Continuing Education Resources for Veterans
You’ve finally entered back into civilian life. Things are slow, there is a little less structure, and you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself. Why not look into continuing your education after your military service?
Transitioning to a civilian job doesn’t have to be complicated. While there are plenty of options for veterans straight out of the service, pursuing an education will only build on the skills you acquired during your time in the military. Here are some options to consider if you decide to head back to school.
Going to University
Not only can going to university introduce structure into your life again, but among all of the educational venues available to you, attending university gives you access to the widest range of choice when it comes to your new profession. In addition to this, there is also the benefit of government assistance with tuition through the Forever GI Bill which can help alleviate the financial burden of attending university, sometimes entirely.
Whether you choose to get a Master of Business Administration degree, go into the booming healthcare field, or even pursue a Fine Arts degree, your education will not only round out your knowledge base but help you to find a higher paying job in the long run. A degree is also incredibly useful for entering the job field in general. More and more jobs are requiring a bachelor’s degree to even be considered for entry into a field, and oftentimes the degree itself doesn’t matter, it is simply the fact that you have it.
While the benefits of obtaining a degree from an accredited university can’t be understated, it is important to note that there are drawbacks. Generally, a degree from a university takes at least four years. It is of course possible to speed this process along, but the time commitment required to do so makes working while attending university highly unlikely. The fact that a degree can take four years or more to complete also means that you will be entering the workforce later, causing you to miss out on years of earning potential.
Technical Colleges & Trade Schools
Technical colleges and trade schools are good alternatives to attending university. Focusing on practical professions and skilled labor, there are plenty of benefits to choosing one of these programs over pursuing a degree.
One of the major benefits is that these type of programs generally take a maximum of two years to complete, with some taking even less time. This means that you will have a two-year head start on your earnings when compared to attending university. In addition to this, trade schools and technical colleges cost significantly less than universities, and you can even obtain scholarships to further ease the financial burden.
Another benefit of these programs is that the skills and trades you learn are more immediately applicable than what you learn in university. Focusing on job skills like electrician training, computer technology, and mechanical know-how means that you can land a job just about wherever you decide to go. A lot of these jobs actually pay much better than professions that individuals holding a degree from a university make right out of school.
Downsides of Skilled Labor Professions
Being able to work quickly after finishing school, the decreased debt associated with attending a trade school or technical college over university, and the flexibility of the skills learned there are all huge benefits. However, there are some downsides to working in a skilled labor profession.
First, your earning potential over time is significantly reduced, as the jobs generally associated with technical colleges and trade schools have a pretty clearly defined salary limit. While yes, you may be able to pull in a sizeable sum of money as a welder or electrician, especially if you travel for your job, you generally won’t see any significant increase in your wages the longer you stay in the field. This makes smart investing early on in your career a wise choice, as you will need to have squared away a large sum of money in order to retire down the road.
There is also a much more serious downside to skilled labor. The nature of the professions that trade schools and technical colleges offer can sometimes carry much higher risks than your typical desk job. These jobs often require you to work with electricity, flammable and explosive materials, heavy equipment, and can even expose you to certain chemicals that are known to cause serious preventable diseases like cancer. Luckily, there are both private and governmental programs in place like OSHA that help mitigate workplace accidents or conditions that can lead to health problems down the road
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Just because you left military life behind doesn’t mean your civilian life has to be boring or directionless. Getting back to school in any form can help keep you focused and happy, and will result in acquiring a job that not only pays well, but will bring you satisfaction. Go out and do the research, find what will work the best for you, and take the plunge back into the world of education!