By Lt. Col. Paul Capicik (USAF, Ret.)
Vice President, Military Programs
Here are a few points often not understood by those new to the military or those who further their education just through military courses, on-the-job training (OJT), or by the boot-camp/fast-paced methods.
Many service members think that kind of training should be enough to get them where they want to go in their life-long career(s). But remember, as a military member you will eventually have to leave the active service, and:
- Many civilian job positions flat out require a college degree. Usually, they require a degree related to the job position. OJT and certifications can often help you get your foot in the door at the entry level, but for advanced positions, the degree can be a must-have credential.
- On-the-job training and boot camp give you skills, but not study or leadership. OJT and boot camp courses most often train you just for specific skills, processes and environments. It is the college degree that requires course work, study and research in the broad range of areas that touch a particular career field.
- Career advancement today relies on who has the best credentials. Advancement and job transition, especially in a recession environment like today, often depends on who has the best credentials and potential. Experience, specific training, certifications, and advanced education (read: college degrees) are all differentiators that affect the hiring process.
- A college degree is one of the best ways to learn theory and fundamentals. Thanks to the exposure to books, theory and fundamentals presented via courses, faculty and fellow students, a degree can expose you to a broad view of an industry. It can help you more easily learn or transition into the many specific skill areas in which various business environments will expect you to function. Don’t under estimate its value.
Finally, look at this chart that shows you what education can do for you based on the law of averages: Chart from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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