Using the GI Bill for On-The-Job Training
Does the GI Bill pay for on-the-job training? Not everyone using the GI Bill benefits is after a traditional 4-year degree. The ability to use federal education benefits like the Post-9/11 GI Bill in non-traditional ways is a major help for many.
There are plenty of non-traditional options for using the GI Bill. They include:
- Flight training
- Non-college degree programs
- Certification testing
- Entrepreneurship training
- On-the-job training
Using the GI Bill for On The Job Training (OJT)
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site has a page titled, How To Use Your GI Bill Benefits, which includes a section on using the GI Bill for OJT.
The VA starts by reminding applicants that GI Bill funds can be used to pay for books and housing while learning skilled trades such as plumbing or electrical repair. Your GI Bill money could be used for OJT or an apprenticeship, depending on the circumstances.
Benefits You Get Depends On Your GI Bill
Using the Montgomery GI Bill could qualify you for money to pay for supplies and books during your training. If you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may also qualify for a housing stipend.
How It Works
When using the GI Bill for an apprenticeship or OJT, the veteran and the employer agree to a contract for a specific training period. At the end of that training, there may be an agreement for the trainee to earn a certification or become a journeyman in that trade.
When the process starts, the applicant may only earn half of what a regular employee makes. At the end of the program, the applicant is expected to earn about 85% of that amount. Why?
Under the VA OJT program, “Employers generally pay a reduced OJT/apprenticeship wage (must be at least 50% of journeyman wage).”
That’s according to literature provided by the VA, which adds, “Veterans in an approved program can use their GI Bill benefit and receive a tax-free stipend” paid in addition to these entry-level wages.
The stipend decreases by 20% every six months “as the Veteran’s wages regularly increase until the Veteran has attained journeyman status and pay.”
Who Qualifies to Use the GI Bill for On-The-Job-Training?
You must qualify for the GI Bill, and you must be seeking training in a skilled trade such as:
- Hotel management
Who may apply? Veterans, those eligible for benefits under the Fry Scholarship or the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program. Dependent children using transferred GI Bill benefits may also apply.
Some do NOT qualify. VA.gov reminds active duty troops they cannot use this benefit while still serving. Spouses using transferred GI Bill benefits do not qualify for OJT options.
Where Can I Get OJT Using the GI Bill?
The VA official site has a GI Bill program comparison tool that you can use to look up approved programs. It helps to know the name of a company, but if you want to see which programs might be approved in your general area, you can use filters to narrow your search results.
You can also enter the name of a specific company, such as Boeing, to see what on-the-job training options exist for that employer. Not all employers may be represented in the database, but you can find those that are VA-approved using the tool.
How to Apply for Benefits for OJT
Current application procedures for the GI Bill and all other VA education benefit programs are found at the VA official site. You can also get help in person or by phone at your nearest VA Regional Claims office.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.