Military Employment Guide: Continued Education & Training
Step by Step Guide to Employment: Continued Education and Training – General Military
Once you have figured out what your career path is, and possible jobs that you may want to apply for, you may need to continue your education and go back to school. You might need a certain degree, such as an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, or you may just need a few more classes or a certificate of some kind.
As a service member or former service member, you have Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you can use for your education. It would be important to know how to register for them, how to transfer them if need be, and what you need to do in order to have them pay for your schooling.
In addition, vocational training and preparing yourself for entrepreneurship can get you on the right path for your new career. Whether you are planning to open your own business right away, or plan to in the future, knowing what to expect is important.
Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits
With your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you should be able to go to school for no cost. Of course, this does depend on where you are going to go to school, how much has already been used, and what you plan to do.
- Are you eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits? You are if you have served on active duty for at least 90 days, after September 10, 2001.
- You will then need to apply for benefits. Gather the following documents: your social security number, direct deposit information, education, and military history, and basic information about the school or training facility.
- You can apply online, by mail, in person, or work with a trained professional. Keep in mind it can take up to 30 days to process your education claim.
- After you have applied and your claim is accepted you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility, (COE), or award letter in the mail. You will then need to bring this to the VA certifying official at your school.
- What happens if you get denied and disagree with that decision? You can request a decision review or manage a legacy appeal.
You also have the option of transferring your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Doing so will allow a spouse or a child to use them if you don’t plan to do so in the future. You will need to apply to transfer those benefits, as they don’t just happen automatically.
- First of all, find out if you can even qualify to transfer your benefits. You need to be active duty, or in the Selected Reserve and have completed at least six years of service on the date your request is approved. You also need to add four more years to your service. The person getting the benefits will need to be enrolled in DEERS.
- Once the Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) is approved, your dependent can apply for up to 36 months of benefits.
- Spouses can use these benefits right away. They can be used whether you are on active duty or after you have separated, for up to 15 years after you do so. They can’t however receive MHA if you are still on active duty.
- Children can also use them whether you are on active duty or after you have separated, however, you will need to have at least 10 years of service before they can do so. They also need a high school diploma or be 18 years of age, and they do qualify for MHA, even if you are active duty. They can’t use the benefits after they turn 26.
- When you are still on active duty you will need to request, change, or revoke a TOE through milConnect. Once approved you can apply online or by mail.
Prepping for Vocational Training
You might need to look into vocational training to gain the certificates and skills you need to apply for certain jobs, or even to move forward in your current job. Vocational training is training to get the skills you need, usually in highly technical or hands-on fields. Some examples would be plumbing, culinary arts, fashion design, graphic design, automotive repair, medical assistant, dental assistant, and nursing assistant.
You can attend state vocational schools, private schools, and non-profit technical schools to earn a certificate in the subject you want. Community colleges also have many of these options. You need to figure out if you would like to attend online or in person, and where you actually want to go. This might be hugely dependent on where you live and what is available to you.
While it might depend on the subject, most of these courses will take you a couple of months, and some you can earn in a matter of weeks. On the other side, you might also find some programs that are more in-depth and take longer, even up to a couple of years.
- Decide what skills you want to go to vocational school for
- Decide where you will go and if you will go in person or online
- Fill out an application for the school
- Figure out how you will pay for the vocational training. Will you be using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits? Make sure to follow the directions above to receive those benefits.
Prepping for Entrepreneurship
If you want to go the entrepreneurship route and create and run your own business, you will want to prepare to do so. First of all, what will you be doing? What will your business be? You can offer a service-based business such as coaching, or repair work, or a product-based business, such as selling consumer items, or even items you have created yourself. There are a lot of options when it comes to entrepreneurship.
In order to prepare yourself for this career path, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.
- What will your business be? How will you set it all up?
- What skills will you need to pursue this path? Do you need any more education to help you get started?
- Do you have the right mindset for entrepreneurship? You may need to work on that. Working for yourself can be very different from working for someone else.
- Commit to it. As an entrepreneur, you will go through ups and downs and things won’t always be easy. Committing to this type of career path is important.
- Know the law. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, there are certain tax laws, and business laws you need to make sure you are aware of. Get your ducks in a row before you get started, and make sure you have done everything you can to prepare.
Continuing your education and training is a good goal to have, whether you need it for a specific job, or to run your own business. Take the time to figure out what you personally need, and work on getting it done. You will then be in a much better place to succeed, find a new job, and get the most out of your career.