Finding a career friendly to the military lifestyle is hard enough, so before you jump into a new school or training program, save yourself a little money and a lot of frustration by making sure the institution is a military friendly school. Here’s what to look for:
1. Approved for financial aid programs
A military-friendly school is approved for educational financial aid programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill, TA funding, and Chapter 31 VA Voc Rehab. Don’t forget the MyCAA program—this one helps military spouses get an education and career that fits the military lifestyle. Some schools like Career Step work with its military students to find the best funding option.
2. Understands military needs
Make sure the school observes the Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Military Student Bill of Rights, which lays out basic rights that ensure fair marketing, admissions, and student service practices.
If it’s an on-campus school, it should ideally have friendly withdrawal policies in case you or your spouse is deployed or relocated. Best yet, many online schools, such as Career Step, offer online courses perfectly suited to the military lifestyle. In fact, Career Step has trained more than 15,000 military spouses through its flexible, online, career-oriented training programs.
3. Accepts military-specific credits and transcripts
Whether or not the following acronyms mean anything to you, your ideal military-friendly school accepts the following: college credits for the Joint Services Transcript (JST), transcripts from the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES/DSST), scores from the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) score, and transcripts from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF).
4. Promotes military-friendly careers
The school should also offer training programs for careers that fit the military lifestyle. Think portable: teaching, medical transcription, pharmacy technician, nursing, etc. If pertinent to your situation, look for schools that offer training that helps the successful rehabilitation of veterans, the gainful employment of military spouses, and/or the acquisition of skills during active duty. Don’t hesitate to call the school’s academic counselors or admissions specialists if you are unsure.
5. Offers military perks
Some schools offer tuition discounts to service members, veterans, military spouses, and other dependents. These schools also often provide a dedicated military representative who understands the specific requirements of service members and spouses and who is a pro when it comes to benefits and enrollment. The very best of schools even have a military-specific counseling services to help with academic, financial, and personal troubles.
As a member or dependent of the armed forces, you have access to countless career and educational resources. Make the most of them by finding a military friendly school that will equip you for a career you can take with you no matter the deployment.