Qualify your military training with credentials
You learned a specialty in the service. Now a credential can validate your skills for the civilian world.
Every job has certain requirements that absolutely have to be met in order for a candidate to be considered. For example, nobody is going to hire a long-haul truck driver unless that person has a commercial driver’s license. You want to get hired? You’ll need training. And as a military professional, you’ve had some of the best training available.
But sometimes it’s a challenge to explain how your military qualifications can be leveraged in the civilian workforce. That’s where credentialing comes in.
What is credentialing?
Credentialing is basically a certification that tells an employer that you possess the skills that are required in order to perform a certain job. You can get credentialed online or in a classroom, or you may be granted credentials based on your MOS or NEC. Credentialing is a smart way to increase your chances of landing a civilian job without having to repeat coursework that’s equivalent to your military training. Sometimes you have to pay for credentialing (think licensing fees or exam fees), but there are resources that can cover some of the costs, such as the GI Bill.
Whether you’re an active-duty service member or a veteran, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the credentialing process.
The two primary types of credentials are:
- A license, issued by a political entity such as the local, state or federal government, which allows an individual to practice a specified occupation.
- A certificate, issued by private organizations that maintain skill-set standards, which documents an individual's capabilities.
Credentialing covers a broad range of enlisted jobs. For example, a license is needed to operate a commercial vehicle or to work in a nuclear power plant's control room. Computer technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco Systems offer vendor-specific IT certification.
Health care jobs, such as radiology tech and dental assistant, require certification, and nurses must meet state licensing requirements. Aircraft maintenance and repair occupations, like an aircraft body repairer or flight engineer, both require federal certification.
A typical credentialing scenario
You’ve spent four years on active duty and have been trained as a medical technician. To work as a medical technician after you leave the service will involve getting a license from the state in which you wish to work. To obtain a license, you must meet certain criteria, which differs from state to state. Depending on where you're located, you may have to take more courses. You may have to get a degree if you don't have one, and you may have to get a certificate from American Medical Technologists, the association that sets basic practice standards for medical technicians. That certificate may qualify you to take the test for the state license. Keep in mind that depending on when your military training took place, you may need to engage in some additional coursework to receive a credential.
Find help on the web
If it seems a bit confusing, don’t worry. Online resources can help. CareerOneStop can tell you about specific requirements needed for nearly every occupation under the sun. Simply enter the job title, and CareerOneStop will show you certifications available, organizations that issue the certifications, and the type (core, advanced, specialty, etc.).
In addition, check out the Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) Program to learn more about how to meet specific credentialing requirements; every service branch has its own link:
COOL can show you the credentials that would be useful to you, based on your service specialty, as well as show you the resources that can help you earn credentials.
Employers are looking for awesome, qualified candidates such as yourself. Credentials can make it easier for you to show them that you have the necessary skills to hit the ground running.
Present your credentials on your resume
Yes, it’s important to obtain the proper credentials to boost your job search, but you also need to know how to present your skills and experience on your resume—after all, that’s likely to be what an employer looks at first when considering you for a job. Could you use some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression. It’s a quick and easy way you can put your most professional foot forward as you march ahead in your career.