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From Soldier to Student: A Guide to Higher Education for Veterans

This guest post has been offered free of charge by the Tank Encyclopedia team for DeployCare.org

Transitioning into civilian life can require veterans to make some serious choices. One of the most common decisions that vets face while preparing for this transition is whether to go back to school. Whether it’s to earn a basic degree or a more advanced certification, if you are facing a similar choice, having these tips can help you navigate the process and achieve your educational goals.

Choosing Your Degree

If you’re like most veterans, you’re likely going back to school in order to boost your post-service career prospects. Earning a degree can not only put you in the running for more jobs but could also potentially earn you a bigger paycheck. Here are some options to consider:

Computer Science

Take a look at the top career fields across the country and you will see that tech jobs dominate the list. Whether you want to be an internet security specialist or web developer, having a degree in computer science can give you an edge over the competition. Best of all, you can complete your educational goals online by earning your computer science degree from WGU.

Business

Want to work in sales or finance? Then you may want to think about going back to school to earn a business degree. Depending on what sort of courses you complete, you could put yourself in the running for some pretty lucrative positions. Having all of that business savvy can also come in handy if you are dreaming of opening your own business at some point. So, you could even consider taking things one step further and getting an MBA.

Health Sciences

If you signed up for active duty because you wanted to help other people, a career in healthcare could be your perfect fit after that service has ended. Aside from always being in demand, healthcare workers also tend to enjoy competitive salaries and flexible work schedules. There are also careers to fit just about any set of work and education experience imaginable. In fact, you don’t need an advanced degree to earn an impressive paycheck in healthcare.

Covering Your Expenses

Now let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about how to pay for the degrees and training mentioned above. If you’re a veteran, you’re actually in luck because there are several financial programs that can make going back to school more affordable, including:

Veterans Benefits

If you want to earn your degree without paying a single cent, you should start by signing up for the benefits you are owed for your military service. For example, qualifying veterans could have up to 100 percent of their tuition and fees covered but they may also be eligible to receive allowances for housing, books, and other educational expenses.

Scholarships

Need more help with your educational expenses? Or, perhaps you want to help your spouse go to college as well? Then you can also consider applying for one of several scholarship programs aimed at supporting veterans and dependent family members in their educational pursuits. These scholarships are offered by a variety of corporations, non-profit organizations, and professional associations, but the amount of each award can vary. Read through all of the application materials to see award amounts and specific requirements.

Grants and Loans

Before you sign up for your first class, you may also want to fill out a FAFSA form online. The Free Application for Student Aid will give you access to federal grant and loan programs that can also help to offset educational expenses. Even if you qualify for the GI Bill and other scholarships, completing a FAFSA may be worthwhile since you can use federal funds in conjunction with existing educational benefits.

With so many degree choices and financial options, there’s no reason why going back to school can’t fit into your own military transition. There may be challenges along the way, but you’re used to overcoming some pretty tough situations as an active duty military member. Take those lessons and skills and combine them with these tips to forge your own path forward.

When you want to learn more about tanks in-between classes, be sure to check out specs, resources, and information on the Tank Encyclopedia.

Photo Credit: Benjamin [email protected]

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