Army IgnitED: Completing Your Education Mission
Since the retirement of the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) in 2019, the Army has launched a new educational initiative called Army IgnitED.
This new Army program is a resource that tailors an educational path based on the needs of each Soldier. There are paths that lead to college degrees, paths that help prepare for transition, and even paths that can help Soldiers land an ROTC scholarship.
Here is a list of some of the opportunities available to Soldiers using Army IngnitED:
- Associate’s Degree – an undergraduate degree program averaging 60 credit hours from a community or junior college.
- Bachelor’s Degree – an undergraduate degree program averaging 120 credit hours from a college or university.
- Master’s Degree – a graduate degree that allows for specialization in a specific field. These degrees vary in duration based on the subject area, but most can be completed in 2 to 3 years.
- Credentials – awarded upon the verification of qualification in a given subject or skillset. This can cover a wide array of career fields from IT to the skilled trades.
- Academic Certificate – These can be either undergraduate or graduate level courses that are shorter in duration than degree programs. Soldiers are authorized up to 21 semester hours of TA every 5 years toward academic certificates.
There are also Army Special Program opportunities that allow a Soldier to focus their studies on a specific subject or skillset apart from the ones listed above.
Education Roadmaps for Soldiers
One of the best features of the Army IgnitED program is that each path is tailored to the individual. Not all Soldiers want to get degrees. Some want marketable skills to use once they leave the Army, and others want to certify the skills they’ve gained during their service. This makes Army IgnitED an important part of a Soldier’s educational pathway.
However, there are some similarities to notice about the various pathways available.
For example, a Soldier looking to use Tuition Assistance (TA) to pursue a degree or certificate program would follow these basic steps:
- Find the best educational program for their needs. This can be done using CollegeRecon’s School Search Tool, among others.
- After finding their program, Soldiers will use Army IgnitED to create their educational path.
- Applying for Tuition Assistance Funding
- Start the education program.
- Complete the degree.
While these are general steps, they highlight commonalities that each Soldier on the TA path will have to take.
Other Educational Pathways
Credentialing Assistance (CA) Path:
- Use the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) tool to explore the options available based on a Soldier’s Career Management Field (CMF).
- Discover credentials based on Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or Additional Skill Identifier (ASI).
- Choose the desired credential.
- Apply for Credentialing Assistance funding.
- Implement CA plan.
- Earn credentials.
Army ROTC Scholarship Path:
- Find the program you want. CollegeRecon’s School Search Tool will find all the schools offering an ROTC program.
- Apply for ROTC scholarship.
- Request scholarship funding in the Army IgnitED portal.
- Complete the degree program.
- Commission as an Army Officer.
RELATED: Army ROTC Scholarships
Decision Support Tool
If you’re having a hard time deciding which path you should take, the Army’s Decision Support Tool can help.
The DST will guide you through a series of 30 questions that will help determine which career field may interest you the most. Using the “Like” vs. “Dislike” paradigm, the DST using how you feel about a certain activity to eliminate or highlight potential career fields.
This tool can help Soldiers like me who retired and had no clue what to do next. If this sounds like you and you need help discovering your next career field or degree program, check out the DST for assistance.
Accessing Courses While On Active Duty
Another great feature of Army IgnitED is that the courses for each program are taken either Online, On-Site, or at an Education Center.
For online learning, educational institutions and vendors offer online opportunities that allow Soldiers to make progress towards their goals without having to attend classes in person.
However, there are many opportunities for Soldiers to take courses on nearby campuses or training sites. This approach has the added benefit of working with other students who share the same interests, which can greatly enhance the learning experience.
Most Army installations have a dedicated Education Center with access to local campuses for different colleges and universities. While some offerings may differ, there are always opportunities for Soldiers to advance their education plan.
There are over 2,000 institutes of higher learning and over 200 vendors who have partnered with Army IgnitED to bring education opportunities to Soldiers.
Active Duty Degrees Within Reach
As of this writing, Army IgnitED has completed over 500 Credentials. In 2020, Soldiers completed over 8,500 degree programs. That’s just fantastic!
If you’re a Soldier on active duty and you’ve ever dreamed of completing your degree, then Army IgnitED is the best educational opportunity to help you find your path.
Get the process started by heading over to Army IgnitED and creating your account. You can visit this link to learn more and get started.
- Active Duty Degrees: An Overview
- Army College Education Programs and Benefits
- Army Scholarships for College
- 4 Top Online Schools for Active Duty Military
- Getting Your College Degree While Serving
About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.