Military Spouse Fellowship Leads to Financial Career Opportunities

Military Spouse Fellowship Leads to Finance Career Opportunities

The Military Spouse Fellowship leads military spouses to a career in the finance industry by training them to become Accredited Financial Counselors ® (AFCs).

Through a partnership between the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation, the Military Spouse Fellowship is a one-of-a-kind initiative to help military spouses gain portable careers.

The Military Spouse Fellowship

FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation sponsors the fellowship that leads to an industry recognized certification: the Accredited Financial Counselor ® .

“As Military Spouse Fellows, they will gain the experience and credibility needed to work in the financial field, and the flexibility to achieve their career aspirations while supporting their service members and families.”

The fellowship is open to current or surviving spouses of active duty or retired military from all services, including the Space Force. Additionally, spouses of National Guard and Reserve members are eligible to apply.

Application Information

Follow this link to apply. There are seven tasks that applicants must complete for the Military Spouse Fellowship:

  1. Supply Applicant Information
  2. Provide Details of Your Service Member
  3. Letter of Recommendation (highly recommended, but it is optional)
  4. Fill Out the Education & Experience Form
  5. Answer Essay Questions
  6. Provide Optional Demographic Information
  7. Submit Additional Information, if needed

Once your application is complete and submitted, it will be processed for consideration.

How The Military Spouse Fellowship Works

The FINRA Foundation covers the costs associated with the program’s self study course and examination.  AFCPE is the organization that provides the certification that leads to careers in the finance industry.

“The Military Spouse Fellowship is special because it not only provides military spouses with a new set of skills, but it also gives them an additional network of connections,” explained Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation, in a press release.

Rachel DeLeon, AFCPE’s Interim Executive Director, added that, “[a]s military spouses build their careers, the AFC ® certification gives them the tools they need to feel confident while providing education and guidance to military families…The certification is also nationally recognized, so it gives them a flexible career which is critical for families who are often moving.”

Once a military spouse completes the AFC ® certification, they move on to serve the military community as financial counselors. They can do this through family support centers, tax centers, financial aid offices, and credit unions throughout the country.

The Accredited Financial Counselor Certification

Military spouses who complete this certification will be trained and equipped to:

  • Educate others on sound financial principles
  • Assist others in their journey to become debt-free
  • Help people identify and modify damaging money management behaviors
  • Lead people to develop strategies to achieve their financial goals
  • Offer support to others as they face financial challenges
  • Provide insight into cultural and emotional aspects of money

The self-study course consists of online study guides, books, and webinar review sessions.

Professionals who attain their AFC ® certification are encouraged to become AFCPE members. Membership benefits include free professional development, which grants the Continuing Education Units (CEUs) necessary to maintain certification.

Next Steps for Military Spouses

Qualifying military spouses interested in starting a new and rewarding career in finance should apply to the Military Spouse Fellowship as soon as possible. For more info, please visit their website.



Southern Careers Institute – San Antonio North

Southern Careers Institute – San Antonio North Profile

Southern Careers Institute—San Antonio North is a private, for-profit postsecondary career and technical education institution with eight locations in Texas and 10 programs in various subjects. 

Southern Careers Institute was started in 1960 and has had medical and business programs since 1992. Overall, Southern Careers Institute has 20 career-focused programs and 40 industry-preferred certifications within its eight campuses and online. 

In addition to its programs, Southern Careers Institute—San Antonio North offers free tutoring, employer connections, a tailored job search, and job market prep.  It is perfect for career training in and around San Antonio.

Accredited By: Accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education

GI Bill: Yes 


  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Business Accounting Specialist
  • Business Administration
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Electrical Technician
  • HVAC
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Welding

Certificates and Degrees: 

  • Certificates and certifications 

Job Placement Rates: The job placement rate is around 80% 

Online: Yes

Campus Location: 

  • San Antonio 

TA For Active Duty: No

MyCAA For Military Spouses: Yes

Admission Contact Person: Southern Careers Institute – San Antonio North on College Recon 

Number of GI Bill Students: 50 



Free Online Courses & Certifications for Veterans and Military Spouses

Free or Low-Cost Online Courses for Military & Veterans

Are you looking to upskill or reskill to land the job you want? You’re in luck! Several companies offer free or low-cost certifications for veterans and military spouses. Certifications and courses can vary by organization, so we compiled a list for you. Online certifications available for veterans and military spouses include Six Sigma, project management, salesforce, and more.

