By Staff Sgt. Sharilyn Wells/USACAPOC PAO
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Education is one benefit that is sometimes forgotten with the busy schedules of deployments, training and civilian careers that Army Soldiers, active and Reserve, juggle throughout their military careers. Too often, the education benefits get squeezed out of busy schedules.
A partnership between the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command and Fayetteville Technical Community College, makes taking advantage of those education opportunities a little easier while receiving a general studies education.
Through the program, FTCC will grant up to 48 credit hours to Special Forces, civil affairs and psychological operation Soldiers who have completed their military occupation specialty training and then will offer the remaining 17 general education credit hour classes needed for an associate's degree. Using tuition assistance or the GI Bill, Soldiers can now quickly and with little to no cost, complete a degree.
FTCC by far exceeds what the American Counsel of Education awards for MOS training and other military education. The FTCC classes are offered online or in a classroom setting, allowing Soldiers who are deployed or Soldiers who live outside of Fayetteville to carry on with their education.
The learning doesn't stop at an associate's degree. With the agreement between FTCC and Norwich University on Feb. 15, the program now allows Soldiers to transfer all of the FTCC credits to Norwich towards a bachelor's degree in strategic studies and defense analysis.
Both enlisted Soldiers and officers can participate in the program for higher education.
"(The program) isn't just for 37s or 38s, other specialties can use the program too - you just won't get the same amount of credits that PSYOP or CA gets," explained Richard Rice, the director for the FTCC Fort Bragg Center and a retired Army sergeant major at USACAPOC education brief.
"This is a package that is useable and one that will get you a degree quickly. Though, you're not going to be 'given' anything. These are condensed, eight-week courses that are fast paced and cover the same material that a regular, 16-week class covers. Every student will be held to a high academic standard," he said.
"This is a program that is special to me because I use to be enlisted and used my education benefits to earn all of my degrees, to include my master's in teaching. Now I'm putting my tuition assistance money towards a principal's degree," said Capt. Steven Barnard, 1st Training Brigade, USACAPOC. "But we have to start with a strong foundation, such as a general studies degree with FTCC."
To get started earning an associate's degree, or other degree through FTCC, contact Rice at the Soldier Development Center, located on Armistead Street at Fort Bragg, or call for more information at 678-1055.
"We want to make this as easy as possible for (Soldiers) to sign up for classes and earn a degree," said Rice. "So we sit you down, go over your previous education, any military education and we get you started."
Norwich University, located in Northfield, Vt., offers a distance-learning program that allows Soldiers to earn a bachelor's degree in strategic studies and defense analysis. This degree is built around sociology, anthropology, geography, cultural awareness, regional politics and international conflict. Offered to enlisted Soldiers, the degree is designed to be completed by the time Soldiers graduate from their Senior Leaders Course.
"We are excited about this educational partnership with Norwich University which will provide a seamless transition for our special operations forces Soldiers who wish to pursue a four-year degree after completing Fayetteville Tech. We're grateful for the sacrifices these Soldiers make to defend our nation, and it is rewarding for us to be able to give them something in return that will help them achieve their educational goals," said Dr. Larry Keen FTCC president.
The FTCC and Norwich programs are two of many programs the USACAPOC Volunteer Education Program is working to continue for the educational progress of Soldiers within the command. According to Barnard, the Volunteer Education Program, gives Soldiers valuable tools that will increase their effectiveness both in their Army lives and their civilian lives.
Other potential education partnerships in the works include programs from schools such as the American College, the Nation Defense University, Southern New Hampshire, Troy University, North Carolina State and many more.
In addition to civilian education programs, the Volunteer Education Program is working on military education options. One example currently underway is the approximately three month Security and Development in Complex Operations Course offered at the Naval Postgraduate School, located in Monterey, Calif. The three-phase master's level certificate program allows students to earn 12 transferable credit hours towards a master's degree. More importantly, USACAPOC is working to get the course certified as the warfighter's capstone course for field grade CA and PSYOP officers.
For more information, contact Lt. Col. Ken Booth, (713) 306 - 4713 or go to the USACAPOC website at www.usacapoc.army.mil.