Service members seeking additional education, including Bachelors and Masters degrees, are a unique group of individuals and are often forced to juggle a number of factors in their lives, including work (which often includes deployment), family, and additional education, among others. When looking for alternative ways to obtain advanced education, military members often explore distance military education options such as online education, which typically allows students to balance their education with other pursuits. These individuals, however, must make sure that the online school they select is a military friendly university that understands the unique challenges and needs of a military officer or enlisted personnel. This essay provides an overview of the basics of a distance military education and then makes a case for the importance of selecting a military friendly university for those service members seeking advanced education.
What is a distance military education?
A distance military education often provides a path for military personnel throughout the world to advance in rank. While military education in general encompasses both voluntary and compulsory duties, voluntary advanced or specialty education provides service members with a leading edge to advance within their careers. The purpose of distance military education is to provide professional or academic development to service members throughout their careers regardless of where they might be stationed. While some programs provide hands-on training and experience within a specific military occupational specialty, other programs are more academic in nature and provide service members with the opportunity to work towards a Bachelors or Masters degree.
Online education is a great option for military service members for a variety of reasons. First, online education is flexible. Service members can benefit from this flexibility as they attempt to balance all of the other important aspects of their lives. Furthermore, since students in online education are responsible for getting their work done at home, they are often forced to learn key time management and learning management skills, as well as how to self motivate. All of these skills are transferrable to the business world as well, and therefore online learners are ahead of the game in developing these critical business skills for future success.
Importance of a military friendly university
Service members exploring distance military education should look for a military friendly university. This type of school wants military students to succeed and therefore has implemented numerous programs to aid service members in their educational pursuits. Service members should look for schools which are approved for VA benefits, offer flexible learning, have a generous LOA policy, and have SOC membership. Potential students should also consider those universities which offer degrees that are relevant to either their current position or degrees which will enable them to find employment once they separate from the military. There are a number of organizations and online sites that provide in depth research and analysis on military friendly schools. Service members should seek out additional research before deciding on one specific school.
The military relies upon smart and dynamic leaders within its ranks - individuals who strive to make learning a life-long process. For those service members who intend to become officers, it is important to at least earn a four-year degree, as building a strong educational foundation will help them throughout their military and even post-military careers. Distance education could be a good choice for those service members who are deployed or who simply do not have the time to attend a traditional school. Regardless of the type of school service members choose, however, they should ensure that the school is military friendly. Otherwise, service members could be wasting valuable time and resources on a program that they might not have the opportunity to finish.