Posted on Sep 27, 2014
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
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A new quarter in Community College starts every month, some colleges start every Quarter. Since the New Year's, what have you thought about doing for college and what is keeping you from doing it?

Regardless of how you performed in high school, you are in a different place now. You have learned to how to learn; you have become a lifelong learner; and you can learn under pressure. You are mature, reflective and you participate in the learning process.

As a member of the profession of arms, you have learned to continually adapt maintaining an expert body of knowledge. Professionals have the trust of the American people because of their expertise and continual learning.

The time is now to start your civilian education. If you are thinking of an online degree, your written communication will represent you. If you do not like that fact, then you may want to consider a "brick & mortar" degree.

Please use this discussion board help each other get r done. You are innovative, adaptive, smart and amazing. Your mom, dad, and/or spouse will be proud of you when you tell them of your new goal.
Edited 6 y ago
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Responses: 17
SSG Robert Burns
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Working as a PSG in the WTU a few years back, I watched MANY Soldiers in the process of transitioning out of the Army with little done to set themselves up for success. The bottom line is when you go on USA Jobs, if you want a decent paying job, a bachelors degree is a min. requirement just to get in the door. It is disheartening to see those who have sacrificed so much and focused so much on their career to be left standing flat-footed once they are out. The sad thing is that much of what you've done and accomplished means very little in comparison to the accomplishment of completing your degree.
I am fortunate enough to be in an enlisted MOS that gives me a professional civilian license that enables me to get a job tonight if I needed to, but there are very few MOS's that do this.
A standard I've always tried to hold my guys to is to just take one class per semester, no matter what it was. I call it building your "credit." It does 2 things. It keeps you in mental shape to stay fresh in college level classes and it gets you one class closer to that little peace of paper that can change your life, your families life. As COL Lindenmeyer said; "get r done!"
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1SG Brett Austin
1SG Brett Austin
>1 y
Lean Certification is a valued credential...especially in healthcare. Even if your MOS, etc is not in the medical field, it can open huge doors for success! I highly recommend it!
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COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
>1 y
SSG Robert Burns, can you illuminate LSS Black Belt and how the "Army paid for it?" Was it on duty time or online training on your own time? Thank you!
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SSG Robert Burns
SSG Robert Burns
>1 y
Yes sir. The black belt course is a 4 week course spread out over 4 months. I completed my training through MEDCOM TDY to the AMEDE Center and School. It is my understanding that each command has its own training program and it is offered at several locations. When I went I was the only enlisted student. Everyone else was GS13 or field grades. It's a challenging course and fast paced but is doable. You should go to the course with a project already approved.
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COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
6 y
I hope others take advantage of command funded training, such as Lean Six Sigma Green/Black Belt Training. Well done on a challenging course! Thanks for setting a great example, SSG Robert Burns!
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MAJ Fuops Action Officer
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Thank you CPT Aaron Kletzing for the heads up on this discussion. I entered the military with a bachelor's degree and went through ROTC. While still TPU (reservist) I started my Master's Degree utilizing my tuition assistance because my career (teacher) required me to have an additional 24 college hours post bachelor's within 6 years to keep my certificate to be able to have my profession still. So why not do a few more and get a Master's? I had decided to do it online. I am glad that I did that as I went AGR (full-time in the Army Reserves) and then completed my Master's a few months before I deployed. Since I was utilizing tuition assistance I did not have to take a certain amount of classes a term so I generally took one a term. After my deployment I was bored and figured why not go for a PhD so I applied and I am utilizing my Post 9/11 GI Bill. Due to be limited by time I had to go for two courses a quarter to keep within the timeline to not run out of benefits before I graduate. I am in my dissertation phase now and working on my research portion now. It is rough trying to balance work (company command and battalion plans officer), school, and have a life. So I decided, like most going for a PhD, that I can have a life after I graduate. I put my energy first in work and then in school. I have my parents pushing me to help me complete milestones based on my self-imposed deadlines. I plan to finish by March 2015. I am looking forward to graduating and not having to worry about another degree until War College. The only worry I have is that I am putting myself out of a job after the military as I will have a PhD and what school district will want to hire me to teach high school if I could teach college?
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COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
>1 y
Brian, thanks for your educational journey testimony! I am happy to assist you in any reviews of your proposal. I completed my Ph.D. in Education with Northcentral University (Prescott, AZ). An article about the community that it takes to complete the dissertation is in the attached article
