Resources for Returning Military Personnel

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Veterans returning home have more options than ever before to continue forward with their career path and delve deeper into their education. Since 75% of separating veterans are aged 17-34, it’s absolutely fundamental for them to be able to complete a college degree and settle into civilian life.

In this article, we’ll be going over many of the resources available to returning military personnel so that no matter where you are in life, you’ll be able to take advantage of these programs to continue your education.

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Educational Resources for Returning Military

First, let’s go over all the resources available to returning military personnel to go back to school and finish their degree.

    • GI Bill

The GI Bill is by far the most well-known option for active duty service members, families, and veterans to use to improve their education and complete a degree program. All you need to do is apply through the VA to an approved educational institution, receive a certificate which proves your qualifying status, and attend your classes.

This educational resource can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used by service members and family, helping enormously with potential financial burdens.

The best part is that the GI Bill is not restricted to traditional university degree programs, you can also use it to attend vocational training, apprenticeships, work-study programs, and even tutoring services. It’s an all-in-one program designed to help returning military personnel achieve their dreams.

Find out more about the GI Bill here:

https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/ – How to Apply

https://www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool – GI Bill comparison tool

    • Army Continuing Education System

The Army Continuing Education system is a separate program that gives financial assistance of up to $4,000 to help with the cost of materials and tuition. It is intended for active-duty Soldiers with the goal of enhancing the skills and competencies they have available via voluntary educational development.

Find out more about this opportunity here:

https://home.army.mil/imcom/index.php/customers/ACES

    • Air Force Military Tuition Assistance Program

The Air Force Military Tuition Assistance program is similar to the previous program, but specific to Airmen and women. It pays for up to $4,500 annually to go towards both tuition and school supplies.

The program requires that service members maintain a GPA minimum, as well as pass their PT tests, among other requirements. Find out more about the program here:

https://www.afpc.af.mil/Benefits-and-Entitlements/Military-Tuition-Assistance-Program/

    • Marine Corps Voluntary Education Program

The Marine Corps Voluntary Education Program helps provide professional and educational training to service members looking to further their professional development. They offer individual counseling, tuition assistance programs, as well as help finding the right college.

You can learn more about their program here:

http://www.usmc-mccs.org/services/education/voluntary-education/

    • Coast Guard Institute

The Coast Guard also offers financial assistance to those wishing to continue through higher education with the goal of professional development. They offer services to assist with applications, testing, grant assistance, and tuition assistance in approved educational centers.

Find out more about the Voluntary Education program here:

https://www.forcecom.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/FORCECOM-UNITS/ETQC/Voluntary-Education/

    • Navy College Program

The Navy College offers both tuition assistance programs and the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education with the goal of providing higher education opportunities to personnel assigned to sea duty type 2 and 4 Unit Identification Codes (UICs).

The details about the higher education courses and other information can be found here:

https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/

    • Federal Student Aid

The Federal Student Aid service provides billions of dollars to students each year to help pay for university. They have several different methods of obtaining financial aid that assist in the costs of attending college, as well as offer flexible loan repayment programs.

Learn more about Federal Student Aid here:

https://studentaid.gov/

    • Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) provides cost-free educational assistance and career planning programs designed for active duty service members. They coordinate with other programs to avoid redundancies and are a great resource for service members at any level of their professional career.

If you’d like more information about these career planning services, you can find their website here:

https://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html

    • Joint Services Transcript

The Joint Services Transcript is an essential resource for any service member aiming to obtain a higher education degree. This service helps validate your occupational experience and training to correspond to approved academic credits. This transcript service creates an academically recognized document approved by the American Council on Education.

To find out how to turn your occupational experience into university credits, you can register here:

https://jst.doded.mil/jst/

    • ACE Military Guide

The Ace Military Guide is the go-to service for any of your education-related concerns. Their services outline every single program available to military personnel and help streamline other services, like the previously JST program.

For more details, you can find the ACE Military Guide here:

https://www.acenet.edu/Programs-Services/Pages/Credit-Transcripts/Military-Guide-Online.aspx

Professional Resources for Returning Military Personnel

Now it’s time to go over professional resources that are available to returning military personnel. All of these resources are here to help you jump-start your next career path and enter into the workforce.

    • Veterans Employment Center

The Veterans Employment Center offers an enormous amount of resources to returning military personnel. From transition assistance to employment readiness, this office is designed to help you make the most of your civilian life.

If you are separating from the military, this is your go-to service for transition assistance. You can learn more about it here:

https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/

    • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

This commission is in-disposable for military members who have developed a disability during their service. This office will help inform service members of their rights, including explaining legal definitions of disabilities, and helps guarantee that employments do not treat former military members unfavorably.

No matter what degree of disability (or lack thereof) you may have developed due to military service, the following guide will help lead you through all of your options available to protect your rights going into the workforce:

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/understanding-your-employment-rights-under-americans-disabilities-act-guide-veterans

    • Veterans Preference for Federal Jobs

The 2009 Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, maintained that veterans shall be given preference to employment for Federal jobs. This office helps assist former service members in landing a job within the federal government based on their skills and qualifications.

You can learn more about the preferences given to you as a returning service member here:

https://www.fedshirevets.gov/

    • USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

USERRA is a great program designed to help service members who are facing discrimination in the civilian workforce. They will help inform you about your rights as a former military member and examine complaints regarding discriminatory business practices, then aid in subsequent actions.

If you or a colleague have experienced discriminatory behavior, you can get help from USERRA’s services here:

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/userra

    • Helmets to Hardhats

This nonprofit organization is a national service that helps transition service members into a successful career in construction. They provide the training and resources to help service members carry out a successful transition.

Learn more about this nonprofit here:

https://helmetstohardhats.org/

    • USA Jobs

Finally, USA Jobs is a job search website designed for returning service members or anyone interested in obtaining a job within the federal government. They understand the importance of a successful transition into civilian life and provide several ways of making the switch to a new career path easier.

You can start your job search today at their website:

https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/unique-hiring-paths/veterans/

Re-enter Civilian Life Easier

These days, it’s never been easier for returning services members to make a smooth transition into civilian life. From tuition assistance to career management programs, there’s a service out there for you.

If you’re looking to go back to school, you can check out this list of military-friendly colleges:

https://biblecollegeonline.com/resources/military-friendly-colleges/

And if you’re looking to go directly into the workforce, make sure you check out some of these resources to make the transition that much easier!

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