Education: Investing in ourselves

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Even though the military has provided me a steady and secure career, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to better myself. The Air Force offers an array of education benefits for members, their families and civilian contractors to further their education.

Nevertheless, many excuses arise when that topic comes up. One reoccurring excuse is a lack of funds, but the military, and the Air Force specifically, offers students nearly immeasurable resources. A long list of tests, know as “CLEPs” and “DANTES,” offer members an opportunity to ‘test out’ of required courses.

In addition, active-duty members can access up to $4,500 per year in tuition assistance and after leaving the military, can fund further education with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which can also be transferred and used by family members, and the Montgomery GI Bill. There are also many grants for veterans that vary from state to state. Using these resources, you could easily find yourself debt free and highly educated.

Another excuse is being unsure of what to study. Fortunately, most degrees share required general courses that are interchangeable. As a result, there’s plenty of time to warm-up with general math, English and history courses before picking a specific degree to pursue.

And lastly, the most common excuse is that we don’t have enough time for school. This is simply not true anymore. The military strives on time management skills. Over the years, advances have been made that allow for night classes or the even more time-flexible online courses.

For military members, while the mission does come first, the Air Force culture has become an educated one and leadership often advocates for schooling. However, it’s easy to finish our required job training, relax and eventually find ourselves spending non-duty hours eating pizza and playing video games.

But, don’t be complacent! Take a trip to the education center and talk to an academic adviser. They’ll help you set and reach your education goals so you can invest in yourself.