9/4/2007 - LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. -- Airmen are now sent on longer and more frequent deployments, and the stress these tours put on them and their families is often considerable.
For many men and women serving repeated tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, there are also stresses concerning their eventual civilian job prospects when they separate from the service.
Air Force Chief Master Segt. Errol Sanders was most recently the Security Forces Manager with 379th Security Forces Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Facing retirement, he began to considering his civilian job prospects.
While on two overseas deployments--Iceland and Qatar-- Chief Master Sgt. Sanders took an online real estate appraisal course from Allied Schools. "He chose the course because "Money magazine said that appraisal was one of the fastest growing career fields in the nation."
Two important resources work hand-in-hand to help Airmen like Chief Master Sgt. Sanders pursue civilian career training while they continue to serve their country. The first resource, made possible by the Internet, is distance (online) education. This means that active-duty Airmen can take a 100-percent online civilian education course in something like real estate appraisal or home inspection, even while they're serving at home or abroad. All that is required is a computer and an Internet connection.
And how are Airmen supposed to find money for civilian job training? The good news is that they don't have to, because Federal Tuition Assistance will 100 percent of an Airmen's tuition and fees for distance education. Personnel are advised, however, to apply as early in the fiscal year as they can; applications for FTA are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis and funds may run out.
Sadly, despite federal efforts to promote FTA benefits, many Airmen are either not aware of this benefit, or they choose not to enroll. To take advantage of FTA, they should contact an accredited online school, enroll in a course, fill out their Air Force Tuition Assistance form and then authorize it through their servicing education center or by their school's representative.
Airmen benefit from 100-percent online courses because there is usually no set time schedule for finishing a course. And this is an extremely important consideration, because the operational tempo of many units is at a fever pitch these days. With online education, the completion of readings, assignments and tests are entirely up to the student. Many online schools also feature live student support so Airmen can email or call education support representatives.
This article was contributed by Allied Schools, which is a Distance Education & Training Council accredited school offering 100-percent online courses in real estate, the medical field and business. For more information about distance education, check out www.education4military.com or call (888) 501-5221 to speak with a Military Admissions Representative.
*Editor's note: On base, the University of Alaska (377-1396), Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (377-2977) and Wayland Baptist University (377-4398) offer a variety of under graduate and graduate courses locally and online. For a list of college courses on base, call or visit the education center, 377-5106.