You’ve put your time in serving your country. You’ve earned entitlement to the GI Bill, which can pay your way through college or other training. So what factors should you consider when you think about which school to attend and what career you should pursue?
How much will I earn with a degree?
Point of fact: People who graduate with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, almost $500 more per week and are significantly more likely to be employed than someone with a high school diploma. The GI Bill can help you achieve this. Want more detailed information about how much you’ll earn with your degree? Try going to Payscale.com.
Even though you haven’t started school yet, you already have some homework to do, such as figuring out what your interests are and how they might serve you in the future.
What are your interests?
Some of the tools available to you to see how your interests might be turned into a career include:
- The Department of Labor’s O*NET is a free database you can use to find salary information, career options based on your skills, interests, abilities and more.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook has info on hundreds of different types of jobs. You can find out what training and education is needed for a particular job, earnings, expected employment prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions.
We also provide free counseling to:
- Assist you in career decision making for civilian or military occupations;
- Help you choose an appropriate civilian occupation and develop a training program, or;
- Resolve barriers that get in the way of your success in training or employment.
If you are interested in VA’s assistance, you can contact us here.
You’ve thought about possible careers, now what?
Choosing the right school involves more than just completing the school’s application process. The school you select is important, and a decision not to be taken lightly. You earned your college education. In the military you demonstrated the commitment, courage, discipline and desire to succeed. Each of these qualities is highly sought after by colleges and universities. Leverage that and attend the school that maximizes your hard-earned investment.
There is a lot of information available to assist you. Although it can be time-consuming, take the time to gather all the information you need to make the best choice.
The Department of Education’s College Navigator web portal is a great place to start. But before you access College Navigator, keep reading. The information available on College Navigator is important, but it’s equally important to understand what the data means. Identify questions you can ask potential schools so you understand how well it suits your specific situation. If you’d like to go directly to the College Navigator website click here.
Think about your choices. I’ll be doing a follow up post soon to talk about some specifics you should consider when you start comparing and choosing a school.
Keith Wilson was appointed Director of VA’s Education Service on February 22, 2006. He provides executive level oversight in the development of policy, planning, and integration of Education programs administered by the Veterans Benefits Administration. Over 500,000 Veterans, service members and their families pursue education opportunities under these programs. Mr. Wilson is a Navy Veteran, serving aboard the USS Cushing (DD-985) as well as serving tours of duty in Iceland and Italy. He and his wife, Mary, have three children: Kaleigh, Noah, and Ian.