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Is it hard doing your military work while getting a college degree?

I'm graduating in 4 weeks and my plans is to be a part of the military. I'm trying to prepare to be active in the military while pursuing a college degree.
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Joshua’s Answer

Not at all. I served 4 years in the Air Force in order to get the GI Bill for college. One thing to keep in mind, your military training/career field will take priority but if you make it known to your supervisor that you also want to get college classes in, they should help you out.

I didn’t take classes, only CLEP exams. Those are exams that you can take to ‘skip ahead’ quicker towards your degree. I was out for about 18 months and then re-enlisted and spent another 18 1/2 years to get to retirement.

If you put your mind to it, you can get your degree & serve. Then if you decide to leave military service or stay until 20+ years, you will be better for it.

Joshua recommends the following next steps:

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
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Thank you Sir. I will definitely remember what you said. Thank you so much. Brandon F.

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Valerie’s Answer

I've known many who successfully completed college courses while serving. It does depend on your MOS and your degree program. It requires similar dedication and commitment to complete a college degree while working any full-time job. Most schools will work with you if you have to deploy unexpectedly or other reasons that you need to pause your program. Look for those that have certifications along the way or classes that will readily transfer. On-line schools are available wherever you may be. You can plan to be able to do this, just know that there may be some zigs and zags along the way. Sometimes it takes longer to accomplish, but well worth it!

Valerie recommends the following next steps:

Look for programs that offer maximum flexibility and transferability.
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Some programs offer certificates or other levels of accomplishment to demonstrate your education even before the final degree, which can give you more even if plans change.
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Thank you Ms. Towery for your feedback. The information is very useful Brandon F.

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Brandon,

The advice above is very good. I do want to add a little bit about your lead up to going into the service. When do you leave for basic training? One of the best things you can do right now is focus on graduating from high school and preparing yourself for the next chapter of your life. If you're not a regular running or other strength exercises, I recommend you get on a regimen that will get you ready to go. The recruiter can offer you some recommendations so you don't overdue it. The military is one of the few jobs that pays you to stay fit. Enjoy it. After training, you will go to a technical school to learn your trade. You want to be 100% focused on this training. There will be a lot of distractions including from friends. Study hard at tech school and when you get to your first base, just focus on learning your skill the best you can. You will know when the right time to start your education again.

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Austin’s Answer

Balancing your military work and your college work can easily be achieved by creating a schedule.

I have been in the Navy for seven years and I am pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering. The Navy offers Tuition Assistance to its Sailors, allowing you to complete 18 credit hours per year for free. Also, all active duty military members have the ability to take every CLEP and DANTES test for free. These tests will help accelerate your completion of a college degree. I’ve been taking advantage of these so that I do not have to worry about spending extra money on my education.

While on deployment, your free time is limited. The free time that you have needs to be dedicated to your education if you want to complete your degree in a reasonable amount of time. It will be difficult, but you can achieve it. It is best to leave work at work, and focus on bettering yourself in your free time.

Austin recommends the following next steps:

Determine which branch you want to serve
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Find your college and degree
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Study your degree plan
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Complete CLEP and DANTES based off of your degree plan
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Complete remaining classes
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Thank you Mr. Harrison, your information was very helpful Brandon F.

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Robert’s Answer

Hi Brandon, While I was in the USAF I decided to take a class while stationed in Germany in 1980 and was able to based on my work schedule. The main thing is your job and schedule along with if the classes are in person or online. I do hope you are able to take classes. If you have a 9-5 Monday thru Friday type job you should be ok. You will know once you get settled in at your first duty base. If I read it right it looks like you are going in IT.

Yes Sir i'm going into IT. Thanks so much for the information. Brandon F.

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Derek’s Answer

It depends. I served in the U.S. Marines before, during, and briefly after the Persian Gulf War. The recruiter said I could take classes during my enlistment to get my degree. But before and during my forward deployment, I was not able to take any classes. After getting injured and before I was discharged with service connected medical disabilities, I did have time to take college level classes.

It will depend on your branch of service, your job (MOS), and the conditions under which you serve.

Wow Mr. Huether, i'm glad everything worked out for you. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. The information was very informative Brandon F.

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