Part of the new Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill®,” the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program was created for Non-College Degree (NCD) schools to help veterans get the technology skills they need to join some of the fastest growing industries in the United States.
What is VET TEC?
VET TEC is a new tuition and housing assistance program designed to help veterans get short term technology training without using their GI Bill® benefits! VET TEC benefits cover classes in five different rapidly growing areas: information science, computer programming, data processing, media applications, and computer software. VET TEC also includes a formula for student success.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® program was created to provide enough funds for veterans get a traditional degree, generally at a 4-year institution. The GI Bill® allows veterans to train anywhere they see value, but makes them responsible for seeing that their money is well spent.
VET TEC, on the other hand, doesn’t use up any of a veteran’s GI Bill® funding. Schools that participate must show that graduates are able to secure gainful employment as the VA defines it for the school to be fully reimbursed for the student’s tuition. This means that only programs with strong and verifiable employment outcomes can participate in VET TEC.
You just need to ask yourself one question to see if you could be eligible:
- Are you a military veteran with at least one day of unexpired GI Bill® entitlement?
If you answered yes to the above question, you’re most likely eligible for VET TEC! To be sure, apply for the VET TEC program here.
Who is a good fit for the program?
Are you a military veteran interested in working in information science, computer programming, data processing, media applications, or computer software? Are you ready to take on the challenge of learning new skills and joining a new industry to start a career? Then VET TEC may be a good fit for you!
You’ll also need to be ready to work hard on training and studying with the training provider you choose. This program is a great way to fund your training, but you’ll need to put in the hours required to learn new skills and prove to employers that you have what it takes to do the job. You’ll also have to gear up for the job hunt. Training providers are not placement agencies. While they can help you with your resume and job search, in most cases they won’t be able to directly offer you a job.
It’s also important to take a look at the VET TEC site and find a training provider in your area.
How does VET TEC compare to the GI Bill®?
Here are some of the differences and similarities between the GI Bill® and the VET TEC program:
- Students training with VET TEC will receive a form of Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA), similar to the GI Bill®.
- VET TEC does not deplete your GI Bill® funds. After finishing VET TEC training, you can still utilize your GI Bill® later on.
- VET TEC funds training for short-term technology and trade schools, while the GI Bill® can be used for these schools or traditional degree-granting colleges and universities.
- Eligibility for these programs is not identical. Active duty service members, Transfer of Entitlement [TOE] spouses, and some others are ineligible for VET TEC.
- The VET TEC program has more limited funding (up to $15 million per federal fiscal year.)
- Veterans must attend as a full-time student to make use of VET TEC.
- For a school to receive the VET TEC student’s tuition reimbursement, the student must graduate and find appropriate employment as defined by the VA. This ensures that schools with verifiable employment outcomes continue to participate in the program, while schools whose training doesn’t result in graduation and employment won’t be eligible to continue accepting VET TEC students.
Does LeaderQuest accept VET TEC benefits?
LeaderQuest is listed as a VET TEC Training Provider on the Department of Veterans Affairs website, and is approved to receive reimbursement through the VET TEC program! If you’re interested in training with us, just click the button below.
After you get approval from the VA, we’ll walk you through the LeaderQuest approval process to make sure you’re a good fit for the program.
How do I work with the VA to participate in this program?
You’ll just need to apply for VET TEC benefits on the VA website.
Are you interested in training with LeaderQuest?
LeaderQuest offers short-term training for those interested in information technology, cyber security, networking, and IT support. For those with little to no IT experience, we offer a Computer User Support Specialist program that gives students a strong foundation in IT skills. This program includes training for four certifications that are in high demand with tech employers: ITIL, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+. After completing our program, students will be well positioned to start a role in IT and move into more specialized positions in cyber security, networking or IT, depending on their interest.
To ensure student success in the classroom, LeaderQuest offers a suite of online resources that students can use to review the material and increase their skills before taking the certification exam. Each campus has an Instructor Mentor on staff, available for 1-on-1 study sessions to help support our students as needed. All of our instructors have years of industry experience and teach not just what is needed to pass the exam, but what students need to know to excel in the workplace.
Finally, LeaderQuest graduates work with our Employment Development Managers (EDM) to make sure they find a great job after their training and exams are complete. Your EDM will meet with you and help you create a killer resume and an eye-catching cover letter. They’ll give you interview tips and advice and practice mock interviewing with you so that you can interview with confidence!
If you’re ready to train for a career in technology, let us know! We can help you navigate the complex and frustrating funding process. Get started now by completing the form below to speak to a Career Adviser and get more information about VET TEC or GI Bill® funded training at LeaderQuest!
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
What is Airforce COOL?
