Education – The Key to Promotion and Job Success
Claims, Realities, Homework
Many schools rush to claim the title as one of the military friendly colleges. However, all such claims warrant further investigation. The willingness to take tuition money from serving military, retired military, and former military is not an adequate justification to join the ranks of military friendly colleges. The true qualifications to join the ranks of military friendly colleges relate to the totality of the schools’ benefits for military students. Individuals with military experience are a valuable commodity in the commercial job market. The military experience is a key factor for promotion in a military career. However, in the competitive job and military career environments, the military experience must be reinforced by solid education credentials.
The process to gain a positive education experience requires preemptive homework to vet the education institutions competing for tuition dollars. One important factor is the academic and social culture of a given university or college. Some schools have a very liberal or even left-wing culture that often is hostile to the military.1,2 Military friendly colleges provide a positive administrative environment that understands and supports the needs of military students.3 Military friendly colleges also relate to military students by working with private companies and government agencies on job placement, finances, and acceptance of credits.
Education is about the Academics, Faculty, and Commitment
The academic program is the area where schools give military students the professional payoff. Does the school provide the specialized focus for the student career preparation? Students aspiring for careers in national security have unique education requirements. Most schools do not provide the curriculum and faculty that are singularly structured to teach intelligence, counterterrorism, executive protection, and strategic security as formal disciplines. Schools specializing in these national security disciplines are a valuable educational opportunity for military students. The public and private schools do not exist in isolation as all the military services have extensive education programs.4 For example, army courses provide an array of educational opportunities that are further complemented by the public and private school offerings. Army courses exist as in-residence education, correspondence, and online; these education facilities and courses include the Army War College, and Command and General Staff College; courses include basic intelligence analysis, security procedures, construction engineering, specialized combat arms courses, counterintelligence, and HUMINT, which are a few of the highly focused professional military courses available. The army courses are integral to military career development and promotion opportunities.
The education issue is a historic military imperative. The US military services all make education a requisite part of the officer and NCO career process. In addition to the senior professional military education courses at the War College and Command and General Staff College, other army courses are tightly focused on specialized individual skills and capabilities. The army courses are a crucial part of the career resume, assignments, and promotions. The “total education,” however, requires a balance of specific skills and broad capabilities.
Competitive Now and For the Future
Serving military, retired, and former military all need to prepare and execute a career strategy. Once the career objectives are set, the requisite qualifications, skills, capabilities, and essential education should be defined. At this definitive point, the search begins for the education resources to support your career objectives. The education search will narrow rapidly based on the care taken in the planning process. Two parameters in the search, your time and your money, combine with the career objective to vet the education opportunities. Undergraduate and graduate degrees through online education are a relatively new resource for military students. The search for online schools that specialize in your career field should then go on to examine the faculty and curriculum. Does the school recruit faculty that have practical experience in the field in addition to academic knowledge? Are the courses constructed to provide both a theoretical foundation and a pragmatic ability to solve real-world problems? Is the school one of the military friendly colleges? This vetting formula and process establish the path to career success.
1. Are Vets Treated Poorly on Campus? (2011). Retrieved: www.militaryadvantage.military.com
2. Which city and university is unfriendly to military? (2008). Retrieved: www.city-data.com
3. 2014 Recommend List of Military Friendly Online Schools. Retrieved:
4. United States Military Education and Training Programs (2014). Retrieved: usmilitary.about.com