5 Ways Veterans Can Build a New Career without Huge Student Loans

For many people, military service turns into a military career. However, many members of the military join with the intention of only being in a short time. A good number of these veterans think about going to school to get some training once their military service has concluded.

However, many of them worry about racking up student debt in the process. The good news is that there is a way for veterans to build a new career without accumulating huge amounts of debt in the process. Here are five ways former service members can build a career without college debt.

1. Take the CLEP Test

College students, veterans or not, save a lot of time and money by testing out of some or all of their lower level classes. CLEP tests are exams that test a person’s knowledge about topics like literature, history, languages, and math to name but a few. Thousands of colleges across the U.S. accept them. People who take the tests and pass get credit for classes they don’t take.

For veterans who learned a language while serving abroad or who used math a lot on their military jobs (for example), this is one way to avoid some student loans while still getting credit for what they’ve learned in the military. This step alone could save students thousands of dollars and hundreds of classroom hours. It’s a good option for those who know they want a degree, but don’t want the debt to go with it.

2. Look into GI Bill Programs

Many service members join the armed forces because of the college benefits they know they’ll receive once they finish their military duties. The GI Bill offers these former soldiers plenty of options.

Much of the time, returning vets receive not only tuition money for school, but also money for books and other expenses. As a result of this program and some savvy planning, many veterans graduate from college without student debt and go on to have exciting careers following their stint in the military.

3. Specialized Training

Getting training and education for a career doesn’t always mean that a person needs to attend college. Many companies offer their students training in Angular JS, Java, C++, mobile development, and other technologies. If you haven’t heard of these languages and are wondering, “What is Angular JS,” for example, check out providers like Plural Sight for more detailed information.

These skills allow veterans to apply for jobs in technology. While some tech jobs do require a degree, not all do. Further, this type of coursework usually gives its graduates some sort of portfolio item, which the course graduate can then use to demonstrate to an employer that he/she has the skills to do the job.

4. Train While in the Military

It has been said that every job that exists in civilian life has a counterpart in the military. Therefore, the military itself can be an excellent source of job training. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, a person’s training in the military can include apprenticeships and certifications for jobs like plumbing or firefighting.

Additionally, if the service members actually perform these jobs during their military career, they’ll have a number of years of experience on the job before they ever enter civilian life and the workforce.

5. Community Colleges

Community colleges count as a favored option for many people wanting to save money on college expenses. Most of the time, a person can earn an associate’s degree in their field of choice.

Some of these graduates then go on to the local state university to finish their bachelor’s degree. The cost is still less and often these students can afford to pay for the community college classes out of pocket.

Additionally, many community colleges offer technical training in fields like auto mechanics, horticulture, and computer programming. Once this training is done, the graduate is ready for the job market. For vets looking to avoid college debt, this can also be a way to go.

Many veterans aren’t too keen on going into debt to get trained for a career following their military service. It’s understandable: The average university graduate ends up owing more than $30,000 in student loan debt before his/her stint in college is through. Fortunately, a four-year college degree isn’t the only way to a career.

Many veterans find that their on-the-job training in the military, plus the certifications that come with it, is enough to get them a job after their service time ends. They also find that testing out of coursework or going to community college allows them to enter the workforce without much college debt. Finally, many of these veterans opt for technical training and gain skills in Java and C++ to name but a few. These options provide them with training without adding to their debt load.