What are Some of the Best Programs of Study for Military Spouses?
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When you move every few years due to the military lifestyle, it can be tough to stay in a career you love. Thankfully, some careers always need qualified, certified individuals, especially in the IT and healthcare fields.
The Department of Defense (DOD) set aside special funding for military spouses that allows them to obtain a credential in a high-growth, high-demand market. That’s why MyCAA was founded — to help military spouses find gainful employment in high-demand fields wherever they go.
MyCAA, also known as My Career Advancement Account, gives scholarship money to spouses who want to pursue new skills and a new career. A full MyCAA program list is available through the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (MySECO) website. MyCAA covers the cost (up to $4,000) for licenses, certificates, certifications or Associate's Degrees (excluding Associate's Degrees in General Studies, Liberal Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies without a concentration) for high demand, portable careers.
With up to $4,000 in MYCAA grants, the question is which is the best career path for you. Here is a list of high-growth, high-demand jobs that can travel with you anywhere your PCS orders take your career.
Programs of Study
Everyone needs to get their teeth cleaned, right? Whether you find this job on base or in a civilian dental office, there’s plenty of opportunities for certified dental assistants to find work.
What dental assistants do:
Prep patients for dental work
Hand instruments to the dentist
Schooling is short, and dental assistant certification increases your chances of better pay and benefits.
No matter where your PCS orders take you, there’s no doubt there will be plenty of animal hospitals or clinics nearby. This field is expected to grow by 19% through 2026, which means qualified applicants will be needed.
Groom animals (including nail cutting, bathing, and brushing)
Restrain animals during exams
Collect blood and tissue samples, as needed
Many vet assistants learn on the job, but having a background and designation in veterinary assisting helps applicants land a job quicker.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
The healthcare field is one in constant need of qualified workers who are physically strong, compassionate, patient, and detail-oriented. CNAs can find work in hospitals, Hospice settings, and nursing homes — all of which are found in every military community.
What CNAs do:
Clean and bathe patients
Help patients use the bathroom
Reposition and move patients between beds and wheelchairs
Gather details on patient health concerns to report to nurses
Check vital signs
Serve food and help patients eat
Nursing assistants must have a certification to work with patients in healthcare settings. CNAs are also required to take a state-approved education course and pass an exam to become certified.
Massage therapy is the perfect field for those interested in health and wellness. Some of the settings massage therapists work in: hotels, spas, franchises, and sports clinics. Prefer to work alone? You can open your practice and travel to clients.
What massage therapists do:
Talk with clients about treatment goals
Use hands to manipulate soft tissue to improve circulation, heal injuries, etc.
Advise clients on stretching, strengthening, and relaxing
Record client progress
Massage therapy license regulations vary state by state. After getting your state credentials/license (some states don’t require any), it’s easy to set up fairly quickly in a new city. Massage therapy programs usually complete a minimum of 500 hours of coursework and hands-on work.
How do I Pick the Best Program for Me?
While it may seem overwhelming at first to have many options, if you take advantage of the MYCAA funding, you’ll have access to a career coach to help you make the right choice.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selecting a Program:
What are my skills and interests?
How long do I want to be in school?
Does the program curriculum look interesting?
What are my goals and would this program help me achieve those?
Getting connected with a career counselor will help you pick the right program based on your interests. The MySECO program offers free advising to help with this process when you use MyCAA.
Choose Your Program Based on Passion and Interest
The best programs are the ones you are interested in. If you’re going to put in the hard work to go to school, make sure it’s a field you know you’ll enjoy.
As you explore programs, be open-minded yet practical. You can’t plan for every bump a career might have, but by being thoughtful in picking your program, you’ll likely have more career satisfaction and success. Here is a list of online certification training programs at MedCerts that are covered by MyCAA. For a full list, find out programs here: medcerts.com/programs