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What are Some of the Best Programs of Study for Military Spouses?

When you move every few years due to the military lifestyle, it can be tough to stay in a career you love. Thankfully, there are careers that always need qualified, certified individuals, especially in the IT and healthcare fields.

The Department of Defense (DOD) set aside special funding for military spouses that allows them to obtain a credential in a high-growth, high-demand market. That’s why MyCAA was founded — to help military spouses find gainful employment in high-demand fields wherever they go.

MyCAA, also known as My Career Advancement Account, gives scholarship money to spouses who want to pursue new skills and a new career. A full MyCAA programs list is available through the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (MySECO) website. MyCAA covers the cost (up to $4,000) for licenses, certificates, certifications or Associate's Degrees (excluding Associate's Degrees in General Studies, Liberal Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies without a concentration) for high demand, portable careers.

With up to 4,000 in MYCAA grants, the question is which is the best career path for you. Here is a list of high-growth, high-demand jobs that can travel with you anywhere you PCS orders take your career.

Programs of Study

Dental Assistant

Everyone needs to get their teeth cleaned, right? Whether you find this job on base or in a civilian dental office, there’s plenty of opportunities for certified dental assistants to find work.

What dental assistants do:

Schooling is short, and dental assistant certification increases your chances of better pay and benefits.

Vet Assistant

No matter where your PCS orders take you, there’s no doubt there will be plenty of animal hospitals or clinics nearby. This field is expected to grow by 19% through 2026, which means qualified applicants will be needed.

What vet assistants do:

Many vet assistants learn on the job, but having a background and certification in vet assisting helps applicants land a job quicker.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

The healthcare field is one in constant need of qualified workers who are physically strong, compassionate, patient, and detail-oriented. CNAs can find work in hospitals, Hospice settings, and nursing homes — all of which are found in every military community.

What CNAs do:

Nursing assistants must have a certification in order to work with patients in healthcare settings. CNAs are also required to take a state-approved education course and pass an exam to become certified.

Massage Therapist

Massage therapy is the perfect field for those interested in health and wellness. Some of the settings massage therapists work in: hotels, spas, franchises, and sports clinics. Prefer to work alone? You can open your own practice and travel to clients.

What massage therapists do:

Massage therapy license regulations vary state by state. After getting your state credentials/license (some states don’t require any), it’s easy to set up fairly quickly in a new city. Massage therapy programs usually complete a minimum of 500 hours of coursework and hands-on work.

How do I Pick the Best Program for Me?

While it may seem overwhelming at first to have many options, if you take advantage of the MYCAA funding, you’ll have access to a career coach to help you make the right choice.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selecting a Program:

Getting connected with a career counselor will help you pick the right program based on your interests. The MySECO program offers free advising to help with this process when you use MyCAA.

Choose Your Program Based on Passion and Interest

The best programs are the ones you are interested in. If you’re going to put in the hard work to go to school, make sure it’s a field you know you’ll enjoy.

As you explore programs, be open minded yet practical. You can’t plan for every bump a career might have, but by being thoughtful in picking your program, you’ll likely have more career satisfaction and success.

Author

Rita Shelley

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