Enrolling in a trade school after military service can be challenging. Some institutions lack programs that allow returning service members to maximize their potential.
Others may be unable to offer the funding and resources veterans need to succeed in the classroom. However, there are military-friendly trade schools vets should consider when furthering their education or pursuing new career paths.
What Makes a Trade School Good for Veterans?
Trade schools are an excellent option for veterans looking to further their education.
Many returning military service members who enroll in vocational programs enjoy the hands-on training they get to supplement their traditional classroom instruction.
Others like the flexible scheduling that allows them to balance their work, home, and school obligations more easily.
A Shorter Cost Efficient Way to Establish a Career
However, one of the most common reasons veterans choose to attend trade schools over traditional colleges and universities is that they can complete a program in less time and for less money. Instead of taking two to four years to get a degree, you can finish a trade school course in anywhere from six months to a year and start working in your chosen field.
Applying Military Training to Skilled Trades
Many of the skills veterans learn in the military are also essential for those working in trade careers.
For example, the same teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills that helped you build relationships with fellow service members and commanding officers may come into play when interacting with employers, coworkers, and customers.
Other transferable military skills that are essential for trade jobs include analytical thinking, risk management, attention to detail, adaptability, and the ability to work well under pressure.
Specific Skills Learned in the Military
Some military skills might even relate to a specific trade, like applying weapons training to a job in criminal justice or going from a fighter pilot to an airline or commercial pilot.
Whatever branch of the military you served in, you can find a skilled trade or vocational school program that helps you apply the skills and training you learned in the military to a civilian career. In fact, many trade schools offer specific workshops and resources for veterans looking to make a smooth transition from the military to the workforce.
Must-Haves for a Military-Friendly Trade School
Generally speaking, a military-friendly trade school should have the four elements below.
1. Financial Aid for Military Students
Tuition assistance from U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs programs and GI Bill Benefits or through military-specific scholarship and grant opportunities.
2. Veteran-Specific Academic Assistance
Academic advisors that help veterans choose programs that suit their military skillset and possibly receive course credits for previous military experience.
3. Post-Graduation Career Placement Resources
Resume-crafting workshops, interview practice, job fairs, and networking events to help students find jobs with military-friendly employers and organizations.
4. On-Campus, Student-Run Veteran’s Center
A strong community of military students offering vouchers for food, transportation and books, plus support through study and tutoring groups and counseling referrals.
Continue on here to view a list of Schools & Programs for Veterans.