College and Career Options for Military Spouses
When you have to PCS every two to three years, it can be challenging for military spouses to have continuity of education or to establish and maintain a career. But with the kiddos back in school, perhaps, now is the time to pursue your own educational or career goals. It’s truly never too late to earn a degree or return to the workforce. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you do precisely that.
There’s a host of college courses available online but we found a list of colleges with you in mind. Please check out the “25 Best Online Colleges for Military Spouses for 2022,” at: https://www.collegevaluesonline.com/military-spouses-online-colleges/ . These military spouse-friendly schools offer degree programs that fit our unique lifestyles.
If the cost of higher education is giving you pause, please know there are resources to help offset the expense. Here are a few programs and benefits for military spouses to help you get started pursuing or finishing a degree:
- The National Military Family Association offers scholarships to spouses of active-duty service members, Guardsmen, and Reservists. The awards are between $500-$2,500, and the money can be used to pursue any degree (from GED to Ph.D.). The scholarship money can also be used to obtain professional licenses and certifications or go toward business and entrepreneurial expenses. Scholarship applications are open year-round. For more information, please visit: https://www.militaryfamily.org/programs/spouses-scholarships/military-spouse-scholarship-faqs/ .
- Through its workforce development program, MedCertify offers a scholarship for up to $4,000 of tuition assistance for military spouses who enroll in their online medical, business, or IT programs. The scholarship money can be used to cover classes, training courses, and examinations leading to an associate degree. Spouses of active-duty service members, the National Guard, and Reservists in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2 who have completed high school are eligible for the scholarship. To apply and for more information, please visit: https://medcertify.com/scholarships or call 1-800-511-2284.
- Your service member may be able to transfer any of his or her unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to you to offset tuition costs. For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit: https://www.va.gov/education/transfer-post-9-11-gi-bill-benefits/ .
- Under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program, spouses of permanently disabled veterans or those who passed away on active duty from a service-related condition can receive funding for higher education. For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit: https://www.va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/dependents-education-assistance/ .
Here are a few resources to help you find employment while you’re on this military journey:
- Through the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, military spouses can connect with personal career coaches and employers who recruit and hire military spouses. Education, career guidance, and a host of other resources and tools for job progression are available through the program. Contact the SECO Spouse Career Center by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 or by visiting: myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal .
- Military Hire.com connects military families with military-friendly employers worldwide. You can register for virtual job fairs, receive free resume writing help, and search for jobs by visiting: https://www.militaryhire.com/jobseekers/military-spouse-family/ .
- Check out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes website at https://www.hiringourheroes.org/career-services/military-spouse-resources/ for several helpful career resources for military spouses. From the site you can:
- Explore programs, attend online workshops and connect with military spouse networking groups to assist you professionally.
- Use the MilSpouse Roadmap, which outlines and provides suggestions and resources for the three common career paths military spouses find themselves on: entrepreneurship and self-employment; remote work; and reskilling and upskilling.
- Apply for fellowships to put your skills to work.
- Find hiring events for military families.
- Military OneSource is a valuable resource for education and training, job searches, and tuition assistance and scholarships. Please visit this Military OneSource page to get started: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/spouse/milspouse-support-and-services/?gclid=CjwKCAjwo_KXBhAaEiwA2RZ8hK3LeSmoetnNPgxtZhzBr5cV7bOxQf3Uf3RvMPsF6bqbPIpMZOlL2xoCxOgQAvD_BwE .
We hope you find this information useful as you set out to conquer your own educational or professional goals this Fall. Joe Vitale once said, “A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.” So, follow your dreams a little frightened and a little inspired. We are rooting for you, and wish you much success in the classroom and the boardroom.
Information compiled by Yolanda Conrad using the websites listed above.