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You don’t have to put college on hold while you pursue a career in the Navy. In fact, much of your on-the-job training and experience can translate directly to college credit. It’s like getting paid to work toward your degree even while you serve your country.
As for the extra college classes, there are many you can take on base – or even online while underway on a ship or submarine. These are courses that the Navy could cover through its large variety of educational assistance programs.
Many jobs in the Navy don't require a college degree to start. But regardless, education is an important part of service in one way or another. Therefore, there are several programs that encourage your career development through on-the-job training or by way of more formalized schooling.
Considering working toward a college degree while you serve? Here are two ways to do just that:
Navy College Program (NCP) – This program makes it possible to receive academic credit for the training you receive and for the work you perform while serving on Active Duty. This could include coursework completed remotely when you’re deployed or even classes taught by instructors who are brought aboard ships while underway.
Tuition Assistance (TA) – This program pays up to 100% of the cost of courses taken at accredited institutions on your own time, while in an off-duty status.
These programs are available to both Enlisted Sailors and Officers but are typically geared toward Enlisted servicemembers (those without a college degree).
There are many components to these programs; visit the Navy College Program site for details.*
For Navy servicemembers, veterans and their dependents, paying for a college education is easier than ever.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 100% tuition and fee coverage, up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies, and a potential monthly living allowance. You may potentially transfer this valuable benefit to a dependent, and you may use it for up to 15 years after completing your service commitment.
To be eligible, you need qualifying service on or after September 11, 2001 – at least 90 days of Active Duty military service since this date (90 days of aggregate service for Reservists.)*
The Montgomery GI Bill — Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program may be available to members of the Selected Reserve. It provides up to 36 months of educational benefits that may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses.*
The Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) is available to Reservists who complete a minimum of 90 days of Active Duty service in response to a war or national emergency (in support of a contingency operation) after 9/11.*
Seeking assistance to manage the debt associated with student loans? The Loan Repayment Program can provide you with up to $65,000 to use toward paying off qualifying loans. To be eligible, your loan cannot be in default and you must be serving in your first enlistment. This program is available to Enlisted servicemembers (those without a college degree) serving in eligible Navy ratings/programs.*
Comprised of more than 1,200 colleges and universities nationwide, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Program allows you to pursue college and university independent study courses. The DANTES Program allows servicemembers to transfer credits from school to school and receive college credits for military training and experience.*
Sailors have the opportunity to take free College Level Examination Program tests. Along with credit from service schools and work experience, these nationally recognized tests can provide a convenient way for members to earn college credit toward an associate degree.*
*For additional information on any of these prorgrams, contact a Navy Recruiter for details.
The Navy also offers generous financial assistance programs for students currently in college – with options for those studying just about anything. These are programs that can help pay your way through school, that allow you to continue enjoying a normal college life and that enable you to focus on your studies before launching your career in the Navy.
If you are interested in a collegiate scholarship program that not only pays for school but also generates some of the country’s most capable leaders, start by looking into the NROTC Scholarship program. It offers up to $180,000 to cover the cost of earning your degree at any one of more than 160 leading colleges and universities, providing money for tuition, lab fees, textbooks – even a monthly spending allowance – for up to five years of college. And it’s possible to apply while in high school or as a college student.
NROTC students gain valuable skills while learning leadership experience from a Navy perspective. This includes taking a Naval Science course each semester, participating in drills at least once a week and wearing your Navy uniform once a week. You'll also have the opportunity to participate in community service projects. These activities will help prepare you for your career as a Navy Officer.
Another highlight of the NROTC program is Summer Cruise Training, where you can spend a portion of your summers alongside Navy Officers in the field, in a variety of capacities, including:
Nuclear Power – assigned to a nuclear submarine or nuclear surface vessels
Afloat Aviation – assigned to train aboard a carrier, including flight time if feasible
Ashore Aviation – assigned to train with a Navy aviation squadron, including flight time if feasible
Foreign Exchange – assigned to train with navies of other countries
Your Summer Cruise Training will not only give you on-the-job experience as a Navy Officer, but it will also help you choose which area of emphasis you wish to pursue.
If you are interested in pursuing important civil engineering projects around the world right out of school, look into the Civil Engineer Collegiate Program. It offers up to $139,000 while finishing your degree, providing a regular monthly income ranging from $2,900 to $5,800 for up to two years prior to your graduation. That includes a generous military salary, a food allowance, plus a housing allowance that is based upon the location of the school you attend. The national average is $3,900 per month. You’ll also enjoy comprehensive military health-care benefits – with no uniforms, no drilling requirements and no service obligation until you graduate.
From there, you’ll begin the process of being commissioned as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer and take on unrivaled professional responsibilities.
Learn more about Civil Engineering career opportunities in the Navy.
If you are interested in becoming a highly respected nurse in a global health-care network that promotes patient-focused care and humanitarian work, look into the NCP program. It offers up to $34,000 to help pay your way through nursing school. This includes an initial grant of $10,000 plus a monthly stipend of $1,000 for up to 24 months while earning your degree – with no uniforms, no drilling requirements and no service obligation until you graduate
From there, you’ll begin the process of being commissioned as a Navy Nurse Corps Officer and take on unrivaled professional responsibilities.
Learn more about Nursing career opportunities in the Navy.
If you are interested in being part of one of the top nuclear programs on earth, look into the NUPOC program. It offers up to $168,300 while finishing your degree, providing a regular monthly income ranging from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 30 months prior to your graduation. That includes a generous military salary, a food allowance, plus a housing allowance that is based upon the location of the school you attend. You’ll also enjoy comprehensive military health-care benefits – with no uniforms, no drilling requirements and no service obligation until you graduate.
From there, you’ll begin the process of being commissioned as a Navy Nuclear Officer and take on unrivaled training and professional responsibilities. Through this highly competitive program, there are opportunities in any of four career focus areas. Learn more about those areas, the specific qualification requirements and the specific offers related to each:
Enter the military or go to college? Too often, the first thought is that you must choose one or the other. But the reality is this: Education and service can go hand in hand in America’s Navy.