Internships Become a Possibility for Military Students

Are you currently in school and required to complete an internship? While fulfilling your military service and family commitments, completing an internship may appear to be a major barrier in the attainment of your degree. However, completing an internship may not be as impossible as it seems. The Department of Education's Financial Student Aid and the Department of State's Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) offices have worked together to create the virtual e-internship program. The program is designed to create opportunities for college students to complete internships, in the United States and abroad, with federal agencies without having to relocate. Previous internship opportunities included gaining experience in post-secondary education, in-depth research, reporting, programming and web design, teaching, contributing to social media campaigns, serving as analysts, and much more.

Internships are available for time commitments as minimal as ten hours per week from September through April. There are currently over 270 projects available. If you are interested in more information, watch the video below or visit the Virtual Student Foreign Service website.

Applications for the 2013-2014 VSFS e-Internship program will be accepted until July 22, 2013 on USAJobs.  Interested U.S. citizen undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate students are encouraged to apply to intern during the 2013 – 2014 academic year.  As part of the application package, students must submit an official or unofficial transcript, a statement of interest, and a resume.

DANTES: Partners in Veterans Education Journey

Are you a veteran looking to continue your education? If so, DANTES is a resource that can help you along your education journey. DANTES is the Department of Defense agency that provides quality education programs and services which enable military Service members and veterans to achieve their education goals for career success. The following are ways DANTES helps military veterans:

The Troops to Teachers (TTT) program has recently expanded to help veterans with the process of becoming a teacher with counseling, financial assistance, and a network of state offices to help navigate state-specific teacher licensing requirements. Due to new legislation, the eligibility criteria for referral and funding have expanded. Now registration for TTT is open to any veteran (whose last period of service was characterized as Honorable), regardless of time in service, who has an interest in instructional or non-instructional positions within public, Charter, Bureau funded, and DoDEA schools. This includes positions such as teachers, resource teachers, paraprofessionals, teacher's aids, counselors, psychologists, school nurses, librarians, media specialists, speech therapists, audiologists, physiotherapists, resource officers, school principals, or vice principals. To register for TTT please visit : .

Your Joint Service Transcript (JST), which is a transcript of your military training, education, and experience,  has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) for college credit recommendations. If you are currently pursuing an associate and/or bachelor's degree, your college may be able to apply these credits towards your degree requirements (reducing the amount of time and money needed to complete your degree). The JST may also be helpful when documenting your experience for the purposes of certification and licensure. Also, some employers use the JST in the employment verification process. To access your JST visit: and select REGISTER in the middle of the page for instant access.

The DANTES Examinations Staff is able to assist veterans who are having difficulties in locating their transcripts for GED, ACT, SAT, CLEP, and DSST exams they took while on active duty. Please visit: or contact for assistance.

The Distance Learning Readiness Assessment (DLSRA) is a tool for those who are considering online education. Developed to help prospective distance learners self-assess their readiness for distance learning, this short assessment will help you identify what you may need to be adequately prepared to take distance learning courses. You can access the assessment by visiting .

If you are not interested in attending a local college or university, the Distance Learning Catalogs can help you search for online regionally and nationally accredited institutions. To search these catalogs, visit: .

DANTES Pulse is a blog for service members and veterans that provides timely and relevant education information tailored for those who served. You will find information on scholarships, financial aid, alternative ways to earn college credit, how to leverage your education for transition and much more. You can read more at .

Follow us on Facebook ( ) and Twitter ( ) for instant news and updates to assist you in your education journey.






Taheesha Quarells is the Education Project Manager at DANTES. With over 10 years of experience, she is dedicated to expanding academic and career development opportunities for military members, veterans, and their family members.

Is a Master’s Degree Really Worth It?

Recently, an article by a research company mentioned that people should think twice about earning a master's degree. Their research concluded that only Master's degrees in fields like Business Administration, Economics, Marketing, and Engineering actually yielded a significant increase in pay. In addition, many news organizations have been reporting on the high amount of recent college graduates without employment prospects. While news like this may cause some to pause and re-think pursuing or completing graduate coursework, others charge whole-heartedly ahead with their graduate education based on research that says higher levels of education drastically increase lifetime earnings. So why the disparities in research? Who should you believe? Well, the short answer is both are true. With an uncertain economy, you can't rely on a degree alone to get you the next job or higher pay. However, you can't discount the fact that historically, advanced education does generally open the door to more earnings and lower unemployment rates over the lifetime of an individual. Several things should be considered before pursuing advanced education and may be important factors in varying research results.

