Program Specialist

Job description

Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner seeks to hire a program specialist to support the work of the compliance and student protection department through review and approval of education and training facilities under state proprietary school regulations, NC-SARA guidelines, and federal regulations governing the use of veterans educational benefits.

Specifically, the program specialist is reponsible for:

  • Assist with preparation of an annual report and other presentations for the Council of Postsecondary Education as well as the House and Senate Oversight Committees, Governor’s Office, and Office of Management and Budget to highlight OPC’s approval and compliance actions throughout the year. Report will include information on types of approval actions, financial reviews, school audits, and student outcomes.
  • Work with and help maintain a file management system.
  • Monitor and track fees associated with proprietary, independent schools, and NC-SARA and Non-SARA approvals and annual renewals.
  • Coordinate with state and national agencies to ensure program and institutional compliance with state and federal laws.
  • Develop and execute outreach measures to engage adult learners, including but not limited to veteran or military-connected populations, in enrollment or re-enrollment at our higher education institutions or postsecondary credential programs.
  • Support public relations efforts to promote available educational opportunities and student success stories both internally and externally.
  • Develop and maintain listing of approved facilities, programs, and exemptions for the OPC website.
  • Develop and manage feedback form to survey vendors of quality and timeliness of service provided by OPC.

Proprietary school responsibilities

  • Review and process annual renewals, program approvals, and school changes in accordance with annual renewal schedule and as needed throughout the year.
  • Manage exemption requests and renewals.
  • Respond to and investigate student complaints.
  • Respond to student record requests.
  • Attend NASASPS Annual Conference and Workshop (as funding allows) as well as participate in ongoing training opportunities sponsored by NASASPS or other regulatory associations.

State approving agency responsibilities

  • Review and process approvals in accordance with Title 38 regulations including approvals of non-college degree schools, apprenticeships, on-the-job programs, and licensing and certification exams including inspection visits as needed.
  • Adhere to approval schedule as set by the director and in accordance with the annual SAA cooperative agreement.
  • Complete assigned percentage of annual risk-based/compliance survey schedule.
  • Assist with technical assistance, liaison, and outreach activities.
  • Attend at National Association of State Approving Agencies annual business and training meetings as funding allows.
  • Participate in ongoing training opportunities as sponsored by the VA or NASAA.
  • Coordinate with state veterans’ agencies and organizations to promote veteran support services to ensure student engagement and success.
  • Conduct outreach to new facilities and employers to expand veteran educational opportunities; oversee outreach events to educate veterans and military-connected family members about their available educational benefits.
  • Assist with oversight of institutional compliance with federal regulations.

NC-SARA responsibilities

  • Process annual renewal applications for both RI-SARA and non-SARA schools
  • Attend annual and regional meetings and participate in ongoing training opportunities as sponsored by NC-SARA or NEBHE.

Independent degree-granting institutions responsibilities

  • Assist with review and approval of applications for new degree granting facilities seeking approval or exemption.
  • Assist with review and approval of annual reports from approved institutions of higher education.

Perform other duties as assigned.


Education: Bachelor’s degree required

Experience: Required–Five years of related experience in postsecondary education and/or regulatory oversight or compliance; or master’s degree and three years of related experience in postsecondary education and/or regulatory oversight or compliance.


  • Ability to work independently, meet deadlines, and maintain high expectations.
  • Demonstrated excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated strong organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to interpret policies, rules, and regulations, and to communicate the interpretation to others.
  • Ability to develop and maintain professional, courteous working relationships with school owners/directors, VA certifying officials, veterans, faculty, students, and the general public.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of computer software packages (including word processing, web page and spreadsheet applications.)
  • Knowledge and understanding of VA regulatory policies and procedures preferred.
  • Ability to work collaboratively.

Candidate must complete a favorable state criminal background check. Prior to being placed on the SAA cooperative agreement, the candidate must initiate a background investigation and receive a National Criminal History Check (NCHC) Clearance from Veterans Benefits Administration Security.

This is a full-time, non-union, non-classified position with a pay grade of 12 that reports to the director of compliance and student protection. Send resume and cover letter by December 1, 2023. All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities.


First Name
Last Name
Highest education level
Relevant Certificates or licenses
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Cover letter
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Additional documents
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All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. 

It is the belief and the policy of the State of Rhode Island that the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap/disability, age (subject to certain limitations established by law) or veteran status of an individual should neither serve as a barrier to his or her equal opportunity for employment nor be the basis of harassment in the workplace. The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education fully endorses this basic policy of nondiscrimination.