GI Bill Questions -The Three Most Important
Does this sound familiar? You joined the military in your teens. Maybe you served in Iraq or Afghanistan, or maybe you were stateside the entire time. Regardless, after 6-10 years of being a soldier, your family needed you. So you separated from the military. You learned a lot and gained a great deal of experience. But now you’re not sure how, or even if, it translates to a civilian job.
Your first thought is to use your GI Bill benefits and finish your education. You check out online classes and traditional college, but your family can’t wait for two to four years for you to get a great-paying job. Or, maybe college just isn’t right for you.
If that’s familiar, you may not know where to go next. Don’t worry though, to find the right path all you have to do is ask yourself the right three questions. These are the same three questions every veteran should ask before making a decision on how to use your GI Bill benefits:
- Will it train me for a job right now? The first question is whether the education or job training you are considering is designed to get you in a job with career opportunity or whether it is primarily focused on general education. Today’s economy is a “skills based” economy and your education needs to provide you with the right “job skills”. A general education curriculum won’t do that.
- How quick will it get me into the workforce? You put your civilian career on hold while serving your country. Not all education programs require two-four years to prepare you for your new career. The most effective education programs get you into the workforce and your new career in the shortest amount of time possible. By eliminating general education classes, alternative programs can “accelerate” your training.
- Has this specific program worked for other veterans? Veteran students often have different goals and circumstances from traditional students. It is important to verify that the program you are considering has successfully transitioned veterans into the type of career you want. Just because a program is labeled “Military Friendly” doesn’t mean it has worked for other veterans.
What is “Job Skills” Training?
If your goal when utilizing the GI Bill is to prepare for your civilian career, then the program you chose should be designed to advance that goal. Unfortunately, many higher education or college degree programs aren’t focused on that goal. They are focused on providing a well-rounded education – not training for job skills. That’s why 50%-70% of your classes are subjects you’ll never use in your job.
In today’s economy, the jobs in highest demand require you to have specific job skills. A prime example is the technology industry. IT employers expect their entry-level candidates to already have IT job skills. Companies do not have the time, resources or budget to train new-hire employees. That’s why there has been a proliferation of vocational and/or certification based training programs.
The VA understood this need. That’s why in November of 2011, the VA modified the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include these types of college alternative programs. They understood not every great career requires a college degree. Rather, employers are looking for veterans with the specific job skills for the positions they are offering.
What is Accelerated Training?
In the traditional degree programs, you are required to take many hours of general education, such as English literature, history, sociology or biology. These general education courses seldom have any relation to your new career. The new certification-based programs can significantly accelerate training (and reduce the time you spend in school) by focusing only on the job skills you will utilize in your career. That’s how you complete these programs in as little as four months.
For example, Centriq offers the choice between two four-month IT training programs. One prepares you for a career in IT as a network administrator/security professional and the other as a programmer or coder. In each program, Centriq has worked with IT employers to determine the specific IT job skills in demand for entry-level IT professionals and coders and designed a hands-on program that focuses only on these job skills. Students will utilize everything they learn in their new jobs.
What is a Military Friendly School?
Great question! Look at the list of Military Friendly Schools and you might think it would be better to just list schools that aren’t Military Firendly. Centriq Training is a Military Friendly School but we have a different idea of what it means. Here’s what Military Friendly means to Centriq:
- Almost 25% of our TechSmart KC students are veterans.
- You get in the IT job market in four months – not four years.
- Out training is “hands on” – just like the military. Not long lectures.
- No English, history or biology – just technology job skills.
- No prior IT experience needed.
- We include a “Military to Civilian” seminar as part of our curriculum.
- Our Employer Network hires veterans because they are veterans.
- We train you for a career with real economic opportunity.
- Our experienced Admissions team will walk you through the VA process.
Why IT? Why Centriq?
Technology is a growing industry with incredible career opportunities. It is an industry that doesn’t require a college degree to be successful. Centriq has developed a college alternative that takes individuals with little or no IT experience and provides them with the technology job skills to start a new career in IT – in just four months? Does Centriq’s program work? Just ask the over 875 companies in Kansas City that have hired Centriq grads. Just ask the 25% of our students that utilized their GI Bill at Centriq.
The GI Bill allows you to turn your time in the military into money towards an education. Don’t make a mistake now. Ask the three right questions to get the most out of your GI Bill benefits.