1. Know the labor market. Although you should follow your passion, you must first follow employment trends and labor market information. While economic depressions and recessions may alter outcomes, in general, you should understand what employers will be looking for by the time you are ready to enter the job market. Are you getting the knowledge, skills, and certifications they are looking for through your degree? Is your field growing or shrinking? Can you cross your skill set into a different industry with the same degree? To begin to answer some of these questions, military members should consider taking the assessments in Kuder Journey. Kuder can help you hone in your interests, skills, and work values to ensure you know what you want to be a "master of". Next, you need to consider marrying that knowledge with labor market information. You may want to consider viewing Bright Outlook Occupations and then local labor market information from the American Job Centers in the geographic area you plan to seek employment.  American Job Centers (formerly called One-Stop Career Centers) can provide information on the local job market like hiring trends, salaries, massive layoffs, job search assistance, etc.)

2. Learn to LEVERAGE your education. You may also want to consider that education is just a small slice of career development. Spending several years in a classroom is no longer enough to become and stay competitive. While you are pursuing your education, are you gaining commensurate experience in your field with relevant experiences through employment, work study, internships, co-ops, rotational assignments, or volunteer opportunities? While some of these options may seem daunting to accomplish alongside your coursework and working to pay the bills, finding a creative, sustainable solution to ensure you gain and document relevant work experience will help employers know that you can apply the information you are learning to their bottom line. Service members and veterans can access their Joint Service Transcript (JST) for an in-depth overview of their qualifications and experience gained through military service. For veterans using their VA education benefits, consider contacting your local Veterans organizations for work study opportunities (for example, Student Veterans of America (SVA), on-campus VA office, VA Vocational Rehabilitation, VA Hospital or Clinic, County Veterans Service Officer, American job Center Veterans Employment office, etc).

3. Add to your degree. What goes with your degree? Is there a specific certification that employers are looking for with your degree? Is there additional training or professional affiliations that would make you more marketable in your profession? Answering these questions is a natural part of the due diligence that graduate students need to do before they leave school. Often your school may provide assistance with accessing professional organizations or obtaining industry-recognized certifications. Military members should also consider their Service-specific certification and licensure programs (see Military Certification and Apprenticeship Programs).

4. Choose your program and school wisely. When selecting your program and your school, what are the job placement rates? While recent legislation is causing more colleges and universities to take measures like affordability and employment prospects into account, some institutions are leading the way. Some programs have professors who have gone beyond being locked in a classroom or research lab, to ensuring they have forged partnerships within their industry and assist students with placement in intern and employment opportunities. Ask the program chair what is their job placement rate and with what employers have hired their graduates over the last 2-3 years.

5. Market and brand yourself. How are you marketing yourself? Have you created a career portfolio of your work and experience?  Do you have strong resumes tailored to each job opportunity? Have you engaged social media outlets and branded yourself professionally online? You know there is a strong chance they will Google you, so give employers something worthy to find that helps you stand out from the other graduates. Join professional associations and network, network, network. In a global economy, it is easy to get lost in the crowd, so be known for the one who is contributing to your professional community. To get started with some of these activities, military members can contact their local Transition Assistance and/or Employment Representative at the on-base/post family service center. If you are in the Guard, Reserve, or are a veteran without a local military facility, contact the Veterans Services department of your local American Job Center.

So the moral of this story....Even if you are attending an institution who can garner attention from employers by shear name recognition alone, you have to do more than go to class and pay tuition in order to make your advanced education be a personal benefit to your career. To get started with graduate programs that are right for you, contact your local Military Education Center. Also consider viewing how you can get reimbursed for taking the GMAT or GRE if you are in active duty, Reserve or Guard status (see GMAT and GRE for Military Members).

Supporting Military and Student Veterans

In response to recent legislative changes, colleges and universities across the country are working to create effective programs to serve their military and veteran student population. To lead the way among these efforts, the American Council on Education (ACE) will be hosting a special webinar series to help institutional leaders develop a strategy for supporting military and veteran students.

The series will feature webinars on the following topics:

  • Serving Those who Serve: An Overview of Military and Veterans in Higher Education
  • Fundraising for Military and Veteran Programs
  • Pathways and Partnerships
  • BONUS WEBINAR:  Demystifying Military Evaluations
  • To register visit ACE's website by clicking HERE.

