Technology is something we cannot live without in today’s society. We are dazzled, delighted, and inundated by it, and it reaches into nearly every aspect of our lives. These days, most kids seem to have IT skills innately woven into their DNA. I watch in awe as my children program on Minecraft, create their own apps, and build mini robots using Legos.

If you’re like me, you love to learn about and assimilate new technologies. Many in the military community, in addition to management and leadership experience, have a vast number of marketable skills, some of which may or may not be in technology. If you find yourself lacking in the technology field, these VA-approved training providers can help. 

VET TEC Program Possible Expansion

On February 5th, 2020, House Resolution (H.R.) 5766, also known as the VET TEC Expansion Act, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Kevin McCarthy [R-CA-23] and co-sponsored by Representative Ro Khanna [D-CA-17]. It was referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs the same day it was introduced. On February 7th, 2020, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

>> VET TEC Program Update

The popularity of the VET TEC program is evident. In a recent statement, the VA announced that the funds for the program have been exhausted and further funding has been suspended until October 1, 2020.  

You can read more about these changes here.

CollegeRecon will, of course, keep you updated as to any changes with this program.

Proposed Changes to the Program

There are three major changes to the program proposed in this legislation: 

1. Authorize Current Service Members

The first would authorize current service members to participate in the VET TEC program “if the VA determines that they will become eligible veterans within 180 days.”

Currently, only veterans are eligible for the program, while service members have to wait until they are transitioned out before taking advantage of the training.

This bill would allow those service members who are less than 180 days out from separation to get some high-speed technology training on their way out the door.

I took 93 days of terminal leave when I retired, and a program in VET TEC would have been possible for me during that time.

2. Allow Part-Time and Shorter Duration Programs

The second change would allow for program offerings that are part-time and less than six months in duration.  As of now, the requirement is for full-time programs, and student veterans must maintain full-time attendance or they could be dropped from the program. This is beneficial for a guy like me who stays home with six kids while my wife works, allowing me to still take the training on a more manageable part-time schedule.

3. Authorize Newer Training Providers

Finally, one of the more interesting changes would be to authorize training providers who have been in business for less than two years to participate in the VET TEC program.

Currently, there are many restrictions and regulations placed upon the training providers, as laid out in the May 2019 VET TEC Certifying Official Handbook. Each training provider must not only be approved to participate, but they must also undergo annual re-approvals. They must have been in operation for at least two years and they cannot be an institution of higher learning, like a college or university.

Removal of 2-Year Requirement May Be Mixed Bag

The elimination of the operational requirement is intriguing. While no information is given as to why such a restriction was added, its removal by H.R. 5766 could mean a number of things.

More Veterans Participating In Program

For one, it could mean that there are more veterans taking part in the program. The elimination of the two-year restriction could prove beneficial for veterans.  This would mean more training providers would allow for more veterans to obtain marketable skills that are in high demand.

Reduction in Quality Control Measures

The increase, though, may be more than the current training providers can service. In this case the restrictions were emplaced as a quality control measure.  This would help ensure that students are given the highest quality technology training.  By removing that restriction it may open the door for veterans entering the workplace with below-average training from substandard providers.

VET TEC Program Still May Prove Worthwhile

We have some time before the H.R. 5766 could be implemented, which means these changes will not happen right away. However, even with the program as it is, there is amazing training that can open a door to a very lucrative career.

As an example, the 2018 median pay for a computer programmer was $84.280 annually. That’s over $40 an hour!

Network and computer systems administrators averaged $82,050 in 2018.  In addition, employment within that field is expected to grow 5% through 2028.

To top it all off, an information security analyst was paid $98,350 in 2018.  This is almost double my active pay before I retired!

The best part is, the job outlook for this field is expected to grow by 32% through 2028, which means there are jobs aplenty, so go snag yourself one. A few months of VET TEC training could land you a pretty sweet job.

What is the VET TEC Program?

The Basics

VET TEC was started in 2018.  Within the program veterans can receive short-term training from VA-approved vendors in computer skills ranging from:

  • Information Science
  • Computer Programming
  • Data Processing
  • Media Applications
  • Computer Software

These programs are designed to focus on the functional areas of IT.  This differs from degrees from 2 and 4 year colleges which combine that functional knowledge with general academic subjects. The VET TEC program does not apply to those institutions of higher education.

RELATED: VET TEC Program Overview

VET TEC Eligibility

Any veteran who is eligible for either the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) or the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) can participate in VET TEC.

In most cases, a veteran will receive a housing allowance or stipend during their time in the program.

According to the VET TEC Buffalo office, the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VRE) Chapter 31 benefit does not apply to the VET TEC program.

I came across VET TEC in early 2019, shortly after finishing my bachelor’s degree.  I applied to and was accepted into the VET TEC program.  However, I have not yet completed one of the programs. 

In the GI Bill universe, the VA will only authorize payment for one program at a time. I plan to enroll in Code Platoon’s program once my current degree is finished this summer!

Online VET TEC Training Programs

They have over 60 training programs from 20 training providers. There are only two that offer online training, and they are Sabio Enterprises, Inc., offering a 530 clock-hour program in Full Stack Web Development; and Code Platoon, which hosts a 560 clock-hour offering in Computer Programming Web Development.

They are constantly updating the list of approved training providers, so check back often if you don’t find one that interests you. Also, keep in mind that the program is only set to run through 2023, unless Congress changes something.

Other Vendors Program Examples

New Horizons
Galvanize Inc.

Offers courses in Data Science, Hack Reactor Software Engineering, and Full-Stack Software Development.

Lab Four

Offers in-person courses in CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, and Linux+. They also offer courses in:

  • Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
Divergence Academy

Only offers one course called Cybersecurity Professional Penetration Tester.  This course sounds pretty cool when paired up with the ethical hacking class.

These are just a few examples of vendors and their courses that can help you break into the IT field.  These represent entry-level jobs as IT technicians, programmers, or cyber security professionals.

(Photo by Shamseer Sureash Kumar from FreeImages.com)

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About the author

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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.