After serving their country, veterans deserve support in transitioning back to civilian life. Continuing education is essential for gaining the skills needed for today’s job market. Luckily, all military branches offer excellent educational benefits to set service members up for success.
Tuition Assistance While Serving
Before separating, take full advantage of tuition assistance options, which fund college courses leading to degrees and credentials related to your military occupation:
- Army Tuition Assistance – $250 per semester hour up to 16 SHs per year.
- Navy Tuition Assistance – 100% tuition coverage for up to 16 credit hours per year.
- Marines Tuition Assistance – 100% tuition funding for 2 courses per year.
- Air Force Tuition Assistance – $250 per semester hour up to 16 SHs per year.
- Coast Guard Tuition Assistance – 100% tuition funding up to 2 courses per year.
Consider an associates, bachelor’s or master’s degree that aligns with your military role like aviation management, logistics or information technology. According to the people at ProTrain, the Army also offers credentialing assistance for professional certifications like Comptia A+ certification for IT roles.
Education Planning Prior to Separation
Consult with education officers before getting out to map out a degree plan that optimizes military education benefits. Army career skills programs expedite future bachelor’s degrees through college credits earned for military training. Colleges like University of Maryland and Penn State partner with all service branches for transfer-friendly programs.
If interested in a high-demand technology career, specialized coding bootcamp scholarships exclusively for veterans and military spouses can set you up for software developer roles post-separation.
Key Veteran Education Benefits After Service
Once ready to separate, honorably discharged veterans can take advantage of generous education programs:
- Post 9/11 GI Bill – Pays for 36 months of college tuition costs up to an annual cap plus monthly housing and textbook allowances. Transferable to dependents after 6+ years served.
- Montgomery GI Bill – Provides over $2,000 monthly directly to the veteran for education purposes.
- Yellow Ribbon Program – If capped GI Bill benefits don’t fully cover private school tuition, this program bridges the gap with no out-of-pocket costs. Over 5,000 degree-granting schools participate.
- Vocational Rehabilitation – For veterans with service-related disabilities, this program funds job retraining tailored to your abilities and interests, including 2- or 4-year degrees, technical skills training, and professional certifications.
Optimizing Your Veteran Education Benefits
Make the most of your education funding by researching total college costs, scholarship options, billable tuition rates, private school Yellow Ribbon contributions, degree durations and career prospects for intended programs of study. Compare benefits across GI Bills to figure out the optimal use of months based on school expenses.
Many states, like Wisconsin and South Carolina, offer free in-state tuition to veterans enrolling within 3 years of separation. Scholarships through American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veteran groups can supplement GI Bills. Most colleges offer dedicated veteran support services for navigating education benefits.
Building Your Career
Once settled on a course of study whether an IT certification, vocational program, or graduate degree, dedicate yourself fully to academic success and career preparations.
Translate military skills and accomplishments into civilian terminology on your resume. Tie applicable experiences like leadership, data analysis and project management to the target job’s duties and qualification. Highlight technical skills developed.
Paid internships through DoD SkillBridge, AWS Military Apprenticeships or Microsoft Software and Systems Academy offer work experience integrating back into industry.
Honorably serving your country deserves honor in return. Take full advantage of armed forces education benefits during and after service to excel in your post-military civilian career. Numerous college funding resources coupled with disciplined planning provide immense opportunity to transform previous military occupational knowledge into securing meaningful civilian employment.