5 Key Points about Army COOL: Certificates for Every Soldier
Are you seeking opportunities to enhance your career or acquire new skills to facilitate a smooth transition to civilian life? Or are you on the search for more promotion points to make that E-5 slot? If you are after any certificate or class, the Army COOL program is here to assist you. In this article, we will delve into the Army COOL program and guide you on how to make the most of what it offers.
What is the Army COOL Program?
The Army’s Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL), also known as Credentialing Assistance (CA), is a fantastic program designed to help soldiers find information on certifications and licenses and most importantly pay for them. The program can pay for courses and exams in dozens of appealing industries. Whether you’re looking to enhance your skills in your current MOS or pursue a new occupation after your military service, Army COOL is here to support you. You can request CA funding for any credential listed on the Army COOL website (https://cool.osd.mil/army/index.html).
Why Are Credentials Important?
Obtaining civilian credentials is crucial for two main reasons:
- Career Advancement: Civilian credentialing contributes to your military career development and may be accepted for self-development requirements and performance evaluations. By acquiring relevant certifications and licenses, you can demonstrate your commitment to your profession and your determination to excel, both in your current job and your future promotions.
- Smoother Transitions: When you transition back to civilian employment, credentials help you translate your military training and experience into something that civilian employers can easily recognize. This recognition can help you get hired, land a better job, or be promoted sooner! As you prepare to leave military service, having the appropriate civilian credentials will make your resume stand out and showcase your skills and expertise in a language that civilian employers understand.
How Does Army COOL Help?
Army COOL helps soldiers find information on certifications and licenses related to their jobs and provides funding to pay for credential exams and maintenance fees. By offering financial support Army COOL is able to assist soldier who otherwise do not qualify for tuition assistance or the GI bill.
A soldier may use both tuition assistance and CA; however, you can’t get more than $4,000 total from both programs per fiscal year. This funding cap ensures that the program remains available to the maximum amount of soldiers.
Who is Eligible for Army COOL?
Eligible soldiers include those who are Regular Army, Active Guard/Reserve (AGR), U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), and Army National Guard (ARNG) in an active drilling status with a designation as satisfactory. This means as long as you are enlisted in the army in any capacity and not flagged you are eligible for this program.
All ranks are eligible for the program. However, Officers can only use CA if they agree a military service obligation, in accordance with current TA requirements. The CA military service obligation commences on the ending date of each class for which CA was approved. Officers using CA for testing or recertification of a credential are not subject to the service obligation though. Testing or recertification funding cap for officers in their last year of service is $2,000. This policy helps retention of officers, but if you are enlisted there is no service obligation.
How to Take Advantage of the Army COOL Program
To get started, visit the Army COOL website (https://cool.osd.mil/army/index.html) and explore the available credentials and licenses related to your job and your interests. Once you’ve identified a credential that interests you, follow the step-by-step instructions to request CA funding. It’s essential to plan ahead and make the most of the available resources, so consider discussing your goals with a career counselor or your retention NCO who can guide you through the process.
In addition to the Army COOL website, you may also find it helpful to network with other soldiers who have pursued civilian credentials or check out the websites of the schools or testing centers for mention of the Army COOL program. The experiences and insights they offer can provide valuable guidance as you navigate the program and select the right certifications and licenses.
As you work towards earning your credentials, be sure to keep track of your progress and accomplishments. Keeping your personal accomplishments organized makes it easier to update your resume and prepare for job interviews as you transition to civilian life.
The Army COOL program is an invaluable resource soldiers looking for civilian certificates and licenses. It is available to all Army service members, but officers might have a service obligation. You get up to $4,000 dollars annually towards this program, but this overlaps with any tuition assistance you use as well. To use this program, head to the Army COOL website or ask your retention NCO to guide you through the process.
So, don’t wait! Visit the Army COOL website today and take the first step towards a brighter future. Remember, your dedication to personal and professional growth benefits not only yourself but also your fellow soldiers and the entire Army community. Together, we can achieve great things and make a positive impact on the world around us.