Tired of moving from job to job?
Military spouses do that a lot, unfortunately. Luckily, there’s a program that helps spouses find their footing a bit faster.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA) was created to help spouses pay for professional credentials that make job hunting more efficient with each PCS move.
The MyCAA scholarship offers up to $4,000 in tuition assistance to eligible spouses to earn a certificate, license, certification, or associate’s degree to stabilize their careers. Best of all? Any educational institution that is MyCAA accredited must take the funds.
Unsure if you qualify for the program?
Below, we break down what the eligibility requirements are for military spouses to use MyCAA.
One surefire way to learn whether a program accepts MyCAA funding is to look for the school on the Military OneSource website. You can search by criteria like:
You can also use this search method to find a school that matches your must-have criteria. For example, if your spouse just received a permanent change of station, you can enter your new ZIP code and find schools near your new home. You can also search for schools that have online-only programs and get a long list of possibilities.
Another way to check your program's MyCAA eligibility is to look for recognition from the US Department of Education or Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD’s Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding list is a good example. It's a different program than MyCAA, but it will give you an idea of whether the DoD recognizes a school in general.
The US Department of Education also allows you to search for schools that have accreditation. This list is recommended by the US Office of Personnel Management, which qualifies people for federal employment. Accredited schools are more likely to have MyCAA approved programs. You can always contact the school directly if you're not sure.
When a school isn’t compatible with MyCAA, you might notice some signs.
Like any business, schools can spin their marketing, but third-party views aren’t fakeable. Go to a reputable website like TrustPilot and search for the name of the school.
Take MedCerts, which has 4.4 out of five stars and 924 reviews on TrustPilot. Three-quarters of those 924 reviewers rated the service as “excellent,” and another 14% rated it as “great.” If the school you're looking for has mostly one and two stars, and if raters use words like "scam" or "disappointing," stay away.
The MyCAA database is comprehensive. If you search using the right information—with the school name correctly spelled, for example—you should be able to find it. Search in a few different ways if you don’t see it the first time.
You can find MedCerts by school name, but you can also find it by searching schools in Michigan with an online-only format. When a school doesn’t show up at all, no matter how many ways you search, that’s a red flag.
Most legitimate MyCAA schools have some accreditation or approval. You won’t find private training schools like MedCerts on lists of accredited colleges and universities, but that’s normal. Their certifications are accredited through the exam issuing authority instead of the school, like the NHA or CompTIA. Look for some other form of accreditation. MedCerts, for instance, has state licensure as a proprietary school and appears on more than 30 Approved Training Provider Lists at the state level.
MyCAA approved programs can open up a lot of opportunities for military spouses. Learn more about how you can use this funding to get high-quality training in healthcare, IT and more, all at low or no cost.