Heading back to civilian life after time in the military can be daunting. While many veterans go straight into paid jobs, some vets are looking to further their education. The Postsecondary National Policy Institute states that in 2018, over 650,000 veterans used military benefits to pursue higher education.
Attending college as a veteran comes with some unique challenges but it can be very beneficial. The idea of returning to education after time in the military can be intimidating, but the decision to further your education can improve your wage-earning potential, make you more attractive to employers and help you ease back into civilian life.
The benefits of returning to education after military life
Improving your wage-earning potential – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS), the higher the level of educational attainment, the higher the average weekly earnings. Heading to college to gain further qualifications increases your earning potential.
Training for your dream career – did you know what you wanted to do when you joined the military? Many veterans use their time in the military to make decisions about future careers.
Heading to college gives you the chance to train in a field that inspires and motivates you.
Eases the transition into military life – college life and online learning can offer you a
support network and community that you may find hard to access otherwise. Many veterans find the routine of class schedules and study groups familiar and comforting.
Full time, part-time and online education
The VA says that 669,922 veterans enrolled in full-time college studies in 2018. Full-time courses are the fastest way to train for a new career.
Part-time college courses allow you to train for a career while giving you free time to spend with your family or for additional work to supplement your military income.
Online education is particularly suitable for veterans. Online courses allow students to complete their coursework from any location. A flexible option is helpful for veterans
with location restrictions due to work or family.
Suitable courses for military veterans
When it comes to furthering your education, why aim low. This is your chance to carve out the career you have always dreamed about. If you are struggling to pinpoint what it is you
would like to do, consider the following courses that provide a few “natural” segues into a civilian career:
- Criminal Justice
- Nursing or Emergency Medic
- Construction Engineering
- Computer Programming
While nursing may require in-person training, computer programming can be done remotely, providing you with the skills to become a highly qualified, in-demand professional. IT courses are one of the most in-demand educational courses and computer jobs can offer you a high paying career anywhere in the world.
How to find a college suitable for military veterans
Some educational institutions have a more military-friendly environment.
- Look for colleges that have a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Try to find out if there are administrative and faculty members with prior military service. These staff members will be more familiar with the challenges of military life and transitioning to civilian life.
- There are several different types of support programs for veterans, one of the premier organizations located on many campuses is the Student Veterans of America.
- Student veterans groups exist to make the transition to college a positive experience.
- If you need to move to attend college, non-profit organizations such as Mortgages for America can help you finance your new house.
Returning to education after life in the military will pave the way to a high-paying professional job. Skills learnt in the military can be formalized, and new lessons learned. Time in educational institutions can give you space you need to ease back into an unfamiliar world.