When it comes to education and career training for military spouses, things can get tricky. Military families deal with frequent moves, deployments, homecomings, changing schedules and responsibilities—all of which make it hard to finish a program or commit to a job. Clearly, military personnel and their spouses need educational opportunities that fit their lifestyle. Many training programs will claim to be “military friendly,” but what should you really be looking for? Here are some tips to finding a military friendly school perfect for you and your family.
“Military personnel” is a juicy target market for schools—the federal government offers $12 billion for military educational assistance! With schools, colleges, and online trade programs clamoring to interest the military community, it’s no wonder the term “military friendly” cannot be trusted. Third party lists such as G.I Jobs’ Military Friendly Schools List are helpful in finding truly military friendly schools, but it helps to have a checklist of what is important to you.
Military friendly checklist
With the help of Military.com, here are some specific items you should add to your checklist when looking for a school. The school should offer military personnel and their families the following:
• Flexibility in coursework schedule
• Separate policies and procedures for military students
• A dedicated liaison officer/service director who understands the specific needs and assists with benefits and admission
• Centralized services to connect military students with the resources they need
• Academic, financial, and personal counseling
• Professional associations aimed at promoting educational opportunities
• Acceptance of military credits per the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines
• A military-specific webpage with contact information and links to useful resources
• Tuition discounts for military spouses
• MyCAA-approved programs
Career Step, a partner in the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, has trained over 13,000 military service members and spouses through its online certificate programs and knows how important MyCAA funds can be in opening doors of opportunity.
Schools that are truly military friendly should be MyCAA-approved. Not only should the school’s training programs be applicable for MyCAA scholarship funds, but the school should also have expert advisors who can walk candidates through the application process and answer questions. The MyCAA program exists exclusively to support career training for military spouses, but making sense of the eligibility criteria, application process, terms, conditions, etc., is not always easy. Specialized assistance should not stop once your application is submitted and coursework completed; make sure your school has continuing graduate resources specific to your needs as well.
Thanks to programs like MyCAA and truly military friendly schools, military personnel and their spouses can overcome the challenges looming over their educational opportunities. Graduated from a military friendly school? What school services helped you succeed in gaining an education as a military spouse? Let us know in the comments below.