Free Courses

Sigma Forces


Sigma Force’s certifications and education programs are globally accredited. Sigma Forces is a veteran/military spouse-owned business, giving them a unique understanding of the importance of upskilling and reskilling for the military community. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Sigma Force:

    • Marketing and Sales
    • Scrum
    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Six Sigma

SalesForce Military


SalesForce Military program offers free 100% remote Salesforce courses for military and military spouses. The program covers certification costs, can be completed in 6 months, and the opportunity to participate in a 12-week paid job training program is available to all who qualify. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Salesforce Military:

    • Salesforce Administrator
    • Salesforce Developer
    • Sales Cloud
    • Marketing Careers
    • Salesforce Architect
    • Business Analyst
    • Salesforce Consultant
    • Service Cloud
    • Salesforce Designer

Syracuse University Veterans Career Transition Program


Through Syracuse University’s Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program transitioning military members and military spouses can take free accredited courses. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Onward to Opportunity (O2O):

    • Customer Service
    • Information Technology
    • Entry Level IT Technician
    • Cyber Security
    • Cloud Services / Information Security
    • Business Management
    • Project Management
    • Six Sigma
    • Human Resources

FEMA Independent Study Program (FEMA ISP)

FEMA Independent Study Program (FEMA ISP) offers over 200 free self-paced courses. The courses are similar to military experience, making them a great fit for the military community and first responders. FEMA has its own professional certification. Learn more here.

Courses offered by FEMA ISP:

    • An Introduction to Hazardous Materials
    • Special Events Contingency Planning for Public Safety Agencies
    • Civil Rights and FEMA Disaster Assistance
    • Public Information Officer Awareness
    • Introduction to Emergency Management for Higher Education
    • And More

The USO Pathfinder Transition Program


The USO Pathfinder® Transition Program is available to active duty, reserve, national guard, and military spouses. The program offers 3 professional development courses in partnership with Microsoft. Learn more here.

Courses offered by USO:

    • Skillsoft
    • IBM SkillsBuild
    • Coursera

Career Forward by HOH


Career Forward is a career program offered by Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) for veterans. The program is designed to help veterans get certifications in as little as 6 months. Veterans can enroll in the self-paced Google Career Certificate program to help launch a new career. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Career Forward:

    • Data Analytics
    • IT Support
    • Project Management
    • User Experience (UX) Design

Free or Low-Cost Courses

Chartered Certified Project Manager Certifications (CCPMC)

CCPMC has developed the Military Governmental Educational Advanced Placement Exemptions program that allows for special military exemptions for the MPM and CIPM certifications. If military members meet the eligibility requirements for the two courses, they would be exempt from the training or accredited college degree requirements, fees may apply. CCPMC also offers over 100 certificate courses. Learn more here.

    • Courses offered by CCPMC:
    • MPM Master Project Manage
    • CPM Chartered Process Manager
    • CIPM Certified International Project Manager
    • Engineering Certifications
    • CSSA Certified – Six Sigma Analysis
    • OSHA Safety Credentials
    • And more


Coursera is a collection of free or low-cost courses/certifications by 200+ companies and universities. They are not military-focused; However, their courses/certifications are well-known and recommended by many companies. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Coursera:

    • Data Science
    • Health
    • Arts and Humanities
    • Information Technology
    • Business
    • Social Sciences
    • Physical Science and Engineering
    • Math and Logic


Alison offers over 4,000 accredited online courses. The courses are free to take and self-paced. There is no cost to take the classes, however, users will incur a cost to obtain a diploma or certificate. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Alison:

    • IT
    • Health
    • Language
    • Business
    • Management
    • Personal Development
    • Sales & Marketing
    • Engineering & Construction
    • Teaching & Academics
    • English

Skill Storm – Military Focus

Skill Storm works with transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses to develop their technology career goals. Skill Storm courses are approved for VA funding and offer scholarships for military spouses. Learn more here.

Courses offered by Skill Storm:

    • Introduction to Coding
    • Objected-Oriented Programming
    • Programming in JAVA
    • Data Structures
    • Relational Database and SQL
    • Introduction to Pega
    • Introduction to AWS
    • Full Stack Java Development
    • Introduction to Salesforce

Added Benefit

Not only are you getting a leg up on the competition by upskilling/reskilling for free or low-cost and advancing your career by obtaining certifications, but many of the organizations listed above have employment assistance programs specifically for the military community. Career services include interview prep, resume building, work programs, personality tests, career guides, and more.





How to Change Your Career as a Veteran Spouse?

Your Employment Questions Answered: How to Change Your Career as a Veteran Spouse?

Sometimes the best way to learn something new is by seeking advice from those who have been there. Asking questions is how we learn about new resources or can give us perspectives that we might never have considered. When you ask a question, you can gain the knowledge you are looking for that will help you figure out what you need to know to move forward, whatever the subject might be.

As a military spouse, once your service member retires, you may be looking for a change in job or career. But how do you find the right one? While searching for a new job can be a bit complicated, there are programs out there to help military and veteran spouses. These programs can give you the right tools and point you in the right direction to find a better-suited job.

