Green jobs take training and will be the strongest growing sector for many years to come. The good news is green jobs range from a variety of disciplines from job training courses to full four year degrees. Returning veterans can take advantage of the GI Bill to get funding for either training or a four year degree. Here's the info you will need.

Continuing Education Resources for Veterans

Active soldiers and veterans are important members of American society: soldiers because they fight to keep the American people safe, and veterans because, additionally, they bring their past experiences and wisdom back to society–which can help catalyze better decisions surrounding war and protection in the future. In 1944, when the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (the G.I. Bill) was created, it was meant to provide benefits to World War II veterans that could help them acclimate back into life outside of fighting. Since then, the bill has grown to focus very heavily on providing subsidies and scholarships for the education and career-based training of America’s veterans. However, the G.I. Bill system has been wrought by technological instability, as well as an overwhelming influx of returning veterans seeking its benefits, resulting in late reimbursement. If you are pursuing financial assistance for higher education as a veteran from the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, there are some important things you need to be aware of as you navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


What Kinds of Education Will the Post-9/11 GI Bill Pay For?

As you look for an educational program that best fits your interests and skills, it is very important to keep in mind that there are many academic programs the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not fund for you. The types of programs that the bill supports include:

  • Institutions of Higher Learning – If you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree from a private or public college, or a graduate degree, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will fund up to a specific amount depending on your institutional choice. The maximum reimbursement for in-state students attending public universities is full tuition and associated fees (likes books and room and board). If you pursue education at a private or foreign university, the VA will fund up to $18,077.50 per academic year (as of 2011). This maximum for private universities fluctuates if you are in certain states, like Arizona, New York, or Texas. The money is paid directly to the university you attend; your stipend for books and other living expenses is sent directly to you.

  • Non-College Degree Programs – If you are interested in vocational training that does not require university attendance, such as becoming a barber, EMT, or acquiring HVAC certification, the VA will provide funding. The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay up to $18,077.50 during the academic year. You may also be eligible for housing allowances, book stipends, and a “rural benefit” for those who live far away from a training institution.

  • On-The-Job and Apprenticeship Training – If you are interesting in learning a trade hands-on by shadowing a professional and training while you work, the VA will fund some of your expenses. Example training areas include firefighting, hotel administration, and plumbing. The VA provides a comprehensive list of employers, by state, that participate in this program.

  • Flight Training – If you are interested in becoming a flight engineer, or receiving things like rotary wing or B747-400 qualification, the Post-9/11 GI Bill may help pay for your education depending on which type of flight training you are enrolled in. If you are taking flight training at an institution of higher learning, you are eligible to receive up to $18,077.50 if it is a private institution, or the full cost of tuition if it is a public school in your state of residence. If you are enrolled in vocational flight training, you will be reimbursed for whichever costs less: the cost of full training, or the current yearly limit of $10,333 beginning the day you start training. The VA does not pay for your books or housing if you are enrolled in a vocational program. You can find out if your institution of choice participates in this program here.

  • Independent, Distance Learning, and Internet-based Training – If you are interested in taking online courses or engaging in other independent learning, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will compensate you for the cost of those classes. Since these classes are traditionally offered by institutions of higher learning, the VA will fund you at similar rates that it would if you took on-campus classes. However, you will not receive a housing allowance unless you are enrolled in at least one classroom-based, on-campus course with your institution of choice.

  • Correspondence Training – If you are interested in taking learning modules that are completed through paper-based mail, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will fund whichever costs less: the cost of in-state tuition and fees, or $8,500.

  • National Standardized Testing Programs – If you are interested in taking national exams for academic admissions purposes, such as the SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, AC, or MCAT (for a complete list, go here), the VA will reimburse you for registration fees, fees for the test itself, and any administrative fees. It will not reimburse you for things like pre-tests or other outside training not directly needed to actually take the exam.

  • Licensing and Certification – If you are interested in taking examinations that will allow you to acquire professional certification, the VA will provide certification for the tests (but only the tests, not for anything else).

  • Entrepreneurship Training – If you are interested in starting your own business, the VA will pay for programs that are affiliated with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

  • Work-Study Programs – If you are interested in working and earning a wage while you study, you can apply for a work-study program funded partially by the VA. The VA will work with a participating employer (which can sometimes be an academic institution) to reimburse you in the form of a paycheck, based on the hours you work. You cannot work more than 25 times the number of total weeks you are enrolled in an educational program. The VA provides examples of acceptable work on its website.

For more information and contacting your state Veterans Office visit the Continuing Education Resources for Veterans page on the Accredited Online Colleges website.