AF Credentialing Opportunities On-Line or AF COOL (Note: You’ll most likely get a security warning from the AFVEC website) is an Air Force program designed to help airmen achieve credentials that are recognized by the civilian community. This serves two purposes: to help the enlisted force gain new skills in an airman’s Air Force job, and to prepare the airman to work in the civilian world after leaving the airforce.
The AF COOL website can be used to research credentials and their prerequisites, identify credentials that are relevant to Air Force Specialties, learn about how credentials can fill gaps between Air Force training and civilian job roles, and learn about the resources available to Airmen that can help them gain civilian job credentials.
Read on to learn about a special offer for those using AF COOL funding for LeaderQuest training.
LeaderQuest and AF COOL
LeaderQuest is proud to participate in the AF COOL program. We know how important it is for airmen to get the right certifications to get hired once they are a civilian. That’s why we offer training in high-demand industries like IT, networking, and cyber security. The certifications that we train students for are globally recognized and are often listed as a prerequisite on job postings in these industries.
For those with little to no IT experience who would like to get started in the industry, we recommend CompTIA certifications such as:
- CompTIA A+ is a two-part course that covers computer hardware, as well as software installation, OS maintenance, troubleshooting, security, basic networking, and more. This foundational course builds important skills for technical support practitioners.
- CompTIA Network+ provides network technicians and support staff with the foundation-level skills they need to install, operate, manage, support, and troubleshoot a corporate network.
- CompTIA Security+ students will understand the field of network security and how it relates to other areas of information technology. This course also provides the broad-based knowledge necessary to prepare for further study in specialized security fields, or it can serve as a capstone course that gives a general introduction to the field.
Which of these courses is right for you depends on your level of experience and where you’d like to take your career. Our Career Training Consultants can help you choose a career path and evaluate which courses are right for you.
For those who already have some experience, we offer mid and high level certifications such as Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Whether you are just beginning your IT or cyber career or looking to advance it to the next level, we offer training in the certifications you’ll need to get there.
LeaderQuest’s AF COOL Training Offer
For those using AF COOL funding, LeaderQuest offers two certification courses for $4,500! Our courses include the cost of all materials, and we also cover the exam fee for each student and offer an onsite testing facility to make the process of getting trained and certified as simple as possible.
If you’re interested in getting into IT, LeaderQuest is a fantastic option. We hire instructors with years of industry experience and our training is always live and in-person. When training is complete, our Career Services team makes it their #1 priority to help you get hired into a great job in the industry of your choice. You’ll get one-on-one assistance with resume writing, practicing interview skills, and looking for the perfect job.
AF COOL Process
We have a summary of the process below. For the full process to apply, click here. (You’ll most likely get a security warning from the AFVEC website.)
Step 1: Search for the Credential
In your AFVEC account, navigate to the AF COOL homepage and search AFSC related credentials. Find the credential you wish to achieve.
Step 2: Create Education Goal
Click on the icon that is listed on the top right of the certification you are seeking to create your education goal.
Step 3: Upload Your Documentation
You’ll want to review the eligibility requirements to make sure the credential or program is a good fit for you. You’ll also want to get all the information on pricing for books, exams, administration fees and so on. If you choose to study at LeaderQuest, we make this simple by charging one price for all the materials (books, labs, etc) and training, and we cover the cost of the exam as well.
You’ll need to upload supporting documentation including:
- EPRs (only if required as proof of eligibility for the credential)
- Prerequisite certifications
- FAA Form 8610-2 (FAA Tickets to test) or CCAF-awarded Certificate of Eligibility
- Books – MS Word document with ISBN, Title, and web link for each book per the vendor’s site
- Login Information – If payment must be made via student login, please provide login and password to AF COOL on a MS Word document (this is not required for LeaderQuest courses)
- Exam Cost – Invoice or quote from the vendor; screen shot or active link to the vendor’s site is also acceptable
- Prep Course/Boot Camp – Invoice from the vendor
Step 4: Start a Funding Request
In your AFVEC account, click “Start a Funding Request” at the bottom right. You’ll need to be ready with info on…
- The exam center you plan to use (LeaderQuest has a Pearson VUE testing center at each location)
- The total cost of the exam (The exam fee is covered with your LeaderQuest enrollment.)
- The testing window, which can be up to 120 days by default or more with special permission
Step 5: Approval Process
First your supervisor has to approve the request, and then it will get passed on to the AF COOL office which will make the payment on your behalf. You should expect a call or email about this from the CPO/Purchase Agent.
Step 6: Study for and Take Exam
Now you’re ready to study for the exam and then sit for it! You’ll need to follow up with the AF COOL CPO to report your scores/achievement and close out your educational goal.
Ready to Start Training?
If you’re interested in learning more about using AF COOL to train at LeaderQuest, you can start the process by contacting us today! Our Career Training Consultants are experts on what certifications will help connect you to a great career in IT, networking or cyber security.
Fill out the form below to get the process started, and take control of your future!
You spend years of your life in the dedication and protection of your country and the people you love, only to return home after all that hard work to a job market that doesn’t know how to value your dedication and evaluate the learning you’ve already done.
A corporate IT career path is about as different from the military promotion system as civilian life here in the US is from the time you spent as a soldier overseas.
You send in countless resumes only to get back one rejection email after another… without so much as a chance to meet someone for a face-to-face interview to show them how capable you really are.
It’s totally unfair, we know.
And it’s frustrating. Beyond frustrating.
But the silver lining is, there’s always, always a way to swing your military experience in your favor without making life-long desk jockeys uncomfortable around you or sounding like that old man down the street who sits on his porch with a shotgun and a can of warm beer talking about his own good old days in the Army.
Because the truth of it is, your status as a veteran and your experience in the military are an advantage in the IT job market… you’ve just got to do some reverse-engineered thinking to figure out how to put a spin on things so your resume, cover letter, and interview make you a no-brainer to hire.
Here’s what we mean:
1. Incredible Attention to Detail is Needed for an IT Career
In the military, those tiny details you had to pay close attention to and worry over could literally make the difference between life and death.
Information Technology, though usually not life-threatening in any way, is what it is because of the small details and the attention to how to optimize even the smallest things for the greater good.
It’d be rare to find a non-veteran with the respect and attention towards even the smallest details that you’ve had to learn in your time in the armed forces.
2. Post 9/11 GI Bill® = IT Training for Veterans
The desk jockeys of corporate America may not realize the gravity of the work you’ve done in the military (try not to hold it against them). But they almost always respect the desire for quality education.
As a veteran, one of the best advantages you have access to is the Post 9/11 GI Bill®. You can fund some quality IT career training and IT certifications for yourself once you get out of the military to get a head start in your civilian IT career.
If you’ve already used it, flaunt that shamelessly. Show off that you dove head-first into an IT education so you’d be able to do the best job possible once you landed a new IT career.
If you haven’t used it yet and you know what IT field you want to go into, you can add to your resume when you’ll be starting your new educational program, or even just mention what you’ll be using your GI Bill® for.
If the reason you’re reading this article is that you are currently considering all of your different options, be sure to read “5 Reasons Why Veterans Make Perfect Network Security Administrators.”
Pro tip: If the company you want to work for doesn’t have any openings, ask for a 30-minute informational interview, presenting yourself as a veteran interested in their line of work. During the interview, you can ask for suggestions on which IT certifications for veterans to pursue and what programs they recommend. Keep in touch with your interviewer thanking them for their time and again when you’ve enrolled in an IT training program. It’ll keep you top-of-mind for when a new position opens.
3. Leadership Is Your Way of Life
Confidence, being able to take charge to solve technology problems, and a having a knack for creating workable solutions are some of the best assets you can have in the IT world!
In the military, leadership gets ingrained into you at a much younger age than most young people who go directly into a corporate IT career path.
For example, most people join the military rather young (some at only 18), so by the time you’re 22 (the age most people graduate from college), you’ve already got a couple of years of experience leading and managing a team of people.
Most corporate hiring managers don’t realize this, though, so make sure you carefully point it out on your resume.
4. No-Nonsense Management Systems
Along with early leadership, the army and the other branches of the armed forces do not mess around with wasting time, money, or resources when it comes to getting things done.
There might be a bit of puffery in the corporate world that you’re not used to, but at the end of the day, the main decision-makers of any company are looking to run their businesses with that kind of no-nonsense, goal-achieving work system you learned in the military.
So while your fellow entry-level tech colleagues may not ‘get it,’ your bosses and managers definitely will.
5. Perseverance & Calm Thinking During Chaos
To say things get chaotic in an office environment after the things you’ve experienced in the army may seem like a bit of a joke to you.
But when there’s loads of money on the line for one particular business deal, tensions can run pretty high between co-workers if it looks like things might not be going your way and the deal might be lost.
Or, particularly in cyber security, if you’ve got a hacker that’s advancing quickly and you can’t seem to figure out what to do to stop him, panic can quickly take over for the average IT professional. But not you…your training gives you the ability to think clearly and react better, which makes cyber security training for veterans a good fit!
You’ve been taught how to persevere when things get tough (heck, most of your corporate colleagues probably couldn’t make it through boot camp), and you know how to calm your mind to think progressively and analytically during chaotic situations to come to the smartest course of action possible.
