Why Going To College After Military Service Is A Smart Choice
As your time in service is coming to an end, you might be wondering if college is the right choice for you or if you should go straight into the workforce. There seems to be a lot of options for you at the moment.
It’s important to know that having a degree can put you in a better place when it comes to looking for a job after military service, even if it takes you a few years to get that degree. Whether you joined the military after taking some classes or not, college can be a good choice for your future, especially with the benefits you have gained because of your time in the military.
With the GI Bill and other educational benefits, you don’t usually have to worry about how you are going to pay for college. You just have to decide where you want to go, and what type of program you want to work on.
One reason to pursue that college education before you enter the civilian workforce is that in some cases, you can’t even get into an interview without a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree. You also have to remember that even if the job does not require a degree, you could be going up against others who do have that degree and leaving you behind.
The unemployment rate for veterans is a little different than the unemployment rate for civilians. In October of 2019, the rate for veterans is 3.2%, which is at an 18-year low, and for non-veterans is 3.5%. Being a veteran is already putting you ahead and adding a college degree to that can be just what you need to do to find a successful career path.
Salaries Based On Education
Another reason for gaining your college education is your potential to make a lot more money than if you don’t. According to BLS, a 2018 report states that the median usual weekly earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree is $1,198, $862 with an associate’s degree, and $730 if you only have a high school diploma.
While your salary can vary based on your major, and the type of job you want, overall, having that degree is going to allow you to make more money over the course of your career. The difference between $730 and $1,198 is $486, which adds up to over $24,000 a year, which can really make a difference in your career.
Earning College Credit From Your Service
As a service member, you have already had some training, which you can use in a future career field. Some military service can count as college credit. ACE, the American Council on Education works with the DoD to review your military training and experiences in order to recommend appropriate course credit to the schools. You can also take CLEP exams, which stands for the College-Level Examination Program, in order to take what you have learned while in the military to get credit for courses. DANTES funds the cost of the exam for military college students.
Networking can be a great way to find the right job. Although being in the military can help you with networking, going to college can also be the right place to meet people who can later help you find a job. The more people you can connect with the better. Who you know can help you more than looking for traditional job listings.
There are certain resources you can have access to at your college, either in person or virtually. You will have access to a campus health center, as well as advisors that can help you on your path. They have the knowledge and the resources to help you simply because you are a student at that school.
The GI Bill
With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your courses should be paid for, as well as fees. You can get a books and supplies stipend, as well as a housing allowance. Because of all this, using your GI Bill to get your degree is a good idea. Cost shouldn’t be a reason not to go for your degree.
After Military Service Is The Perfect Time
While you can always work for a bit before you start college, going right after military service can be a better idea. You are already in a time of transition, and going to school can just flow into that. You don’t have to settle down quite yet, and you have options about where you want to go. After you get your degree you can then find a job and the right place to live your after military life.
If the idea of going to school full-time overwhelms you, you can always start small. You can take just a few classes to start, or focus on your general education classes if you are not sure what you want to do. You can decide to go to school online, in-person, or a mix of both depending on your program. You do want to make sure you understand the GI Bill rules for the type of school and program you will be attending.
Going Back Into The Military
Another reason to consider going to college is if you want to eventually go back into the military. If you have your bachelor’s degree you would be able to become an officer and move forward in your career. While this wouldn’t be the path for everyone, if this is something you have thought about possibly doing, getting that degree is a must.
Veteran Friendly Schools
Another positive of going to school as a veteran is finding a good veteran-friendly school. Some colleges and universities are more friendly to veterans than others, from offering a veterans lounge or building to hiring staff that specializes in veterans’ needs.
There are many benefits to going to get your degree after military service. Doing so can put you on the right path, make finding a good job even easier, and allow you to find the right career after your time in the military is over.