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A Primer for Veterans Going Back to School

by Chelsea Lamb

As a veteran, you have devoted your adult life to your country. When you leave the military, you will inevitably ask yourself, "what’s next?” You will have picked up many transferable skills as a veteran, but, as the consultant Dr. Carl Forkner explains here, returning to education can afford you a career jump that may be pocket-pleasing in the long run.

More veterans than ever before are seeing the benefits of returning to education. It is a bold, brave move that the U.S. government and U.S. colleges fully support. Yet finding an institution that suits the student veteran and participates in vet-friendly programs is easier said than done. Only 750 schools earned the Military Friendly School designation in 2021-2022 according to

In 2018, the U.S. government made vast improvements to educational benefits as part of the GI Bill. These include ending the 15-year restriction for returning to education after service, reducing the number of credits you must earn to get a degree, implementation of more long-distance learning programs, and extending benefits to current service members and qualifying family members.

What financial benefits are available for veterans pursuing an education? provides veterans with financial and emotional support, which can help a U.S. veteran return to full-time education. VA education benefits include college tuition fees, support for books, supplements to assist with financial responsibilities, and career counselling services. If you want to return to education, also research the educational benefits in your state as they vary by location.

What are the best careers for veterans?

Make use of skills you have learned throughout your military career. shares that the most in-demand skills include communication, planning, flexibility, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership, and more, in addition to specific technical skills such as engineering or nursing.

U.S. Veterans Magazine lists the best jobs for veterans:

● Financial Advisor

● Management Consultant

● Registered Nurse/Nurse Practitioner

● Sales Manager

● Computer Science/I.T./Network Administration/Cybersecurity

● Operations Research Analyst

What is the best degree or course for veterans?

The most popular degree courses among veterans, as described by are:

● Criminal justice

● Engineering

● Nursing

● Network administration

● Physical therapy

● Computer science

● Information security

● Teaching

These are qualifications that add to the skills you have already learned in the military or that support a logical move into your desired career or field.

If you are unsure what career you wish to pursue, consider honing your business skills. MBA courses are sure to make you a more attractive proposition to employers. Some of the best MBA programs for business skills are:

● Economics

● Accounting

● Corporate finance

● Marketing

● Human capital management

An MBA is extremely valuable in the business world and can lead to several lucrative career paths, including a business manager, facilities manager, or operations director.

How can you balance school with your other responsibilities?

As a veteran, you may have financial and family responsibilities, which you cannot renege on. Fortunately, furthering your career through education doesn’t need to involve an abandonment of your current job or distancing yourself from family.

Learning online can give you the flexibility to earn your qualifications in your spare time, allowing you to progress in your career without endangering income sources or quality time spent with loved ones. Many of the above-mentioned subjects are available as an online degree or MBA program and are supported by U.S. government funding. For example, going back to school and earning an online master's degree in business beefs up your skill set in up-to-date concepts in areas like leadership and entrepreneurship and . An online degree in IT could allow you to learn about information technology management, data analytics, and cyber security and information assurance. The sky is truly the limit.

If you are a veteran who wants to pursue a new career or gain formal qualifications that support your existing role, there has never been a better time to return to education. Whether you choose to go full-time or part-time, in-person or online, there are financial, emotional, and educational systems in place to support you every step of the way.


As a Service Officer at East Valley Chapter 8 and the Northern District Commander, Department of Arizona, for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Dr. Carl Forkner assists his fellow veterans and their families in receiving the benefits and assistance they have earned through their service. Reach out to find out more! 480.890.2424

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