If you are in the 35 MOS (military occupational specialties) series in the Army and are nearing your expiration term of service (ETS) date, you may be wondering what your options are for employment. It's important to realize that the intelligence community is highly competitive. Even though you already have experience, training, and clearance requirements under your belt, it is vital that you also have a degree in order to be competitive. Fortunately, you can use your GI Bill and other benefits that are given to veterans to help them succeed after their time in service.
However, given that you already have adult responsibilities, possibly including a family to provide for, you need to obtain a degree as quickly as possible. More importantly, fast-tracking a degree will be essential if your security clearance will expire before you're hired. Here's how to fast track to a degree after you ETS.
Transfer Your Military Training to College Credits
Transfer your military training and experience to college credits. When you receive your DD-214, it should list each and every training that you went through while in the military. If it doesn't, you'll need to get this cleared up before you ETS. The training you received will be evaluated by the American Council of Education, which is why it's important to be certain that your DD-214 is free and clear of any errors.
Before completely ending your tour of duty, go to the education office at your assigned military installation for assistance in transferring your training to college credits. Alternatively, when you are ready to enroll in college, a veteran admissions advisor can help you transfer the training to college credits, particularly basic training and training from the 35 MOS series, as well as Primary Leadership Development Courses (PLDC), Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Courses (BNOC), and Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Courses (ANOC).
Apply for Military Disability through the Department of Veterans Affairs
You will need to be fully aware of the time limitations on your security clearance and try as hard as possible to complete your degree well before your clearance expires, which means you may need to double or triple up on your classes, if possible. This will leave little to no time to be gainfully employed while earning your degree. Fortunately, you may qualify for military disability.
Since spending time in Southwest Asia during your enlistment was part and parcel to your MOS choice, you are presumed to have a service-related illness, whether or not you are currently ill. With that said, go to the nearest office of the Department of Veterans Affairs after you ETS to start the process of applying for military disability. If you are given a disability rating of 10 percent or higher, you will start receiving monthly disability, which can help you cover household and living expenses while you attend college.