A Neat Story About Military Education Opportunities

Today, I want to talk with you about your military education opportunities.  I get lots of emails from Soldiers claiming they can’t get the military schools they want.  While most of these emails include nothing but complaints, a few people offer constructive ways to circumvent that problem.  To prove that point, here’s an email I recently received today from one of our website visitors:

“When I was a 2LT I wanted to go to Airborne School and Ranger School. With the budget cuts of the 1990s, there were no slots and all money for extra schooling was cut. I completed correspondence courses for Infantry, Civil Affairs and Engineer Officer advanced courses instead. I ended up attending all three of those advanced courses- two week phases by being placed on a waiting list and was picked up for the schools the day before they started. By completing the correspondence courses I showed due diligence, and ended up receiving the MOSQ for 12A / Engineer, 11A/ Infantry and then later 38A/Civil Affairs.

I also completed a Masters Degree and then later a Ph.D. and the army awarded me the 5X / Military Historian ASI.  I was told many times about how there were no funds / funding, and no slots / positions for schools and training. I completed 10-15 FEMA courses online, and was awarded the 5Y: Civil Defense Officer ASI, and then the 5Y: Cultural Affairs Officer ASI after completing courses online through Defense Language Institute and some of my college courses.

Yes, we are entering times when there will be extreme budgetary restrictions, no funds / funding, and no slots / positions for schools training. I am advising my troops to take advantage of their G.I. Bill and go to civilian schools and thus, build their resumes.

Also, look to online military training courses and correspondence courses.  Yes, I am still sore about not being able to attend Airborne School and Ranger School.   But, with a M.A and Ph.D., I believe that there are different avenues and talents that I have used to be a part of National Defense.”

~ Name withheld for privacy

Part-Time-Commander.com Response

It sounds like you have definitely created your own opportunities with your military education.  I truly believe we can all learn a valuable lesson from your military education story.  I believe that lesson is “it’s up to us to create our own education opportunities.”

Many Soldiers/NCOs/Officers simply wait around expecting to be enrolled in certain schools or expecting to be given certain education opportunities.  I’ve always found that the most successful military leaders create their own education opportunitiesUltimately, you have to be willing to do what other people aren’t willing to do.  A couple examples might include signing up for a school on a wait status or taking distance learning, online course or correspondence courses.

Your advice about beefing up your resume with civilian education is a wise move that would benefit anyone in their military or civilian career.  In addition, I think it’s wise for us part-time Soldiers to really take advantage of the distance learning, online classes and correspondence programs.  Since so few people do that, there are plenty of education opportunities out there to learn new skills, build promotion points and position yourself for future success.

Of course, all Soldiers need their formal OES/NCOES Schools too, but the correspondence and distance learning venues are a great addition.  I recommend you sit down with your Training NCO, S3 or S1 and find out what options you have available to you.  You can also login to AKO and check out the classes that are available online.  If you will take the time to be proactive, you will be amazed at what you can find.

Instead of making excuses, find a way to make it happen!

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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16 thoughts on “A Neat Story About Military Education Opportunities”

  1. Congratulations to this anonymous person who didn’t take “no” for an answer, but took the responsibility for his education into his own hands. (Or hers – nothing in the comment confirms that the soldier was male, unless I missed something.) Education is so important for any occupation, and this person’s will is admirable. An education is something that can never be taken away from you. If your employer will pay for it, that’s great, but don’t let it hold you back if your employer doesn’t.

    1. Hi, I am also trying to do the online FEMA classes to obtain the ASI 5Y Civil Defense Officer. I noticed as well that the IS-7 is not on the FEMA website.

      Were you able to figure your question out? I’m trying to get formal guidance on the exact requirements for this ASI.


  2. The soldier who wrote the letter in your original post displayed some characteristics of a good leader. One, he was proactive and knew what his training and education goals were. Two, he persevered, not giving up when the going got tough, so to speak. Three, he demonstrated impressive problem-solving skills, figuring out how to get a “yes” even in the face of “no’s.” Fourth, he took advantage of the free training that was available, using his resources wisely. I can identify with this because I, too, try to take advantage of free training when I can. I took a number of the FEMA training courses myself in a previous job, so my hat is off to this solder who took advantage of some valuable training. I am a firm believer of “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and I appreciate this young man’s determination. He is a great role model for others (a fifth leadership characteristic).

  3. The Army is like everything else in life. If you want to make it, it’s up to you! Too many folks expect someone else to line up all the opportunities for them. Opportunities are made, not given to you! I hope more people will cowboy up and accept responsibility for their own career.

  4. Here’s the bottom line. There are plenty of educational opportunities in the military. But in most cases they won’t just be handed to you. You need to go out there and get them. Be proactive, show some initiative and you will do well.

  5. It sounds like you did a good job managing your career. What’s important is that you made opportunities for yourself.

  6. I earned my four year degree during my six years in the ARNG. It wasn’t that hard to do either. I even had a job while I went to school. Best of all, I have zero college loans and I also got six years experience in the process. I think the ARNG is a great deal.

  7. I’ve always believed that anyone could join the military for a brief stint and get their education paid for. With the Tuition Assistance, GI Bill and discounted tuition rates for Soldiers, there is no excuse not to educate yourself.

  8. My brother spent four years in the Army and earned two degrees for free while he was in. Plus, he got the GI Bill so when he got out he went and got his Masters Degree free of charge. There really are lots of educational opportunities for the motivated person.

    1. Good for him, Art. There’s no reason everyone can’t leave the military with a college degree, if it is something they want. There are so many opportunities and resources available for motivated Soldiers, even when they are deployed!

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