It’s no secret that some soldiers struggle to plan and train for their careers during their deployment and when they return.
Academic degrees and training programs can be difficult to both fund and complete. But not to worry — here are six solutions to help you overcome these challenges.
Higher education and formal training are expensive, but U.S. soldiers have earned some resources not available to the general public.
Soldiers may receive various G.I. Bill benefits, or formal promises of financial aid. These benefits and all of your options can be researched through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA offers education and career counseling and helps with applying for these aid sources. These benefits are not only available to veterans — current service members who have served for at least 90 days also qualify.
Many states offer programs as supplements or alternatives to G.I. Bill benefits. Some state colleges even offer free or reduced tuition to service members.
Private scholarships can also provide much-needed funds. There are many opportunities for people with Army experience, some of which go unclaimed simply because the right people never find out about them. Find them through scholarship databases, local communities, and service aid organizations.
The Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) Program — found through the Army Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) platform — helps soldiers enhance their professional skills and attain a variety of qualifications. Popular focuses include aviation, fitness, computer security, and healthcare.
Submit a request to Army Credentialing and Continuing Education Services for Soldiers (ACCESS) through the ArmyIgnitED application. You can then receive up to $4000 of aid toward training and official exams.
As a soldier, your discipline will come in handy when you pursue a degree or certification. However, those on active duty historically have had a below-average graduation rate. You can avoid this problem with some foresight.
If you’re pursuing a degree, pick an Army school — a “military-friendly” institution set up to meet a soldier’s needs. Look for schools with online courses, flexible enrollment deadlines, dedicated student services, and other qualities that will help you succeed.
Online education has made great strides in recent years. With more people pursuing remote education, many programs now employ the methods that traditional online programs have always used.
Complete your education from anywhere with online programs designed to offer you flexibility in timing and location. Plus, virtual textbooks and materials don’t take up any space — a key consideration for deployed soldiers.
Studying and test-taking are specialized skills that most people need training for. Don’t be shy about approaching your teachers. They may have course-specific suggestions to help you succeed.
If training while deployed, one good tip for soldier-students is to find a study buddy. An accountability partner will help you stay motivated, even if they’re pursuing a different track.
At the end of the day, your mindset is as important as any resource. Seek help when you need it and believe in your ability to acquire new skills, attain your degree or certificate, and achieve your career goals.
The Army, Department of Defense, and Department of the Army are not affiliated with MedCerts and do not endorse our services.
Mickey is a Platoon Leader for the Nevada Army National Guard and has been serving since September 2019. He joined the Army in an act of “now or never” as he neared his 30th birthday and had always dreamed of serving. Mickey is also an ASVAB coach and uses his education background to assist other soldiers through Gamonal Tutors.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and spent two and a half years in Morocco with the United States Peace Corps. He joined MedCerts in January 2020 and uses his combined Army and education experience to help soldiers take advantage of their Army Credentialing Assistance funding to pursue career training.
Mickey lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Sheena, who he considers his “rock”, and enjoys teaching snowboarding in his free time. He also has completed MedCerts Project Management program and hosts the ASVAB Domination podcast.