How Can Military Spouses Find the Money For It?
By Marguerite Cleveland
So you’ve decided you want to go back to school, now what? A great place to start is Military One Source Spouse Education and Career Opportunities. This website is a wealth of information to get you on track. Get information on finding the perfect career for you. Learn about the education requirements for the career you are interested in. Are you ready for employment and how to find out? Also learn about career connections that can help you land your dream job. You may find you don’t need a four year degree to pursue your dream. For example the local community college near where I live offers a computer certificate and graduates can expect jobs with median salaries of $60K and with the 2 year degree a median salary of $80K. So it is important to do your research.
Visit your Installation Education Center and find out what programs are available to you. Many installations have classes offered right on the base from a variety of colleges. If you find yourself stationed OCONUS this is a good way to continue your education. The centers also serve as testing centers for a variety of professional tests and certifications as well as college tests such as CLEP and the SATs.
If you are a junior military spouse you are eligible for the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship or MYCAA. This program helps you to pursue a license, certificate, certifications or an associate degree to help you get the education you need for a portable career. One that can move with you when you PCS around the globe. You can receive up to $2000 a year and a total of $4000. You can use your scholarship at any institution approved for participation in the program. For more information call Military One Source at 800.342.9647, Operators are available 24/7 but the career counselors are available M-F 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also find out more about the program at www.militaryonesource.mil.
There are a variety of scholarships available to military spouses. Many military spouse clubs offer scholarships to military spouses. I know one base that offered a $15K and a $10K scholarship to a military spouse and only had five spouses apply that year! The amounts were not disseminated a head of time as they never know how much money they will raise. Many military organizations and unit associations offer scholarships. A quick GOOGLE search will give you tons of options like the Thanks USA Scholarship that provides up to $3,000 in funds for school or the National Military Family Association which offers a variety of military spouse scholarships. Also many scholarship search engines will let you filter by military.
There are so many opportunities now for going to school. I managed to cobble my four year degree together with a combination of tests, traditional classes, credit for military experience and since there was no internet at the time, a video course. Today you can go to school online which is great with frequent moves, but you have to be disciplined to complete a program this way. You can also do a mixture of live classes and online courses, look at what fits your needs. Also don’t just lock into college as the only source of education. Consider technical schools, apprenticeships, internships or vocational schools. Some unions even offer courses to learn a trade. The key is to know yourself and what is going to be a good fit for you. What are your educational goals? Post in the comments below.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com