Getting a College Degree
Advice for Sr. Enlisted, CWOs and LDOs without a Degree
By Max Wix, MEA
The reason I say all of the following is that I was reminded again recently, by another retired Marine, of how valuable your experience is, but will automatically get passed up by some high paying employers because you do not have a college degree. He is a good friend and retired Marine Mustang Officer, who would really like to employ you with one of the biggest firms in the world, but his company's policies and government contracts prevent him from hiring you.
He wrote: "As a point to pass at the transition classes/luncheons, many firms need applicants with college degrees. This individual has great experience, but no degree. It makes him less desirable to firms such as mine. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but we need to get the word out, especially to senior Marines, that education is important, not just experience."
For you personally, think about it: it’s still not too late to get some college credits identified and established with a college or university and include this on your resume. Call them if you want some more guidance. Examples of these include National University, Park College, Averett, Strayer, etc., that are fast tracks to earning your degree. You need the fastest way to get the piece of paper.
If you have not done so, you need to visit Base Education now, even if you have gone on terminal leave or have already transitioned. Use the folks at Base Education to assist you in compiling your college credits. These come in the form of Military Schools that you have attended, formal school Correspondence Courses, including MCI, you may have taken, job experience and certifications for a particular field, and whatever college level courses you may have completed, civilian technical schools and forums you may have attended. You can take the College Level Entrance Program Test and gain up to one full year in addition to the credits that you have already earned as mentioned above.
I am personally a product of that. Did all of the above and received enough credits so that I only had to go to 8 courses to get an Associate’s degree and 15 more months to get a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. This is probably the best road for anyone trying to fast track, as you can work in any environment, and not get bogged down into a special area (unless you want to) such as IT, Nursing, Accounting, etc.
Bottom line: Without doing the above you are a 40-something year old high school graduate entering the work force, and will be seen that way regardless of your experience(s).
So, by taking the steps outlined above, and signing up with a university (not community college which can take a lifetime to finish) and establishing a graduation date, you’ve defined a goal post for you to reach.
Why do this? - you ask. The answer for you and your family is money.
Being a high school graduate, you are in competition with your son or daughter for a $30K job. With a degree, you can earn $60-80K easily. Being enrolled at a college and including that on your resume can put you somewhere in the middle, say $45-50K.
Hope this puts this into perspective properly for you. I know you have devoted your life to the US Marine Corps and the American People. Your family and you have sacrificed a lot and now you need to devote your energies to yourself and your family!
Include your enrollment in college in you resume and send it to me to pass around again BCC to approximately 1,000 people (200+ potential employers and 800+ Marines and other current or prior service men and women).
Respectful Regards and Semper Fi'd I remain,