Below are webinar descriptions and speaker information:

Serving Those who Serve: An Overview of Military and Veterans in Higher EducationJune 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDTThe enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the new GI Bill, was the most significant event for active-duty and veteran students since the passage of the original GI Bill, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Institutions have not faced such a significant influx of veteran students on campus since World War II. Military personnel and veterans are and have been a tremendous asset to higher education, but they have needs that are distinct from other students. This webinar will explore challenges faced as campuses continue to welcome these students, and provide examples of how some colleges and universities are successfully addressing military and veteran student needs.
Michael Dakduck – Executive Director, Student Veterans of America
Meg Mitcham – Director, Veterans' Programs, ACE (moderator)
Fundraising for Military and Veteran ProgramsJune 13, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDTThe higher education community is still learning about the educational and personal needs of this newest generation of veterans and their families, but there are a number of programs and services that campuses can provide to ease veterans’ transition and boost their chances of success. As institutions continue to assess their programs, and enhance and expand supports and services for military and veteran students, there can be increased needs for funding and other support. This webinar will discuss basic fundraising strategies and provide insight into building community partnerships to help colleges and universities develop successful support models.
Jim Selbe – Special Assistanct to the Chancellor, Kentucky Community College System
Meg Mitcham – Director, Veterans' Programs, ACE (moderator)
Pathways and PartnershipsJune 20, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDTACE’s credit recommendations for military training and occupations provide recognition for college-level credit and, in turn, motivate student veterans’ completion of postsecondary education. This webinar will explore the “view from campus,” with institutional perspectives on creating credential roadmaps that maximize the application of veterans’ training and occupational specialties. Institutions will share lessons they are learning as they engage campus constituencies, broaden options credit for prior learning policies and build roadmap partnerships.
Mary Beth Lakin, Director of College and University Partnerships, ACE (moderator)
Additional speakers TBA
BONUS WEBINAR : Demystifying Military EvaluationsJune 28, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDTACE’s Military Evaluations program has reviewed and made college credit recommendations for thousands of military courses since the early 1940s, and in 1974, began the evaluation of military occupational specialties. More than 2,200 higher education institutions recognize the ACE course credit recommendations for granting credit to their military students. This session will clarify the review process and quality measures used in determining credit recommendations and increase the awareness, use, and benefit of the new Joint Services Transcript (JST).
Michele Spires – Director, Military Programs, ACE (moderator)
Additional speakers TBA

Military Certification and Apprenticeship Programs

Military members can prepare for successful transition into the civilian workforce by earning certifications and apprenticeships. By gaining credentialing, service members:

  • Are better prepared to enter a diversely skilled civilian workforce
  • Document their commitment to continued professional development
  • Validate the professional knowledge and skills gained through military education and training
  • May be eligible for college credit for certain national professional credentials that satisfy applicable degree program requirements
  • May save tuition assistance and GI Bill funds toward degree program completion

The Military Evaluations Program provides for the evaluation of Service School courses; selected, enlisted, warrant officer and limited duty officer occupations; Navy enlisted classifications; Department of Defense courses; National Guard and Reserve courses; plus Coast Guard courses. Thousands of Service members can earn college credit for their military training and occupation through evaluations conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE). These recommended credits are stored on the Joint Services Transcript (JST) and can be applied to a college degree or a vocational certificate that can lead to career and educational advancement.

The following programs are available to assist military members in obtaining certification or apprenticeships that further document qualifications for civilian employment:

1. The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a formal military training program  that provides active duty Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are on active duty. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides the nationally recognized "Certificate of Completion" upon program completion. The program does NOT require off-duty hours and can grant up to one half of the required on-the-job training hours for military experience. You may also get credit for previous apprenticeships.

2. Army COOL and Navy COOL are programs that assist soldiers and sailors with finding tailored information on certifications and licenses related their military occupation, special designators, and collateral duties. These easy-to-navigate programs explain how soldiers and sailors can meet civilian certification and license requirements. The COOL programs also include additional resources for funding the certification and links to professional organizations that provide eligibility information.

3. The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) has the Credentialing and Education Research Tool (CERT ) which is designed to assist enlisted Air Force personnel in pursuing occupational-related credentials  to increase their Air Force occupational skills, broaden their professional development, and be better prepared for transition. Other Air Force credentialing programs include:

Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC)
Air Force Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification ProgramClick here
CCAF Instructor Certification (CIC) Program
CCAF Instructional Systems Development (ISD) Certification Program
Professional Manager Certification (PMC) Program
National Aerospace Technical Education Center (SpaceTEC)Click here
National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT)

Special $10 Discount for Personally Funded DSST Retakes

Did you know that 60% of students who retake a DSST exam pass the second time? Although DANTES does not fund retesting on a previously funded DSST exam title, service members may personally fund a retest of the same title.

DSST has created a special exam retake offer exclusively for military members.  Through June 30, military members are eligible for a $10 discount on the cost of an exam retake that they would otherwise have to cover on their own, just use promotion code DSSTPRO10.

To learn more about the offer or redeem the code, visit

Tips on Preparing for DSST Exams and Retakes

Be sure to take advantage of DSST exam prep materials whenever you are about to take an exam. If you did not pass the first time, be sure to use the 90-day retake waiting period to prepare.

