Continuing Education Resources for MilSpouses

Now that I’ve become more familiar with GI Bill benefits for my daughter’s education, I’m thinking more about continuing my education. Like most other military spouses in the ranks, I’m a lifelong learner, but formal education beyond my undergraduate degree hasn’t been a top priority during this season of life.

I’ve enjoyed professional development classes and seminars to keep my skills sharp over the years, but now I wonder if I should fill my empty nest with higher education in the next few years. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to upskill or a newcomer to the workforce, continuing education is the key to unlocking a world of opportunity.

  • Stay relevant: Industries evolve rapidly, and keeping your skill set current ensures you stay competitive in the job market.
  • Advance your career: Additional qualifications can open doors to promotions, higher pay scales, remote work, and more fulfilling job roles.
  • Embrace new possibilities: Maybe you’ve always harbored a secret dream of a career change. Continuing education allows you to explore new fields and discover exciting opportunities.

It’s been heartening to uncover the multitude of possibilities for military spouses to continue their education journeys. You’ll probably discover multiple programs that overlap education and employment advancement, so you’ll have to narrow down which programs fit your needs.

  • Military OneSource: This resource, offered by the Defense Department, is your one-stop shop for all things military spouse, education and career support. The gateway provides a wealth of information on scholarships, grants and continuing education programs tailored to military families.
  • MySECO (Spouse Education & Career Opportunities): MySECO is part of Military OneSource and is the portal that opens a variety of education and career guidance. There’s an easy search feature to take you directly to a topic, like “college degrees.” You can also choose a category dedicated to one topic, like Pursue Your Education, Learn About Career Paths, or Resume Building.
  • MyCAA (My Career Advancement Account): The DOD also allows some spouses up to $4,000 for tuition assistance towards a degree or certificate program. The scholarship helps spouses “in pursuit or maintenance of a license, certification or associate degree necessary to gain employment in an occupation or career field.” It’s a fantastic way to offset some of the financial burden of continuing education, but read the eligibility requirements; not all spouses can participate.
  • Online Education Programs: The beauty of the digital age is its flexibility, and we all know military spouses need flexibility. Numerous universities and colleges now provide high-quality online degree and certificate programs. This allows you to pursue your education from the comfort of your home, regardless of location. Some even have satellite campuses on military bases if you want a hybrid experience.
  • Vocational Schools and Community Colleges: These institutions offer a range of career-focused programs that you can complete faster than traditional four-year degrees. This is a great option if you’re looking for a quick and targeted skill boost. Remember, going back to school can be just for fun, too. Adult learning encompasses everything from auditing a popular class for free to exploring floral design or computer coding before deciding to pursue a new career path.
  • Industry Certifications: Many professions rely on industry-specific certifications to validate skills and knowledge. Relevant certifications can significantly enhance your resume and reveal an attractive candidate to potential employers. Don’t forget that MyCAA could pay for your certifications.

For more information, you should also check out one of Military OneSource’s MilLife Guides: Education, Training and Licensing.

The Defense Department knows family satisfaction is the key to retaining military members long-term, so there’s been a big focus on improving military spouse employment and education over the last five to 10 years. If you’re new to exploring opportunities, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s a good thing because it means there are many chances to find fulfillment in education advancement.

If, after looking over Military OneSource, you need help navigating the continuing education pathways, you can always call a MySECO career coach at 1-800-342-9647 to help you get started.

Written By Dawn Smith
Army Spouse

Dawn is an experienced military spouse and freelance writer. When she isn’t writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and Golden Retriever keep her busy with dog walks, home upkeep, travel planning, and chauffeur duties.

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