Career Center

The Career Center of the Polish American Association was established to bring professional help and knowledge about the American job market and education opportunities to the immigrant community in the Chicago Metro area, as well as to anyone seeking such assistance. For hundreds of thousands of Polish-speaking immigrants, because of the language barrier, we are the sole source of information available. We are dedicated to providing our clients with guidance that will allow them to realize their full potential and show them the path to the realization of their American Dream. We try to achieve those goals by offering, free of charge, both individual counseling, and group lectures and presentations devoted to issues such as the American job market, educational opportunities, and more. We also provide information on the American system of higher education, the possibilities of financing an education, the process of obtaining a student visa, evaluation of Polish diplomas, and the transfer of education credits previously earned.


The Career Center offers comprehensive individual counseling that addresses both career and educational options. Counseling is available for those who have already completed their education, those who are considering a career change, or want to qualify for advancement, or who are wrestling with other decisions about the right career moves. For those who have immigrated recently, we offer detailed information on the American job market and all the cultural nuances that often make the decisive difference in their pursuit of American Dream. For the most undecided clients we have available a choice of personality and aptitude tests that can be completed online, in our computer labs or at home.


The Career Center offers a series of informational lectures and presentations on all aspects of the job market, education, training, and cultural differences. We try to provide regular scheduling of events that will give our clients a reliable source of essential information. The timing of our sessions makes it possible for our clients to reserve the date in advance so that they may attend at a time convenient to them. We try to make sure that everybody participating in our meetings receives a packet of relevant materials. Participation in our seminars is open to all, free of charge.


The American higher education system differs significantly from its Polish equivalent. In particular, there is no age barrier to study in the U.S. Anyone who desires to continue their education, regardless of age or level of academic achievement, may return to school. American schools welcome students of all ages and professional backgrounds. Returning students do not need to go back to school full time,   they can choose to take a single class, complete a short program of courses, or begin work on a entirely new major.


The general perception is that universities and colleges in America are prohibitively expensive. The truth is that, yes, schools are quite expensive, yet hardly anyone attending them pays the entire tuition out of his or her own pocket. The United States government, together with an almost endless number of private foundations, as well as the educational institutions themselves, have created a system of financial support which provides students, regardless of age, with a broad range of grants, loans, scholarships, and work programs. Every qualifying student applying to an institution of higher education has the right to apply for a number of them. Usually, the greatest obstacle to finding money for college is lack of legal residency.


For those interested in studying in the United States, we provide basic information on the requirements and process of applying for the Student Visa (F-1). Regretfully, at the present time we do not have the capacity to offer legal counsel or assistance in filling out any documents. However, anyone applying for a Student Visa either from abroad or from within the United States, can fill out any of the abovementioned documents without legal assistance. The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offer access to all applications online. You may use the link below to print them out.


Contrary to popular belief, most of the diplomas and certificates awarded by institutions of higher learning abroad can be translated, assessed, and successfully applied in the American job market. This process is known as evaluation. In general a diploma should be evaluated when considering continuation of education in the U.S., or when seeking employment within one's field of expertise, or when a diploma is required by a certifying institution. When evaluation of a diploma is required by a school, the school itself will provide the candidate with the name of the evaluating institution it prefers. There are known cases in which schools have asked candidates to have their diplomas evaluated for a second time, because an evaluating institution was not accepted by the school. For employment purposes any evaluating institution can be used, unless otherwise specified by an employer. Certifying institutions, including many professional associations, may also require the candidate to use a particular evaluating institution.



Those who did not finish school in their native country can consider doing so in the United States. In most cases, it is possible to transfer some or all of the credits earned for classes previously completed. In order to transfer credits, the school will need to see the diploma evaluation (see the information above). It lies entirely within the school's discretion to decide how many such transfer credits will be accepted.


For additional information regarding individual counseling, monthly seminars, the American system of higher education, education financing, student visas, diploma evaluation, or transfer of credits, please contact Katarzyna Rachwał.

Phone: (773) 282 1122 ext. 414