Question: How to Find the Best Job Opportunity?

My husband retired from the military two years ago, and we live at Camp Lejeune. I am seeking a new career with a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in Healthcare Administration.

I am having a hard time finding the right job. I look at Indeed and USAJobs daily, and nothing is happening. I have always worked at Naval Hospitals as a contractor but want to move on to something else. Can you help?


Looking for a new career or change can be such a smart move. It can be tricky, though. The good news is that there are organizations to help military spouses and veteran spouses do so. They can work with you to find the right job or to change careers. Here are a few of them.

Onward to Opportunity Program 

This program is a free career training program that provides professional certification and employee support services to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. They combine industry-validated curriculum, partnerships with leading veteran service organizations and private companies as well as comprehensive career coaching services to help you prepare and match you with a career.

You can work on certification in the Information Technology, Business Management, and Customer service industries. They offer over 30 classes in many different locations, including Camp Lejeune. The Onward to Opportunity Program is through IVMF/Syracuse.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that helps service members, veterans, and their spouses seek meaningful employment. They can give you one-on-one coaching, review your resume, give you LinkedIn help, mentor you, and much more.

Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes offers events, programs, and career counseling. They offer 65+ hiring events each year and offer a virtual education and training center with on-demand workshops.


Also, make sure to check out the Recruiting & Staffing Profiles on Career Recon to find more companies and organizations that can help you with your job search.  or you can use our free tool that will help connect you with recruiting and staffing agencies that find jobs specifically for military, veterans, and their spouses.


You will also find this article, “Jobs for People With a Healthcare Administration Degree,” from, helpful for information on what you can expect by making this change.

If you do want to make a career change and find a job that would work better for you, there are many resources out there to help. Anything from tweaking your resume a bit to having access to job offers can get you on the right path for finding that ideal job. Good luck!


RELATED: Portable Career Fields for Military Spouses in Nursing



Translate Your Military Skills and Experience

When applying for a job it is important to highlight yourself in areas you might fall short. Businesses are increasingly seeing the value of hiring from the military community and often take experience over education. Military members operate with a “mission-critical” mindset, elevating their performance to a higher level. These transferable skills are valuable across all industries and should be used to your advantage.

There’s a 99% chance that the person interviewing you never served in the military.

Transferable Skills Every Military Member Should Highlight

1. Leadership

It is important to highlight that you are confident in your leadership ability, can motivate a team, and lead by example. Military members are often called to lead by example, through direction, delegation, and motivation. These are positive leadership skills that inspire people and showcase your ability to achieve results and manage staff.

2. Self-Starter

Show that you can start and finish a project with little to no guidance. Those who have been in the military long enough know that being able to start and finish a task with little to no guidance happens daily. This ability turns veterans into self-starts who can anticipate project needs.

3. Adaptability

Being able to change gears at a moment’s notice and handle any situation that comes your way is a critical skill. Adaptability is hugely emphasized in the military community as the ability to adapt to a new direction at any level of a project or situation is a powerful skill. This can be shown through last-minute taskings or changing deadlines.

4. Integrity

Integrity is a highly valued trait that speaks to your character, employers want to know they can trust you. There are many ways integrity can be shown through decision-making in areas such as resource allocation, one’s behavior, and implementation of guidelines or procedures.

5. Effective Communication

Military members have been trained to communicate with a wide range of personalities and ranks clearly and respectfully. Everyone has value and military members have been trained to communicate effectively in any situation. Communication up chain and down chain requires clear concise effective communication.

6. Teamwork

It is important to highlight that you are confident in your leadership ability, can motivate a team, and lead by example. Military members are often called to lead by example, through direction, delegation, and motivation. These are positive leadership skills that inspire people and showcase your ability to achieve results and manage staff.

7. Problem-Solving

It is important to highlight that you are confident in your leadership ability, can motivate a team, and lead by example. Military members are often called to lead by example, through direction, delegation, and motivation. These are positive leadership skills that inspire people and showcase your ability to achieve results and manage staff.

Find the best job and training opportunities to accelerate your civilian career.

8. Followership

Military operations require extensive planning and workload management. Being able to take ideas that are not your own and implement and execute the plan only enhance the organization.

Highlighting this underrated transferable skill shows that you:

  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Have company loyalty
  • Are competent
  • Can practice discretion
  • Are not driven by ego or pride

9. Financial Responsibility

It is important to share financial experience relating to budgeting, contract management, resource allocation, or financial management.

When it comes to financial tasks in the military there is no room for error. Highlighting your military-related financial responsibility will mean a great deal to a prospective employer.

Maintaining personal financial stability is also a transferable skill. This can be critical for those who have had to maintain a top-secret security clearance.

VA Offers Career, Educational Counseling to Veterans

In addition to the many programs offered by the Department of Affairs (VA), lesser known benefits available to all Veterans are the Educational and Career Counseling services.

