It’s true -- education is a key to success! Be sure to take advantage of your hard-earned educational benefits, such as the GI Bill. Advanced education and training will make you more competitive in the job market, and can also payoff down the road in earnings. A report by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that those with bachelor’s degrees can expect to earn 1.8 times more than those with just a high school diploma.
You should pursue a degree or professional certificate that aligns well with your industry and will give you a leg up when employers are comparing you to other candidates. Your benefits can also be used for on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and non-college degree programs. You can search for approved education and job training programs as well as license and certifications programs on the GI Bill website.
It’s important to identify what certifications that civilians in your industry hold, so you know what you need to compete for those civilian positions. To assist you in identifying civilian credentialing requirements for your occupation, visit Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) for the Army and Navy. Also check out the credentialing information on America’s CareerOneStop website.
If you are considering a career change, choose an occupation that is in demand. The Department of Labor’s employment statistics to the year 2022 identify the fastest growing occupations. Their employment projections confirm the major trend for the best jobs in the future – they all require greater investments in education and training. For more information on job trends, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Do Your Research
Depending on your circumstances, evaluate whether a local or online program, as well as a part-time or full-time basis is best suited to your needs. There are many online degree programs that allow you to pursue your education remotely. Also, many schools offer credit for your military experience.
Do your research on schools and training programs. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs’ fact sheet on choosing a school, you should consider the following questions:
- Would my professional field respect a degree from the university or college I’m considering?
- How well does the school support Veterans? Does it have a special support program for Veterans?
- Will I get credit for my military training?
- If I transfer to another school later, will the credits I receive be accepted at the new school?
- What is the school’s graduation rate and retention rate?
Washington University in St. Louis offers some advice and tips in their video about evaluating education programs and using your GI Bill benefits.
The 2013 survey by The Army Times on Best Schools for Vets 2013 provides annual rankings of colleges doing the most for military veterans. The lists include the top 4-year colleges, online-nontraditional colleges, 2-year colleges, and career and technical colleges.
The Time is Now!
If you’ve been thinking about pursuing additional education or training, the time is now! There is currently a wide-spread effort by schools to accommodate active-duty service members and veterans. More schools are accepting American Council on Education (ACE) credits, which convert military training into academic hours. Almost 75% of schools offer online degree programs, which are crucial for deployed personnel. Many schools offer service members in-state tuition, and about 60% have a veteran’s office on campus.
Put your future on track for success and boost your job and earning opportunities by using your military education benefits today!