Veterans returning to civilian life all face a similar dilemma—what now? Their military career may be over, but most veterans have a lifetime ahead of them, and a family to support. How do they transition from life in the military to life as a civilian? How do they take what they have learned in the military and apply it to the workplace? The best place to start is with career training and a certificate program.
Every veteran leaves the service with marketable skills. The challenge is identifying those skills and using them as a foundation for a new civilian career. The military has helped you sharpen those soft skills that employers value, such as good communication, leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and a strong work ethic. Military service also has given you practical skills. However, you need to develop those skills for civilian employment.
Career training can help. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, people between the ages of 25 to 54 who have a professional certificate are employed at a rate of 93.3 percent. Those without any certification have a much lower employment rate of only 78.6 percent. With the right classes and certificate program, you can build on your current skills and acquire new expertise. Career training and a certificate program will give you the confidence and credibility you need to start a new civilian career, and the good news is that career and technical education (CTE) can be paid for by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® was created specifically to pay for college classes and vocational training to prepare vets for civilian work. There are plenty of vocational opportunities available, especially in information technology, which is a field where many veterans already have practical training. And career training takes a fraction of the time required for a college degree. With the right career training and certificate program, you can be qualified for a high-paying IT job in just a few months.
Getting the Most from Your Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits
Any veteran on active duty for 90 days or longer after Sept. 10, 2001, is eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits. The benefits include CTE support for tuition and fees at qualified schools, a monthly housing allowance, and up to $1,000 annually for books and school supplies. The Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits also include provisions such as a one-time school relocation allowance and transfer of unused benefits to family members.
If you served for 36 months, or 30 continuous days with a related service-disability discharge, you are eligible for 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI Bill® educational benefits. Veterans who served for 30 months get 90 percent of the benefits, those who served for 24 months get 80 percent, those who served for 18 months get 70 percent, those who served for 12 months get 60 percent, those who served for 6 months get 50 percent, and those who served for 90 days get 40 percent.
Finding the Right Certificate Program
Getting certified for your chosen IT specialization will open doors. For example, if you are seeking a career in computer networking, project management, or cybersecurity, a CompTIA certification shows that you have mastered the fundamentals of computing, networking, and security. There are hundreds of certifications available for different IT disciplines, each designed to demonstrate proficiency in various aspects of information technology.
IT certifications not only give you a competitive advantage when it comes to job applications, but they also increase your paycheck. Prepaway reports that among the 10 highest-paying certifications are:
- Project Management Professional (PMP), at $135,798 per year
- AWS Solutions Architect: Associate, at $132,840 per year
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), at $118,412 per year
- Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP): Routing and Switching, at $106,957 per year.
In addition to training, your Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits will pay up to $2,000 for certification test costs. And there is no limit to the number of tests you can take.
Using Your Veterans Benefits for IT Training and Certification
How do you start taking advantage of your Post-9/11 GI Bill® educational benefits?
The first step is a career training consultation. Our expert career counselors at New Horizons Career Development Solutions can help you review the training programs in our catalogs and choose the right program for you. They can help you prepare for a number of IT jobs depending on your area of interest.
Our counselors also can help you apply for your Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits. Once you enroll in the New Horizons Career Development program, they can help you customize your training so you can get your certifications as quickly as possible. And fees are paid directly to the school, which streamlines the enrollment process.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.