Many agree that everyone deserves the opportunity to attend college and obtain a degree if desired. However, a four-year degree isn’t necessary for everyone. In a lot of cases, obtaining a certificate can be just as rewarding. As a military spouse with frequently changing needs, here are some reasons why striving for a certificate may be the path you should take as opposed to obtaining a degree.
1. You need a job now
Very often, military spouses get married first and then work towards their education. If this is the case, you may need to have a reliable income coming in to help pay bills. Working and going to school can be difficult. It can be very time-consuming, leaving little time for family or friends. Did you know that a certificate in either Healthcare, bookkeeping, or IT could take as little as six months? This is perfect if you’re looking for a job in the immediate future. You can be quickly qualified as opposed to working towards a 4-year degree.
2. You don’t know what you want to do
If you’re not sure of what you want to spend years studying you are in luck with certificate programs. Many certificate programs can be completed within of six months and frequently offer a job assistance program. If you decide to pursue the same type of work later in life you can apply the credits towards your degree. If you change paths completely, you’re not out years of time on an education you won’t use.
Even with financial aid and scholarships, college is still very expensive and can drag on longer than expected when dealing with the uncertainty of deployment. Certificate programs are much shorter, much less expensive, and can be completed entirely online.
4. Your situation is changing
Living a military lifestyle, changes are bound to happen. If your situation changes this could make it difficult to attend a physical college. A certificate can help you obtain a job until your lifestyle becomes stable enough to further your education (if you decide to go that path).
5. A degree may not be necessary
It must be noted that for plenty of good jobs, college just isn’t required. There are many careers that you can pursue with a certificate, then further advance your learning as you go.
Many online colleges are familiar with the military lifestyle, making the whole experience even better. Schools like Martinsburg College have worked with military spouses for many years and are very familiar with the challenges that military families face, and also the educational benefits that are offered.
If your spouse is an active duty service member in a pay grade of E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2, consider looking into MyCAA. It’s up to $4,000 of tuition assistance for schooling, but time is of the essence when applying for this funding. Once your spouse is above those grades you will no longer be eligible, so time is of the essence. As a result, only 25% of spouses eligible for this benefit utilize it.
Martinsburg College has created supportive learning environments to ensure student progress and success. Click here to gather relevant information on furthering your education, tuition funding sources, eligibility, etc. Another resource is a group on Facebook for spouses who have questions about the benefits or furthering their education in general. These groups are great for spouses to ask questions and get help from experts and people who have been in your situation. One of these groups is Military Spouses in the Field: Career Development. In addition to getting guidance on educational topics like MyCAA, joining Facebook groups can give you an outlet to discuss the ins and outs of being a military spouse with people who understand.
Which route did you choose? Let us know in the comments section below.