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Military Spouse Education and Career Advancement

You married the love of your life and you couldn’t be more thrilled, but after the honeymoon is over, you start wondering if you’ll ever finish your college education among the many moves. And even if you do find a degree program you like, how will you start a career when the most you have is three years in one place?

Not too long ago, life as a military spouse meant giving up career and educational aspirations. Schools weren’t that interested in providing programs for such a small segment of the population, and all the focus was aimed at the active duty service member.

But times have changed, and online universities and degree programs have created educational courses to help military spouses advance and succeed, even with their nomadic military lifestyle. You can be a military spouse and earn your degree without “skipping a PCS” and enduring extra separation from your family to finish up those last credits.

What’s the point of getting a degree when I’m moving all the time?

If you think there’s no point to earning a degree because career advancement is impossible, think again. Online classes make it possible for non-traditional students to earn a degree, and there are many jobs that exist online and through telecommuting. Because online universities are concentrating on military spouses, trained counselors can provide information on numerous “portable careers” and how to train for them.

How will I pay for school when tuition assistance is only offered to active duty service members?

It is true that the active duty member has more access to college funding than a military spouse, but there are many sources of college aid out there; you just have to know where to look. These five options can help you get started:

  • The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account is a pilot program specifically devoted to helping military spouses find and train for portable careers. You may be eligible for up to $6,000 to cover two years of training.
  • There are military-specific scholarships in addition to the scholarships available to civilian students. The Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program, for example, is available through the National Military Family Association.
  • Service-specific scholarships also exist through the Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief Education Program, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society and the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program.
  • Troops to Teachers isn’t the only educational program available for military families – Spouses to Teachers is also ready to help you get in to the classroom as an instructor.
  • Did you know that as of this year, the Montgomery GI Bill can be transferred to spouses? The eligibility issues are still being hammered out, but it is an excellent resource for a military spouse looking for financial options to fund education. This allows service members to complete a degree at one college, despite PCSs, deployments and unpredictable schedules.

Getting an education that works around your military family lifestyle has never been easier or more convenient for military spouses, so don’t give up!

The Military Family Series:

* is not affiliated with the armed services or any government entity

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