http://ncu.edu/blog/it-takes-a-community-to-finish-a-phd
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SFC Mark Merino
SFC Mark Merino
>1 y
That's great COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired). I got my degree from NCU as well. It sure was a lot of writing, but it sure was convenient for being 100% online and we being on active duty. MAJ (Join to see) is doing the right thing with trying to finish his PhD while still in the service. A little known fact is that the VA will not allow you to use benefits for voc rehab for anything past the masters level, even if you are at 100% disability. That is the situation I find myself in. If I would have been able to finish earlier in my career I would have made it all the way to my goal. I have a masters in psychology and without a license, it is too much education for too little pay. Sometimes it is better to have less education in a better field. We need to be careful to ensure that our education is tailored to the career field that we desire to work in. It is equally important to research licensing requirements post-education completion if your creer field requires them.
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MAJ Fuops Action Officer
MAJ (Join to see)
>1 y
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired) thanks for the offer. I am working on finalizing chapter 3 and pulling my data for chapter 4 right now. I am grateful for my parents who have read everything a million times so far and catching things for me to correct. I might take you up on your offer when I finish up to see what your thoughts are on it.
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SFC Mark Merino
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Education is more than just promotion points. Too many service members are interested in trying to maximize their points by taking CLEP/DANTES exams. Some even pay higher learning institutions to evaluate their AARTS transcripts to get credits that get points but do not necessarily help them for their post-military career that comes up faster than they realize. Don't get me wrong, there are many fields that have rediculously high promotion points to make it to the E-5/E-6 level. Without maxing civilian education, even the best eligible candidates can be left behind. Do what is necessary to max them out as soon as possible if that is your mid-term goal (4-year approx time frame), but focus on degree completion from a regionally accredited college. Sometimes that falls under a long-term goal (10-year time frame). These times have drastically reduced now that the deployments are slowing down. Education is incredibly expensive. On the outside, the majority f colleges only reduce tuition rates 10% for veterans so please use the DOD to pay the $4,500 a year towards your education every year. Colleges want that government money and they are prone to lower the rates to the exact maximum tuition that the government will allow. Again, post military tuition give the 10% off but the tuition rates are usually double then. No one wants to try paying $30,000 in student loans at approximately $350 a month for years to come. Let the military pay for your education. Remember all those leaders that said that they were "real soldiers" so they didn't have time for school? That is a statement made by people who are most likely scrambling now that they are civilians.
I spent my entire military career going to school whenever schools or deployments didn't make it impossible. Back in the day, we spent 2-3 years at one location going to the 4 or so schools that offered night classes on post. If you didn't finish the degree before you PCS'd you could find yourself at another assignment where they didn't even offer your degree at night. You found yourself changing majors, often several times. Online schooling has practially eliminated that nightmare. Again, ensure it is regionally accredited if you decide on that route.
Start your education now. It is never too late to start, but get on it. All those medals and awards that we earned in the military have great meaning and respect in the military community, but after your career their significance decreases immensely. If 1-2% serve in the armed forces that means that the majority of the civilian world will be clueless as to what you have been doing or what you can bring to the table. They want to know if you are certified, licensed, and /or what your level of education is.
It seems like a very difficult process and it can be a bit overwhelming but remember that no one wants you to fail. Colleges have advisors for every step of the way and Officers have all been through it at least to the bachelors level. RallyPoint is a valuable tool and full of resources as well.
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COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
COL Vince Lindenmeyer, Ph.D. (Retired)
>1 y
Thanks for your advice to others, Mark. Yes, I have heard in the past that a Soldier's tuition assistance benefit is "free money," that if not used is just given back to Uncle Sam.
While tuition assistance was limited to only $250 per credit hour, that is still a lot of money! You can find a number of undergraduate degree courses for under $750 per 3 credit hour course.

2015 Tuition Assistance Rates: Effective January 1, 2014, the Army will fund 100% of the tuition for up to 16 hours of credit, not to exceed $250 per credit hour (for a total of up to $4,000 per fiscal year). This replaces the previous limit of 18 semester hours of credit with a cap of $4,500 per fiscal year (FY 2013 rates).

( http://themilitarywallet.com/army-tuition-assistance-benefits/ )

If a Soldier reads this and asks himself/herself, "did I use my $4,000 this year?" I hope they say, "Yes!" When they get out, they can use their GI bill benefits for finishing their bachelor's or even a master's degree!
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