Why Military Students Choose Online College

Military student

There are many reasons why military students choose online college. Whether you plan to pursue a long-term career in the military or you are transitioning to a corporate or nonprofit civilian workforce, completing your degree online will help you develop the skills needed to succeed.

As a service member, you receive significant education benefits that can cover up to 100% of the cost of your degree. And thanks to flexible online programs, many servicemembers discover that it’s possible to work toward completing a degree while on active duty or deployed.

Let’s look at why so many military students finish their degrees online.

Advance Your Military Career

If you want to make a lifelong career in the military, completing your degree online will help you rise through the ranks. Finishing your degree exemplifies dedication to hard work and displays a commitment to self-improvement. As a service member, you know that military leadership places a high value on these traits. By completing your degree, you’ll also gain useful skills in a specific discipline, like health care, project management, informational technology, or criminal justice. This specialized knowledge will make you a desirable candidate for new opportunities and advancement.

Additionally, most military branches award promotion points for each college credit you earn. You will typically earn three credit hours for each college class you complete, equating to three promotion points for a single class. You may even earn promotion points through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). The CLEP allows you to complete your degree faster by taking exams to demonstrate advanced knowledge.

Officer Training Programs

Regardless of which branch of the military you’re in, almost all officer training programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission. Programs that don’t require a degree for admission will likely still require you to complete your degree by the time you finish training to be officially promoted. So, if you aspire to become an officer, completing your degree is an important step toward meeting this goal.

Prepare for a Civilian Career

If you plan to transition out of military service, finishing your degree online can be a great stepping stone back into civilian life. While military experience is highly valued, many industries require education beyond high school to qualify for full-time and benefitted positions. In addition to your military experience, a degree demonstrates that you are committed to lifelong learning and succeeding in your industry.

Take Advantage of Career Services Resources

Online colleges usually offer career services for their students. Career advisors can help you select a major that fits your career objectives. They can also provide you with job-hunting resources and coach you through resume writing and interview techniques. These resources will help prepare you for applying to and interviewing for jobs, making you a stronger candidate overall.

Finally, a career advisor can help you take advantage of learning opportunities connected with employers through work experiences and experiential learning. These experiences can help you get a foot in the door of the civilian workforce by making you an even more competitive job candidate.

Consider the valuable experience you gained during your service, and what roles you excelled at. It’s likely that there is a relevant civilian career pathway that you would naturally be able to transition into. Here are a few potential degree and career pathways to consider based on different military experiences.

Military Role Civilian Career Related Degree
Military Police Officer State Trooper Criminal Justice
Navy Nurse Nurse Manager Health Care Management
Avionic Technician Airport Operations Project Management
Military IT Professional IT Director Technology Management
Army Linguist Foreign Language Teacher Education
Army Health Unit Coordinator Health Care Social Worker Health and Wellness

The Benefits of Choosing a Military Friendly Online College

Choosing to go to college online at a Military Friendly® college is especially beneficial, because the faculty are experts in supporting nontraditional students like you. They understand the unique challenges you face as a military student and will help you succeed.

It’s also likely that you’ll be able to connect with fellow military students who have similar backgrounds and share in your challenges. Building these relationships can also serve as a valuable networking opportunity.

Additionally, you may be paired with a military-focused academic advisor. These specialized advisors understand the unique challenges you face as a nontraditional student adjusting to civilian life. They’ll often have advice and resources to help you with this transition.

The online flexibility is amazing. I could go through my workday, focus on my career, come home and focus on my kids, and then do my coursework in the evening. I’m a mom. I’m a solider. I’m a careerist. And a kids’ soccer coach. But I was also a student. And I could be a student because of the online environment. – Courtney Rorick ’22, B.S. Communication Studies

Develop Remote Work Skills

Earning your degree online will also prepare you to join a workforce that is becoming increasingly remote. Many of the skills and habits you learn through an online degree program will be directly applicable to a remote position. Online college teaches you how to work collaboratively with a remote team, manage your time, and maintain work-life balance.

Invest in Your Future

It’s no secret that a college degree will increase your earning potential and position you as a strong candidate to receive promotions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of 61% more per week than those without a degree.

Additionally, choosing to go to college online is a wise financial decision if you want to reduce the cost of your education. While your military education benefits will likely cover the cost of your tuition, there are other expenses to consider when going back to school, such as transportation, books, and materials.

By attending school online, you’ll cut out the expense of commuting to and from class every day, whether by car or public transport.

Some online colleges also offer open educational resources to their students in lieu of expensive textbooks. Open educational resources are research and learning materials that are licensed to be free for users. This vastly reduces your out-of-pocket cost for course materials.

Ready to Finish Your Degree Online?

Whether you choose to pursue a lifelong career in the military or plan to complete your service contract and return to civilian life, online college is designed to help you succeed. Take advantage of your military benefits by completing your degree at an online college. Putting in the time and work to complete your degree is a valuable investment that can lead to great personal and professional opportunities.

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