* Q4 EPS from cont ops beats Street view
* Growth in online starts helps quarterly profit
* Shares up 12 pct
Feb 19 (Reuters) - Career Education Corp (CECO.O), a leading operator of for-profit colleges and trade schools, posted fourth-quarter profit that beat market estimates, helped in part by growth in online starts, sending shares up 12 percent in extended trading.
For the quarter ended Dec 31, the company posted a net income of $ 31.2 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with $8.8 million, or 10 cents a share a year earlier.
Earnings from continuing operations were 38 cents a share, beating the consensus view of 27 cents a share.
Revenue fell 5 percent to $431.8 million, below Wall Street estimates of $437 million.
Quarterly online starts grew 14 percent to 12,230, while total new student starts fell by 4 percent to 24,040.
Shares of the Hoffman, Illinois-based company were trading up almost 12 percent at $21.44 in trading after the bell. They closed down 9.86 percent at $19.66 Thursday on Nasdaq.
Reporting by Biswarup Gooptu in Bangalore