Today’s post was written by Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond, Education Director, Soldier for Life
Are you and a Veteran thinking of pursuing your education goals, or know someone who is? The Army’s Soldier for Life program promotes education opportunities as a bridge to employment opportunities and enhancing one’s quality of life. This is nothing new in the Army as continuous education/training guarantees Soldiers Start Strong, Serve Strong, Reintegrate Strong, and Remain Strong.
Check out five myths Veterans should ignore while pursuing their education goals:
MYTH 1: Veteran students are only numbers to colleges/universities
This couldn’t be further from the truth. More than ever, institutions of higher learning recognize the need to identify and support student Veterans on their campuses. Many have established formal programs to ensure Soldiers’/Veterans needs are accounted for in classrooms and business practices. Additionally, in 2008, local groups of Veteran students nationwide formed Student Veterans of America, a national coalition operating on more than 1,100 campuses, which advocates, connects and shares best practices among this population.
MYTH 2: Traditional college degrees: The only thing on the menu for Veterans
Instead of spending unnecessary hours/money in the classroom, Veterans can take advantage of credentialing and certification programs to ensure career readiness. The Army’s Soldier for Life team works to raise awareness of such opportunities, which focuses on specific skills achieved through targeted training programs. The Army’s Credentialing Opportunity Online (COOL) tool provides information about industry-recognized credentials related to military occupational specialties.
MYTH 3: Apprenticeships are for rookies, equals no money On the contrary, you can ‘earn while you learn’. Modern apprenticeships combine classroom learning with on-the-job training, which may lead to lucrative careers in many trade fields. These opportunities connect Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Veterans to training programs that are free of charge and that provide substantial wages. Get this! Veterans may keep 100% of the proceeds of his or her GI Bill benefits, since these programs are free.
MYTH 4: Active Duty Soldier CAN NOT participate in career skill programs
Wrong! Battalion commanders may approve participation in training programs as a Soldier’s place of duty, which often happens during Soldiers’ final 180 days in service. The programs are likely to lead to immediate employment. Interested Soldiers should contact their installation Education Services Officer for more information.
MYTH 5: Military service does not ‘add up’ to college credit
Did you know that many ‘Soldier skills’ are comparable to professional skills recognized by civilian employers? The truth is, the military services, in conjunction with the American Council on Education, have established a Joint Service Transcript (JST). The JST provides a detailed listing of military training and military duty experience that a Service Member has completed and recommends college credit equivalency. Soldiers and Veterans can access their JST via CAC card or DS Login at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do.