To learn more about the offer or redeem the code DSSTPRO10,

Top Military CLEP and DSST Pass Rates

So you found out that taking CLEP and DSST exams are free while on active duty. Now what? Which exams should I take? Well, it depends. What degree program are you interested in, what credits do you need, and what is your school’s transfer policy concerning accepting alternative sources of credit? Since the answers to these questions vary widely, the first place to begin is your local education center, where a counselor can help you find the answers that are just right for you.

CLEP and DSST exams helps you earn college credit for knowledge you've acquired through your military experience, independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships. They save you time (time not spent taking a college class). They save you money (money not spent taking a class). It allows you to stretch your tuition assistance (TA), GI Bill, Federal Student Aid, and/or scholarship dollars while you achieve your education goals.

To help you get started, take a look at the exams with the highest military student pass rate for FY 12.

Rank Test Type Test Title Pass Rate
1 DSST Principles of Supervision 89%
2 CLEP Spanish Language 89%
3 CLEP Analyzing & Interpreting Literature 79%
4 CLEP College Composition Modular 76%
5 DSST Technical Writing 74%
6 DSST Introduction to Business 72%
7 DSST Introduction to Computing 71%
5 DSST Environment and Humanity 66%
9 DSST Introduction to Law Enforcement 65%
9 DSST Business Ethics and Society 65%
10 DSST Human Resource Management 64%
10 DSST Astronomy 64%
11 CLEP French Language 63%
11 CLEP Principles of Marketing 63%
11 CLEP Information Systems & Computer Applications 63%

To check out more pass rates, click here for CLEP and here for DSSTs.

Have you already taken a CLEP and DSST for college credit? If so, share your story by leaving a comment below.

Tuition Assistance, Can You Earn Your Degree Without It?

Tuition assistance (TA) is what some would refer to as an amenity or benefit for many people who are serving on active duty in the military.  Since all of the Services have reinstated their programs, TA currently offers military members $4,500 to cover tuition costs each fiscal year. There are many other alternatives for funding your education. Certainly, one option that comes to mind is completing a FAFSA to determine eligibility for Federal Student Aid.  Another option is to consider using your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits.  There are a number of scholarship programs out there that can help defray the cost of education for active military students.  However, with all of these options, the reality is that tuition assistance is still a big part of funding your education.  Some troops have transferred their G.I. Bill to their dependents (while on active duty) while others plan to leverage it for graduate school. At $4,500 per fiscal year, TA is a big help with covering tuition costs. However, the recent constraints on funding that led to the Services temporarily suspending TA programs, should serve as a warning and motivation to continue pursuing other funding options so you can continue pursuing your education goals.

Why continue pursuing your education, even if future TA funding may be uncertain? It is an investment in your military and civilian career. Obtaining a degree has been linked to improving enlisted personnel's chances for promotion.  Another important fact of interest is that higher degree levels have historically been linked to lower unemployment rates. So, getting your degree prior to leaving the Service may make you more marketable to potential employers.

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Lee Bateman is a retired U.S. Army veteran currently serving in the Management and Administrative Services Division at Dept. of Defense, DANTES. He has been involved with military education for over 20 years.

Funding Still Available for CLEP and DSST

Despite recent news about impacts to tuition assistance, CLEP and DSST exams for college credit are fully funded. DANTES up-front funding of CLEP and DSST exam fees for eligible military members continues to be an efficient means of earning college credit to apply towards your degree. Join the ranks of the thousands of military personnel who have experienced the convenience of CLEP and DSST exams and check out the exam list today. For more information on CLEP, visit and for DSST check out

Top “10” Ways to Weather the TA Storm

10.  As a last resort, check out interest free education loans

9.  Check out your VA education benefits for active duty (Chap 30) or (Chap 33) – if eligible

8.  Talk to Education Advisors for alternative financial aid (Military Ed Counselors and your college counselor)

7.  Fill out FAFSA, search for scholarships and grants

6.  Check out state or specific college funding grants/scholarships, specific military unit education funding available via scholarships/grants

5.  Talk to organizations that support military (e.g. American Legion) and see what is available to support your education

4.  Check out OASC – and take time to review and prepare for college courses (Capitalize on JST or CCAF and know what you have achieved already that leads to your college degree – i.e. military experience and training)

3.  Prepare and take CLEP or DSST examinations – know which ones will be accepted into your college program

2.  Stay on TRACK – find alternate “free” online courses, professional training to keep your mind engaged (i.e. Khan Academy, DLI)


1.  DON’T STOP – Even if military TA is NOT available for a while, look around, be pro-active and find other means to continue to pay for your college education.