It’s said that every journey starts with a single step—well, the journey to your new career can begin with a single click! Military spouses looking to pursue a license, certification, or associate degree may be eligible for up to $4,000 in federal financial assistance through the MyCAA program—all you need to do is apply! As our name suggests, at CareerStep we believe in taking steps toward a brighter future, and we’ve put together a few pointers to get you started.
Start with the First 4 Steps
To help you navigate your way through the MyCAA application process, here are your first 4 steps. Remember, if you get stuck or have questions, you have dedicated support available from MyCAA’s counselors (as well as from us at CareerStep!)
1) Create your own My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) by clicking here. This official Department of Defense site is the hub for MyCAA participants, and it’s where you’ll find a wealth of information about the program, including a list of approved programs and schools.
2) Create a Career Goal. We highly recommend you contact the school you’re looking to attend as part of this step. Why? You’ll have a better understanding of the available programs and how they align with your desired career direction. To get guidance from a CareerStep Advisor, call 1-855-261-7366 for step-by-step help. When you’re ready, click on “Create Goal” in the “What’s Next?” box on the right of your MyCAA account. Then click “OK” in the pop-up window to create your goal.
3) Submit an Education and Training Plan. Get this submitted for approval at least 2 months prior to your desired class start. The approval process can take up to 15 business days, and after that, there will be additional time needed to submit your financial assistance request. This is another area where it is very important to work with the school you’re planning to attend. They can often provide you with the actual Education and Training Plan document and help you make sure it includes everything you’ll need to be approved.
4) Call for your Individual Career Plan (ICP) Consultation. A required step, your ICP allows your application to progress. This consultation gives you the opportunity to confirm with a MyCAA advisor that the program and career goals you have set are the path you want to take. Please call MyCAA directly at 1-800-342-9647 to request an appointment. If you’re pursuing a CareerStep program, contact your CareerStep Advisor at 1-855-261-7366 to let them know when your appointment will take place.
Stay Ahead of Common Pitfalls
Over the course of time, the MyCAA administrators have seen patterns to avoid during the application process. Lucky you, they’ve outlined the common pitfalls of the program to make sure you’re getting started in the right direction. Noteworthy recommendations for new applicants include:
– Stay in contact. If you have initiated contact regarding your MyCAA Account, check your account on a weekly basis for replies or system messages. This also keeps you aware of account information updates, such as required information you may need to submit.
– Print or save a copy of all your MyCAA documents. You’ll want to deliver or send a copy of the documents to your school.
– Reach out to your school’s MyCAA representative. They can assist you, and are usually located in the registrar’s office, financial aid office, or veteran affair’s office.
Here for You Every Step of the Way
As a MyCAA-approved institution, CareerStep has an entire department dedicated to helping students using a MyCAA grant. As part of that department, Academic Advisor Laura Felsing has worked with hundreds of military spouses looking to use MyCAA to cover the costs of their education.
“It can be confusing for new students, but we’re here every step of the way,” said Laura. “We have a lot of experience walking students through the process. We help them get that funding approved as quickly and easily as possible.”
Laura’s favorite part of her job? “It’s great knowing there’s a grant out there that I can help students get approved for so they can take courses. I like knowing I’m helping them get further in their careers.”
CareerStep’s online programs include everything you need to train for a rewarding new career, and with MyCAA funding, hundreds of our students have graduated with no out-of-pocket expenses.
Visit CareerStep.com or call a CareerStep Academic Advisor directly at 1-855-261-7366 for friendly, helpful assistance.
Our next and final article in this 6-post series about MyCAA will offer an essentials checklist for finding a MyCAA-approved certificate program. Check it out.