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
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 opportunities. Ultimately, 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!