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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 23, 2021

Sharpen in-demand workforce skills through the Voluntary Credentialing Program   

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard mission readiness depends on its most valuable resource – people – having the required training to execute their jobs. The Education and Training Quota Management Command (ETQC)’s mission is to ensure that the Coast Guard workforce remains highly skilled through access to training and continuous education. In January 2020, the ETQC launched the Voluntary Credentialing program (VCP) which provides credentialing assistance (CA) funds for Coast Guard members to pursue approved certification and licenses. 

FORCECOM’s credentialing assistance will reimburse eligible enlisted personnel (active duty and selected reserve) for credentialing expenses, including certification and licensing exam and renewal fees, membership fees, and application fees.  

Cristy P. Minshew, team lead for the Voluntary Credentialing program, says "members who earn these credentials will have an advantage for promotion opportunities and benefit when they transition out of service when applying for private and public sector jobs."    

Typically, these certifications are geared towards credentials used by information services technicians. However, the Coast Guard’s recent focus on cyber security and Coast Guard Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (CG COOL) has opened doors for members with different ratings to pursue advanced certifications.  

The CG COOL website identifies occupation-related credentials, highlights potential knowledge gaps between military training and civilian credentialing requirements, and provides guidance to assist in filling those gaps. The site also outlines the process for requesting CA. It is a one-stop shop!  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew J. Cash, an electronics technician assigned to Training Center Petaluma has successfully completed and was reimbursed for two certifications using the Coast Guard’s CA program (CompTIA Network+ ce and CompTIA Security+ ce). These are popular Microsoft certifications and elevates IT networking professionals for advancement in the industry.  

Cash received industry knowledge ranging from network administration, implementation, and troubleshooting to securing networks and disaster preparation and recovery.  

“By studying for these certifications, I knew I was making my career competitive because I wanted to improve my knowledge in the world of Cyber Security and networking,” emphasized Cash. “You could become a leading expert in an area of your choosing by investing in your future to the next level through these certifications and add them to your transcript.”  

Cash encourages members to take advantage of the opportunities to cross train and obtain certifications to develop their career. Not only will this keep your credentials current, but it demonstrates to shipmates that you are passionate about what you do and seek out continued learning to remain competitive, improve your skills and develop expertise. 

The ETQC’s Voluntary Credentialing team is standing by to assist you with the process every step of the way. 

If certification is something you're thinking about, visit the CG COOL website to search for approved credentials and learn more about leveraging your Coast Guard knowledge and experience to earn certifications and licenses.  

Tips on the application process: 

  • The Education and Training Quota Management Command (ETQC) must authorize a member’s application prior to paying for any credentialing fees.  
  • ETQC recommends submitting CA applications at the MyCG Ed website, at least 30 days before the exam/fee due date.  


  • Promulgation of the Coast Guard Voluntary Credentialing Program (VCP) Policy, COMDTINST 1540.10 ACN 008/20 
  • Email ETQC 
  • Visit the CG COOL website