The Truth about Getting College Degrees in the Military

Challenges and Rewards of Getting College Degrees While in the Military

Search any newspaper or online job board and you’ll quickly discover that employers often want you to have college degrees in specific fields before they hire you. Gone are the days when employers are satisfied with you having top high school grade point averages and diplomas. In fact, the chance to get college degrees might be one of the reasons you joined the military. It’s good that you’re preparing for the future. However, it’s important that you understand the challenges and rewards inherent in pursuing college degrees while you’re in the military.

To start, nursing, dentistry, physician and surgeon degrees may require you to complete residences at licensed hospitals and clinics before you graduate. Should you receive military orders to work overseas, you might not be able to complete all of your coursework online, namely the residences. In these cases you might have to postpone your college education until you return stateside. However, if you work with your college’s academic advisors you should be able to complete all your paperwork and take examinations online, helping you to graduate as soon as possible after you return stateside.

Additionally, if you sign up for classroom courses and you receive overseas orders, you might have to contact administrators at the colleges you attend before you can transfer into online programs to complete the classroom courses. Depending on the colleges you take online courses at, you also might have to pay fees associated with online courses.

More Challenges and Rewards of Attending College as a Military Professional

Rewards of enrolling in online or distance learning college courses are that you can generally take the courses from anywhere in the world. You can also complete school work at any time of the day or night. You’ll have the same college textbooks to read, study and reference as you’d have if you attended classroom courses. If your college professors ask you team up with other students to work on joint projects, you can meet at nearby eateries or libraries and connect with classmates in-person.

Other challenges and rewards associated with getting college degrees in the military include:
  • Opportunities to get your college tuition paid for by the government
  • Chances to take postsecondary correspondence courses
  • Large numbers of military colleges to get postsecondary degrees from
  • Ability to gain working experience in fields you gain college degrees in
  • Challenges fitting military courses and study time into your day due to demanding military schedules
  • Opportunities to take college courses with military colleagues
  • Encouragement to complete college degrees on time to avoid having to transfer to new schools after you receive orders to different duty stations
There may be few organizations that give you as many opportunities to get college degrees as the military does. If you’re serving in the military on active duty, you can apply for tuition assistance through programs like the 9/11 Post GI Bill and get your tuition paid for by the government. Furthermore, you can use skills, credentials and training you receive from college programs for years, at jobs you work and in your personal life, while you’re in the military and after you retire and start working civilian jobs. Just make sure you understand the challenges and rewards the particular degrees and courses you take could present for you (e.g. required lab work, residency requirements).
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