Credentialing is the awarding of a credential based upon the verification of a qualification in a particular subject or skill set. It is a popular type of certification in many fields in the civilian sector, especially the healthcare field. Typically, military members in the past have used the Army’s COOL credentialing program to acquire credentials prior to getting out to make them more competitive in the civilian career field of their choice, if entering a field where credentialing is applicable.
Credentialing Times Have Changed for the Army
But things have changed. Now with an account at the new ArmyIgnitED website and using the CA program, military members can earn credentials with little to no out of pocket cost that can help boost their military career in addition to a future civilian career.
The Army CA program offers to pay for approved courses and exams taken in the soldier’s off-duty time. However, to use the program, soldiers must have first completed their Professional Military Education requirements. For enlisted soldiers, this means having completed Advanced Individual Training (AIT); for Warrant Officer, having graduated from the Warrant Officer Basic Course; for commissioned officers, having completed the Basic Leaders Course.
CA Program Offerings
The CA program offers over 1,600 career specialties that can enhance current skill sets or develop new ones. Some of the more popular CA certifications soldiers are earning include:
- Associate Professional in HR (aPHR)
- Certified Logistics Technician (CLT)
- Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)
- Certified Welder (CW) Commercial
- Commercial Driver License (CDL)
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Lean Six Sigma
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Private Pilot, Airplane Single Engine
- CompTIA A+ CompTIA Security+ Certification
The CA program can be used to pay for most credentialing expenses incurred like:
- Classroom instruction
- Hands-on training
- Online/blended training
- Study guides
Both the Army Tuition Assistance and CA programs can be used to pay for approved credentialing costs; however, total cost from either program, or a combination of the two, is limited to the current FY2020 fiscal year cap of $4,000.
To acquire a credential is a four-step process:
- First, create an Army IgnitED
- Choose a credential path.
- Search for the credential or examination that is in your path
- Choose the funding and submit.
Once approved, the applicant will be notified by email and will receive all materials required to complete the credential no later than three days prior to the start date of the course.
Army is Committed to Advancing Soldiers
The Army is fully committed to its credentialing program. As a matter of fact it has this to say about it: “The Army supports civilian credentialing for active duty members because it improves the professionalism of Soldiers. In fact, if a credential is related to your duties, the Army may award promotion points for earning it.”
Keep in mind that while enlisted members do not incur any additional Military Service Obligation (MSO), warrant and commissioned officers do in accordance with the Army Tuition Assistance program requirements.