How Certifications Can Help You Update Your Skills

Military Transition

With all the talk recently about jobs being lost to automation, the degree you got before enlisting, or even early in your military career through tuition assistance, may not be viable now that you are ready to transition out after spending a career in the military. Or maybe you want to go in a different direction with your second career and into a career field different from your degree. Both of these goals could be accomplished simply by updating your skills and using your GI Bill to enroll in a certificate program.

Certificate programs

A certificate program provides specialized training in a particular discipline found in a specific career field. Most certificate programs can be completed in less time than it takes to get a two-year associate’s degree. Many do not require attendance on campus at a brick and mortar school and can be done online instead.

Determining which one you need

If you are undecided about which certificate you should pursue, here are some tips that may help:

  • Determine the type training your dream job requires. Inquire at a company that has the type of job and ask their Human Resources Department for certificate training suggestions and schools they recognize that provide that training.
  • Fully investigate the school you are considering enrolling in. Certificates from some schools carry more value than from others. That is where it helps to get recommendations from industry professionals as far as schools and certificates they recognize and honor.
  • Network with people who are doing the same job that you want. Find out what training they have that enabled them to get that job. They can also give you a heads-up on the types of jobs you want that may be opening up soon or ones that are open now, but either not advertised or will soon be.

Search for certificate programs

Colleges and universities recognize the value of getting a certificate and in response have added certificate programs to their Adult Education curriculums. For example, MIT has professional certificate courses in Innovation and Technology, and Real Estate Finance and Development.

Many certificate programs are taught online. To search online directories to see what is available, go to:

… where you can use different search criteria such as category, subject or school, to find certificate programs in your field.

If you plan on transitioning out of the military soon and are looking to update or change your skills, consider one of many certificate programs available. Most programs can be funded using your GI Bill and can be completed in anywhere from a few days to a few months. Getting a certificate can not only get you into the civilian job market quicker, but into a job you’ll really like doing.

Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.