In an industry so hot that it's spawned references to Pink Floyd, Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ:COCO) nailed down yet another impressive quarter.

On the strength of three completed acquisitions and new online programs, the operator of post-secondary schools saw first-quarter net income jump 41% to $19.4 million, or $0.41 per share, as revenues rose 46.3% to $168.2 million. Same-school starts again saw a double-digit gain, accelerating 15% and helping same-school revenue grow 26.2%. With the acquisitions, starts in all schools jumped 48% to 22,915.

Education has gained popularity through the downturn, as jobs have become harder to come by. And this sector just keeps heating up.

Last week, fellow consolidator Career Education Corp (NASDAQ:CECO) reported a 90% profit gain on a 60% increase in revenues thanks to a couple of large acquisitions. Though DeVry (NYSE:DV) didn't look as hot, Sylvan (NASDAQ:SLVN) also shined. Expect a similar showing from industry giant Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) -- parent company of University of Phoenix Online (NASDAQ:UOPX) -- when it reports next month.

Expect the trend to continue. Corinthian noted that it expected full-year revenues to jump 52%, as it raised its full-year EPS estimate to $1.88 to share. The company also said that it would see continued organic sales growth beyond next year in the 20% to 25% range. If you account for the company's largely successful acquisition strategy, you can only expect more good things from Corinthian Colleges in the future.

Back in October 2001, Brian Lund picked the stock in TMF Select (now Motley Fool Hidden Gems) at a split-adjusted $16.70 per share. Following the strong earnings report and stronger outlook, Corinthian closed up over 8% to $61.50 -- a new all-time high.

Jeff Hwang can be reached at