Get Ready for Civilian Life: Start Your Degree Online

May 25th, 2016 by

LT Brittny Larsen, U.S. NavyMilitary life is filled with major responsibilities and full-time duties that take precedence over everything else, however, while on active-duty in the military, service members begin thinking about what their future will be like when their tour of duty is complete.

There are basically two choices facing those on active duty: to stay in the service or to prepare for a civilian career. While the choice is clear, it isn’t always a simple decision.

Online Degrees Work for a Future Within the Military or a Civilian Career

For those who wish to stay in the service, there is still good reason to advance their education. The further advanced one’s education, the easier it becomes to gain promotions and develop a desired career path within the armed forces.

Service men and women who choose to prepare for a civilian career while still serving can get a head start by taking online courses, making it easier to transition and settle into a new career when their tour of duty is over.

So while there are two paths you can choose, the benefits of working ahead on your education can clearly be beneficial for your future.

Thoughts from two Active-Duty Navy Lieutenants

I spoke with two active duty Navy lieutenants who are currently enrolled in online courses about why they made the decision to go ahead and get started on an advanced degree while continuing to serve in the Navy, and here is what they had to say:

LT Brittny Larsen is working toward a Master’s in Business Administration from University of North Carolina (UNC) – Chapel Hill. She says, “I’m currently serving an assignment at a duty station in Southern Maryland that’s in between deployment tours, and getting my graduate degree during this time was important to me. Unfortunately, I’m an hour and a half commute from DC and Baltimore where most of the evening resident programs that interested me are located. My unpredictable work schedule just couldn’t afford the extra travel time so I started looking online.  Online MBA programs really appealed to me due to the flexibility and time savings they afford while still providing a great education.  For my program at UNC, I still attend a synchronous class session twice a week with 15 other students from all over the country. My professors have been located all over the world and yet we’re all connected together for a few hours every week. It’s been a great learning platform and I am thankful that modern technology has provided me the opportunity to achieve my MBA from a great program, while living elsewhere where my job requires me to be.”

LT Jeffrey Matthews, also serving in the United States Navy, is working on a Master’s in Business Administration. He commented, “After several years in the Navy, I began to consider the option of joining the civilian workforce. It had been a few years since completing my undergraduate degree, so I felt that getting a masters would be a good start to my transition. An online degree afforded me the flexibility to attend grad school while still serving on active duty. I attend classes in the evenings with minimal impact to my work schedule. Additionally, my online program has given me networking opportunities in civilian sectors that I would not have had otherwise. The broad range of government aid available to active duty members wishing to seek an education made it an easy decision.”

While every circumstance differs, there are clearly ways to work toward your future career while on active duty in the armed forces.

Thoughts from a Former Online Instructor

My personal experience includes having taught online communications courses for one of the major online universities. I taught a few students who were serving in the military while studying online to advance their education. At times their schedules became very hectic and some of them were even deployed while they were in my class.

Knowing of their situation as class began made it possible for me to communicate with these students frequently to help them stay on track with their assignments and class workload. The key is to work things out ahead of time, not after the fact, with your instructors.

It’s also a good idea to find out before you enroll if there are any special benefits offered by the university you attend regarding your active-duty status. There are many online schools that enthusiastically support their military students and provide special provisions to help them succeed.

When you’re ready to begin looking for the right degree and the best accredited online colleges offering courses in today’s most popular areas of study, this directory of schools and programs is a great place to begin your search. Visit today.

***This is the third article in a series about the benefits of online education for active duty military and veterans. Read the previous article here.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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