Revamp Your Resume & Start Advancing to Your IT Career
Another thing that’s different from the military in the corporate world is speaking in “I” instead of “we.”
The military is all about group honor and value, which is great. But when you’re getting hired in the corporate world, it matters less what your group as a whole accomplished and more what you did individually to contribute to your group’s success.
So while you might have the right information on your résumé, you’d be surprised what a difference in wording could do for you!
And while we’ve only listed five here, the University of Colorado made a list of 21 advantages you can easily list out on your resume and cover letter as a veteran, depending on the job in IT that you’re going after.
For more help revamping your resume to get hired quickly into the career path you want, check out our IT career services and our free 10-step checklist that walks you through a successful job search.
Did You Know?
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
We’ve got a special place in our hearts for veterans who’ve served to keep our country and our freedoms safe.
So much so that we dedicate an entire department of our company to working with veterans and their families helping them figure out the technical education and IT training they need to get on their desired IT career path once they leave the armed services.
One of the biggest things we’ve noticed when Veterans come to us is that there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to:
- How to know which jobs you qualify for as a veteran
- What technical education path and certifications can best elevate your current military skills and background to qualify you for CURRENT job openings
- How to get the most out of your Post 9/11 Benefits
Competition in the commercial world doesn’t make it much better, either. It’s a place where even the most high-ranking military titles don’t carry as much weight as we’d like them to, and where entry-level salaries can be more cut-throat than you’d like to deal with.
So, to help you wade through the confusion and frustration, we got our IT Career Training Services team to answer some of the most common, frustrating questions veterans have about taking the next step in their career path after leaving the military.
Because after serving our country the way that you did? You deserve the IT career of your dreams!
Q: Why do so many job listings require skills that I don’t have? Where can I use the skills I learned in the Army?
Positions and working skills required for the army are very specialized.
And while they require time, study and practice to learn and not everyone can do them, they are so specialized to one career path; which often means they’re not directly applicable to working from a cubicle, for example.
Jobs in the Department of Defense might be a good choice, since they’re typically better at helping veterans transfer their skill sets than corporate organizations.
Q: Do you mean I have to start from the bottom, even after I reached _______ rank in the army?
While you may not have to start from the absolute bottom (like an unpaid college-level internship), chances are you won’t land the job you’re after right away. Most corporate promotion strategies are based on merit, and a lot of hiring in the corporate world happens from within.
So, yes, you might need to get your foot in the door with a lower-level position than you’d initially like, but the good news is you can use the discipline and focus you learned in the military to quickly prove yourself better than your peers, pushing you up the promotion ladder.
Q: Do I have to do two to four years in a college before I can get some kind of degree to prove myself?
As long as the educational institution is approved by the VA (LeaderQuest is!), you can use your Post 9/11 Benefit to pay for any kind of job-based training, so you don’t have to waste your time sitting in classes about world literature if you’d rather work in technology.
In fact, many of our career-ready, VA-approved technical training programs are quite short. The I.T. training program we most recommend for veterans who want to begin their IT career is only 23 days, for example.
Take a look at our Degree vs. Certification article to see pros and cons of each path.
Q: I think I might want to work in IT, but how do I choose an IT career path, let alone a training program?
IT is a great choice. It’s one of the fastest-growing sectors and provides more and more high-paying jobs every single year.
Since most veterans don’t already have a working background in IT, we recommend our Computer User Support Specialist Training. It gives you all the fundamentals you need to start a solid career path, and gives you what you need to pass THREE CompTIA certifications (A+, Network+, and Security+), which around 80% of IT employers look at as an advantage.
(We also love that it only takes 23 days to complete.)
The three certifications also fill levels one and two of the security requirements for Department of Defense Directive 8570, if you decide you’d like to work for them.
Q: If I can’t get the salary I want right away, what kind of salary can I expect?
This highly depends on the field of work you go into. Teaching is vastly different from marketing, which is vastly different from IT. (Not to mention all the other endless possibilities.)
But since we specialize in helping veterans transition into the IT field, we’ll answer for those interested in IT.
Based on our research from O*Net Online, we’ve found that Computer Support Technicians (an entry-level position you can obtain with our training) that have the CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications earn between $46,000 to $66,000 per year, depending on location.
This is still above the national average, which was $44,888 in 2013.
So… What Should I Do Next?
How you use your Post 9/11 Benefit is totally up to you and what your post-military career goals are.
If you know what your dream career is, identify the qualifications it has and figure out what kind of training program you need to get your foot in the door of a company that can help lead you there.
If you’re still not sure what you’d like to do, we have a veteran resources center you can check out. Get in touch and we can answer all of YOUR questions and help you help figure out exactly what you want, how to get there, and how to use your Post 9/11 Benefit to help!