Education: Paying for College
...get help with your financial aid application, check their picks for top financial aid sites online, use their Tools to figure out costs and payments you can afford, and other great stuff.
ScholarshipHelp.org
Nice site with information and advice on finding and applying for scholarships. Unlike others, this is more focused on the idea of finding and applying and less on the massive lists of resources you might review. Includes a nice list of resources along with warnings on how to spot the scams.
SallieMae
... SallieMae provides funds for educational loans, primarily federally guaranteed student loans originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Through their website, SallieMae allows you to access information to help you plan for college, apply for a loan, manage your loan payments, and even learn how to save for the future. There is information for parents as well as students. SallieMae’s family of services also includes College Answer, a site to help you plan for college
The Student Loan Process, Citizens Bank
According to Citizens Bank, "Applying for federal student loans and other financial aid isn't as complicated as you might expect. We'll take you through the entire process, step-by-step." They discuss grants and scholarships along with the FAFSA, but you should definitely read the two articles titled "Understanding Loan Details" (how to evaluate a loan and what to look for) and "Understanding Loan Repayment" (plan now for the time you must repay what you borrowed). Excellent and informative!
SimpleTuition
...this free service helps you to find and compare student loan options for undergrads, grads, and parents. Normally I would not list such a service, but I like the articles in their Student Loan Resource Center, especially "How Does Financial Aid Work?" and "Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Student Loan Borrower."
Internal Revenue Service
Did you know the money you spend on training and education may be tax deductible? The American Opportunity Credit is available for persons in the first 4 years of postsecondary education who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized education credential. The Lifetime Learning Credit is available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills. You do not need to be pursing a degree or any other recognized education credential. Get your hands on IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Higher Education, and I encourage you to search the IRS website using the words "education credit" to see what else you might learn.

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Guidance for Unaccompanied or Homeless Youth or Those Without Stable Housing

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth: Higher Education
This section of the NAEHCY website includes advice on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA, above) for unaccompanied homeless youth and for unaccompanied youth without stable housing. There is also information on access to college financial aid, income tax reports, and other documents for these young men and women. All are free and in Word (.doc) format for easy download, printing, and review.
Access to Higher Education for Students Experiencing Homelessness, National Center for Homeless Education at the SERVE Center
Documents, guides, and links to resources to aid homeless and low-income youth in applying to college, receiving waivers for SAT program fees, and obtaining financial aid. Explore the entire site for other resources you may be able to use to aid these young men and women in the pursuit of a better education and a better life.

Check the college resources for more information on financial aid.

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Test Preparation & Study Guides

March 2 Success
A free service of the U.S. Army, March 2 Success is a web-based program designed to assist high school students in the 9th grade and above improve their performance on tests of math, science, and English, ACT and SAT preparation, state standardized tests, and their overall test-taking skills. This site is also extremely useful for anyone returning to school after a long absence who will be taking any type of standardized test. There is no set number of tests each user can access, and tests can be retaken until the user is comfortable with the results. The program is free and completely confidential. You will not be contacted by Army recruiters unless you specifically request that contact. Content for the various tools was provided by Peterson's, Educational Options, and the College Options Foundation.
Study Guides and Strategies
...if you are returning to school after a long absence, you might be more comfortable if you review the study / test-taking / writing process necessary to succeed. This web site was created by and is maintained by Joe Landsberger as an educational public service. This study skills resource includes such topics as "Cramming," "True-False tests," and "Overcoming Test Anxiety." Links to even more similar sources are provided. Many of the resources and documents here are available in numerous languages other than English.
Test Prep Review
...free practice exams for many of the standardized entrance tests required for undergraduate and graduate programs. They also offer links to many resources for you to "fill in the gaps" in your knowledge.
Free SAT Diagnostic Exam, Parliament Tutors
This private tutoring organization has designed a sample SAT exam to help you determine how ready you are. Print out the exam, then plug in your answers online and get an in-depth score report along with answer explanations, or you can grade your exam manually using our answer sheet and score conversion chart.

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