Education & Counseling for Veterans

Officially known as Personalized Career Planning and Guidance (PCPG), or VA Chapter 36, this program is available to Veterans and their dependents. For those who have eligible VA education benefits, the PCPG offers free education counseling, career guidance, and planning for both.

PCPG Eligibility

To be eligible for these counseling resources, one of the following must be true:

  • You will be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable from active duty within six months, OR
  • You separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable not more than one year ago, OR
  • You qualify as a Veteran or service member for educational assistance under a VA educational program, OR
  • You are a service member, Veteran, or dependent currently eligible for VA education benefits

PCPG Benefits

The services available under Chapter 36 are:

  • Career counseling to help you decide which civilian or military jobs you want
  • Educational counseling to help you find a training program or field of study
  • Academic and adjustment counseling to help you address issues or barriers that get in the way of your success
  • Resume support and goal planning
  • Assist with the development of an employment plan

These services are offered by trained and certified counselors who can help with your transition from military to civilian life.

The best part is, as long as you remain eligible, you can use the PCPG as many times as you want. The program is designed to “meet you where you are” in the process of finding a job or education program.

Applying to PCPG

If you are eligible and you’re seeking education or career counseling, there are three ways to apply for VA Chapter 36.

  1. Apply Online
  2. Apply by mail using VA Form 28-8832
    1. Just print and mail to: Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Intake Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, P.O. Box 5210, Janesville, WI 53547-5210
  3. Take your application to the nearest regional office, or to a VetSuccess on Campus counselor

Do Not Miss PCPG Counseling

If you are nearing your transition, or if you’ve already done so, please don’t skip this counseling. It’s free, and many Veterans don’t even know it’s available.

I was one of those. I retired in 2014, and I faced many challenges when choosing a new career field, a degree program, and other obstacles. Sure, I conquered them eventually, but I did it alone and it didn’t have to be that way.

You are not alone in your transition. Nor are you alone even years later. If you need help with something, reach out to the VA’s counselors, and even other Veterans.

Let these counselors set you up for success in all of your education and career goals.

(Image courtesy of U.S. Army)


How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

Video Transcription

People ask me about how to deal with imposter syndrome. But let’s start with what imposter syndrome is, basically doubting your own experience that you’ve accumulated as well as your skills. And what that means is you’re a good human being.

I served at a level in the military with some of the most high-performing, men and women in the armed services, and as I look back and reflect upon that I constantly question. Why was I allowed to serve at that level?

I never felt like I belonged there, I had to fight to stay there every day, but I accumulated. I gained some good experience and I learned from my peers. I learned from great mentors, and ultimately, guys, you’ve got to respect the fact that you put sweat, blood, and tears to gain your experience, and you should be proud of that.

But ultimately, what you have to do is you have to be able to translate that so that the civilian market understands all the values that you have to offer. Rest assured you bring a lot of value to any organization that’s going to hire you.



Team Development Resources and Learning

Your Employment Questions Answered: Team Development

Sometimes the best way to learn something new is by seeking advice from those who have been there. Asking questions is how we learn about new resources or can give us perspectives that we might never have thought about before. When you ask a question, you can gain the knowledge you are looking for that will help you figure out what you need to know to move forward, whatever the subject might be. 

Team development is an important part of being a good leader. Having the skills to properly train and help your team is important. Some people don’t always feel totally equipped for this, even if it is their role. This question asks for more information on how to set yourself up as a leader when it comes to team management and development. 

Question: Team Development


I am in a leadership role within a nonprofit. I am not sure where to begin when it comes to leading with regards to team management, facilitating team building sessions, and leading and maintaining our team culture. I haven’t had any training or education on these topics. Where do I begin? 



Becoming educated on team development will teach you what you need to know that will help you in your new role. You can gain this education by taking courses and finding other trainings that are available to you both online and in person. 

Since your new role seems to be in Organizational Development (OD). Organizational Development is the study and implementation of practices, systems, and techniques that would help an organization or other type of community change for the better. Being that this is your focus, it would be a good idea to take a look at courses that have to do with OD. Here are some examples:

You can also check out this list from Coursera:

Ideas For Training On Team Development Issues:

Team Building Skills and Facilitation

Team building skills and facilitation is a big part of team development. These resources can help your team grow, get to know one another better and find the best way to create a good work environment. 


Reading an audiobook can be a great way to learn something new. Add these books to your reading list to learn more about team development and the skills that will help you become the leader you want to be. 

  • Unstoppable Teams
  • Good to Great
  • Start with Why
  • Thinking Fast and Slow
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers
  • The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy 
  • Best Practices in Organization Development and Change: Culture, Leadership, Retention, Performance Coaching

Other Resources On Team Building


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