Military Students practice climbing power poles

Put Your Military Training and Experience to Work

Is the opportunity to earn and use education benefits one of your goals for enlisting in military service?  Now that you’ve had some time to serve and consider your future military and/or civilian career, it’s highly possible those original objectives have changed and starting a full academic program may not put you on the career track you had or have in mind. Vocational and technical programs could be a more logical alternative to academic education.   If this sounds like something that might interest you – then take a look at the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program through Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) – http://www.soc.aascu.org/career-and-technical-education .

The CTE program helps military members identify credit bearing certificate programs from select, postsecondary institutions that recognize the value of your military training and occupational experiences. That’s right! Your training and experiences have potential credit value that may lead to a career after serving in the military and may eventually be incorporated into an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Here are 5 Top FAQs about CTE to help you decide if earning credentials in a technical career field, while you’re still in the military, is an education path you would like to consider.

1. What is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program?

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), contracted by the Defense Department (DoD), has developed a new program that identifies credit-bearing certificates in career and technical education fields. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Resource list identifies certificate programs offered by degree-granting institutions that recognize and build upon military training and occupational experiences, http://www.soc.aascu.org/career-and-technical-education/certificates . The initial phase of the program identifies a limited number of certificate programs representing careers from six career clusters that were selected by the DoD as career options with positive growth potential for military members, http://www.soc.aascu.org/career-and-technical-education/cte-certificate-clusters .

2. Can I get academic credit for my military training and experience?

Institutions listed have agreed to evaluate and award credit for military training and/or occupational experience where applicable to the program. The amount and type of credit awarded is determined by evaluators at the college based on a student’s prior learning experiences. Keep in mind that your military training must meet the school’s academic standards and satisfy specific certificate or degree requirements.

3. Do I need to obtain approval from a counselor before starting a certificate program?

Yes, your military education counselor or college academic adviser will help you choose the certificate that best fits your needs, navigate the college admissions process, and provide guidance on course selection. Students using military Tuition Assistance (TA) are required to have a degree plan and obtain approval from their military education counselor before enrolling.

4. How does a certificate benefit a military member?

Certificates provide marketable, entry-level skills. Military members often have expertise in an occupational specialty or technical area, but need an educational credential to gain employment in the civilian environment. In addition, credits earned from the certificate program can be applied to an associate or bachelor’s level degree.

5. My question wasn’t listed here, where do I go for help?

You can always contact your Education Center or SOC’s CTE Program Coordinator for assistance.

A directory of education centers is located on the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website, www.dantes.doded.mil . You can contact SOC by calling 800-368-5622 or sending an e-mail to soccte@aascu.org.

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Kirstin Savage

Kirstin Savage serves as the command customer service specialist for the Communications Division and develops and delivers multimedia outreach products. With more than 20 years of service in the DANTES Examinations Program and Troops to Teachers, she was awarded the CCME William E. Kennedy Award in 2012 for her superior efforts. From Washington State, she is a cooking enthusiast and enjoys family, friends and traveling.