Checklist for Finding a MyCAA-Approved Certificate Program

Posted on 08.18.2015

So, you’re a military spouse approved for MyCAA financial assistance? Congrats! As you evaluate your MyCAA options, keep certificate programs in mind.

Certificate programs are one of the training types eligible for MyCAA funding. Benefits of this option include a quicker timeline versus earning an associate degree, getting you trained and working faster. Certificates are also a nice enhancement for those who already have a degree but want to polish their skills and receive more career training so that they can be more attractive job candidates. As you weigh out your options, use the 4 must-have qualities listed below to make sure you’re making the most of your $4,000 MyCAA scholarship and signing up for the best certificate program option.

4 Essentials of Choosing a Certificate Program

1) MyCAA-approved

This essential for career development programs may seem like a no-brainer, but not every school or educational institution has been approved by the MyCAA program. According to the FAQs on the Military OneSource site, there are approximately 3,000 schools and campuses participating. All schools and institutions participating in the MyCAA program must be accredited by a regulatory body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Department of Defense.

The DoD recommends choosing a school that is already participating as the fastest way to use MyCAA financial assistance. If a school in your sights is not on the list, you can encourage school officials to visit the School Resources page on the MyCAA Spouse Portal to learn about school eligibility and accreditation requirements. However, this process can take up to 60 days to complete. Double check if your desired school is participating on the MyCAA Spouse Portal by using the “School/Program” button and search function ( to view a list of participating schools.

We at CareerStep are pleased to be an approved MyCAA institution, and every one of our variety of online certificate programs is MyCAA approved.

Whether you’re looking at some short term career training programs or wanting a more in-depth career development program, your MyCAA scholarship will be accepted and applied toward your educational costs.

2) Portable

With a relocating lifestyle, military spouses are encouraged to find certificate career programs they can take with them. Rather than face the hassle of changing schools or campus locations during a program, choosing an online course gives you access to training that is available anytime, anywhere. This makes it easy to bring school with you if you get transferred and study on the schedule that fits your family’s unique situation.

Another great benefit of online courses is that you can obtain your certification much faster. Many CareerStep courses are designed with the capability to be 6-month career training programs, which means you’ll have the advantage of being able to finish your training faster than a more traditional degree program—preparing you to start working sooner.

“I could access the program any time I wanted to,” said Dana, a military spouse, mother, and CareerStep Medical Transcription graduate in an interview. “That was key for me. I could not set myself in a schedule of being in a classroom or going online at a specific time. I needed that flexibility.”

3) Employer trusted

In today’s business world, employers are seeking to quickly fill the skills gap for in-demand careers. If that gap can be filled with a qualified candidate using certification from a 6-month training program, even better.

As we shared in our post, The Often Forgotten Certificate Program, on the Army Wife Network column, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently ranked careers by the number of jobs projected. On the list, 19 of the 20 occupations expected to grow most require 2 years or less of education. Certificate programs help you develop essential skills, minimize on-the-job training you’ll need, and help you stand out in the job market.

At CareerStep, our students train with confidence because our graduates have a proven track record of being hired by industry leaders. For example, our CareerStep Pharmacy Technician students are regularly hired as externs and employees at Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide and leading healthcare employers use our Medical Coding and Billing curriculum to train their employees.

4) Instructor supported

If you’re taking a short-term career training program in-person, you would expect your instructor to see your raised hand and answer your question, right? The same should be true for a remote instructor. A quality online certificate program gives you the freedom to learn at your own pace, while also providing access to an expert when you have a question or need a little encouragement. You can tell a lot about instructor support before a course begins—it’s important to notice how a school or learning institution responds to your needs from your first interaction with them.

“I had emailed and corresponded with CareerStep prior to enrolling in the course. I always got very truthful answers, very knowledgeable answers,” continued Dana. “I realized that CareerStep cared about military spouses.”

At CareerStep, our dedicated instructors are available to answer your questions. We encourage our students to contact their instructors by their preferred communication method—phone, email, and/or chat—every step of the way.

To learn more about MyCAA and how it can help you as a military spouse, check out our earlier posts that explain what the program is, why it exists, who is eligible for funding, what the program will pay for, and what the application process looks like.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and make the most of your MyCAA scholarship, be sure to explore the online, MyCAA-approved certification programs available through CareerStep. We’ve trained over 13,000 military spouses, and we can help you prepare for a successful career too! Visit or call an Academic Advisor at 1-855-261-7366 to get started today!