Everyone’s heard about it, some are fighting for it and many don’t know all of its uses.
Along with the everlasting imprint of core values and military-instilled qualities, the GI Bill is another valuable asset you gained by signing your name on the dotted line.
More often than not, if a service member, veteran or spouse has plans to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, we imagine him or her applying to college, getting a degree after four years and ending up with a job.
So a degree isn’t your cup of tea? Maybe you want the thrill of fighting fires, or maybe you want to make your dream of owning your own business a reality. The GI Bill covers such programs to get you there.
If you have not yet read our article on the Montgomery GI Bill, you should!
Here are four different ways to use your GI Bill.
1. On-the-job training
If you’re eager to jump into the workforce, another way to use your GI Bill for on-the-job training to gain the necessary skills. This is usually achieved through a training contract with an employer or union, and is not available to active-duty service members or spouses using a transferred benefit. Most veterans receive a salary from the employer or union during the course of their training, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). And there’s often room for pay bumps as your skills increase. After the VA receives your certification of hours from the employer or union, the GI Bill payments are issued on a monthly basis. Apprenticeships and training that often have opportunities for veterans include firefighters, union plumbers and hotel management.
2. Certification or licensing
One of my favorite ways to use your GI Bill! What if you’re almost ready to enter the civilian workforce but a certification or licensing test stands in the way? The GI Bill will reimburse your test costs for jobs such as a mechanic, medical technician, therapist, computer network engineer and website developer. The VA will pay for an unlimited number of tests and will even pay for the same test if you fail it. Only test costs are covered, up to $2,000 per test. Other fees related to obtaining the certification or license are not covered. (Read: Use Your GI Bill for Certification and Training)
3. Flight training
If you’ve got a knack for heights and you’re looking to advance your pilot qualifications, there are flight training programs covered by the GI Bill. A few types of training include, but aren’t limited to, rotary wing, B747-400, dual engine and flight engineer, according to the VA. If you enroll in a flight training program at either a public or private institution of higher education, you can be reimbursed up to the full cost of the training or the national maximum (currently $21,084.89) per academic year, whichever is less. Plus, you may receive a monthly housing allowance with a books-and-supplies stipend. You must already have your private pilot license and a valid medical certification to start training. After the training is complete and the VA receives your enrollment information, the payments will be issued.
4. Entrepreneurship- A great way to use your GI Bill!
Have an idea for your own business venture? The GI Bill could be the first step to getting you there. The VA will pay for entrepreneurship training courses offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC has advisors who provide free business consulting and low-cost training services. Other programs include business plan development, manufacturing assistance and healthcare guidance. Individual courses must be approved by the VA. Development centers are funded in part through a partnership with the SBA, and are hosted by universities and state economic development agencies. Read more about other Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
Whether you’re looking to build up your skills or build up a business, you can use the education benefits you earned for a strong career.
Click here For additioanl Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits