Whether you have mustered out or are planning to, one thing is certain: You need to make sure that you are competitive in the civilian job market. In a sluggish economy employers are increasingly selective in hiring. Your proud service, including exposure to the dangers of combat, let’s an employer know that you have discipline and character, but that is not enough. The employer wants to know if you have the training needed to get the job done in his or her company. We live in what some economists call a knowledge economy, meaning that the leading edge of economic activity requires not just good work habits but specialized knowledge. The best way for job seekers to advertise their knowledge is by having a degree or certificate after his or her name. Even if you are making the military a career, having advanced knowledge will improve your standing a promotion possibilities, and prepare you for your eventual separation from military life.
Having an advanced degree and the training that goes with it can increase your chances of landing the job of your choice. The question is how you can best accomplish that task. Traditional colleges are great but they are quite expensive, even with your veteran’s benefits. Beside the cost there is the time required in class. Online degrees for military personnel can be just the answer you are looking for. Studying online, also known as “distance learning,” has the flexibility that people need, especially if they have family obligations.
The technological revolution shows no sign of letting up, and that is great news for people looking to improve their education or sharpen the mental skills needed in the modern economy. Early distance learning programs consisted of printing or copying documents, reading them, and then answering questions. Modern technology has done away with that. The experience of an online course is now similar to actually sitting in the classroom. If you have ever taken a “webinar,” which is what an online seminar is called, you know how impactful the experience can be.
Savvy online schools use sophisticated software such as oovoo.com, which creates an online conference atmosphere that enables you to interact with the instructor and the other students. This is far superior to courses that are really nothing more than YouTube type videos. Interaction is a key element in learning. I have taken both types of courses, and the interactive ones are far superior. If you didn’t quite get something the instructor said, you just ask a question. With a non-interactive course, your only choice is to back up the video to try to understand what was said. If the non-interactive course is in real time, you can’t even rewind it. You’re just stuck with the frustration of having missed what was said. There’s nothing like human interaction.
Some schools offer both online courses and regular campus education. Vista College, for example, has a nationwide following of online students, and also provides a traditional in-person experience at its five campuses. For its online courses, Vista uses the interactive oovo.com software that I discussed above. Vista also emphasizes that it is a “military friendly” college. See vistamilitary.com.
Modern technology has given the knowledge seeker so much flexibility that it is hard to ignore. Online military learning provides an opportunity for military personnel and veterans that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Your campus is a click away.