How to Choose an Army COOL Program That’s Sure to Grow with You
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Army COOL, also known as Army Credentialing Opportunities Online, is a resource that can help you find the tools to build a bridge between your military experience and professional civilian certifications. This site shows you all the approved vendors and certifications available to you with your Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) program funds.
Army CA provides all active-duty Army, Reserves and National Guard soldiers with $4,000 each fiscal year to help pay for civilian credentials. To make the most of this opportunity, look for Army CA programs of study that will get you where you want to go.
Consider Your Personal and Career Goals
Many soldiers start their research by looking for Army CA programs related to their Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) and, if applicable, any Additional Skill Identifiers (ASIs). Choosing a credential related to your MOS can help your job prospects and career growth because you’ll already have related experience going in.
That said, you can choose a completely new field if you see your career going somewhere else. Think about what you want to do and where you want to be in the next five to 10 years, and then look at what credentials might be good matches.
Choose a Field With a Positive Job Outlook
Technology, for example, is a promising option for many Army CA-eligible soldiers. Experts predict computer and IT occupations will grow 11% between 2019 and 2029, a much faster rate of growth than average. It’s also a well-paying field with a median annual wage of $88,240, compared to the median annual wage of $39,810 for all careers.
You may not get to that pay level right away, but IT credentials are stackable. Each year, you can use your Army CA funding to get a new certification and keep growing your career.
Even if you have no tech experience at all, you could start with your IT Fundamentals certification, then complete a PC Technician program, and from there become a fully qualified IT network technician. If you already have some experience from your MOS, however, you might jump straight into the PC Technician course.
If IT isn’t for you, a healthcare credential might be a better fit. There’s a huge demand right now for qualified healthcare professionals, and like tech, the field is growing fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 2.4 million new healthcare jobs by 2029.
Think About Your Interests
Always pay attention to whether your career goals match your interests. Even if a credential is a perfect fit with your MOS and looks like it will pay well, it’s hard to succeed if you’re not fired up about the topic. Use your Army Credentialing Assistance opportunities to enter a field that excites you and, most importantly, will keep you excited and engaged throughout your career.
Do Your Research
Choosing a credential is a big decision. You’re making a choice about your military career, or post-military future, and committing a chunk of your valuable free time, so take the time to research your options. Look at what’s available from approved schools like MedCerts and make a shortlist of Army CA programs that excite you.
If you have any questions, get in touch and ask. Our education consultants are committed to helping you find the right certification to launch your future.
The Army, Department of Defense, and Department of the Army are not affiliated with MedCerts and do not endorse our services.