Civilian employees can now get help paying for their professional certifications through the Coast Guard’s Credentialing Assistance (CA) Pilot Program.
You are eligible for up to $4,500 every fiscal year to pay for certifications, licenses and apprenticeships related to your current job series and the anticipated needs of the Coast Guard.
The CA funding can be used toward approved training courses, books, study guides, exam preparation materials, exams, maintenance fees, renewal fees, and membership dues (when applicable) which lead to a credential.
To explore your opportunities, go to the CG COOL website, and click on the “Explore Military and Civilian Occupations” tab. Select your federal job series to pull up the credentials approved for funding assistance.
The $4,500 for CA is in addition to the annual $4,500 for civilian Tuition Assistance (TA) – benefits that far outpace the other military services.
“Continuous learning and career development is incredibly important for the Coast Guard – so much so that we just provided our civilian workforce a $9,000 annual bonus through CA and TA,” said Steve Keck, chief for FORCECOM’s Career Investment Division. “Credentials help members stay at the top of their game, provide valuable skillsets that contribute to the Coast Guard mission, and help members with advancement and career development.”
If you’re unsure whether a credential is related to your job series, you should still submit a CA application, according to Steve Keck. “Apply, apply, apply!” he added.
While TA pays for courses leading to an academic degree or academic certificate, CA pays for credentials that typically take less time to obtain than a traditional degree. Many times, credentials such as Program Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) credentials hold more value to employers than degrees.
The first (and most important) step to the CA process is talking to your local full-time Education Services Officer (ESO). Your ESO can help you find and select credentials, verify eligibility, and guide you through the entire CA application process. You can find your ESO at the Full-Time ESO List. If you have trouble identifying your ESO, contact FORCECOM's Education, Training, and Quota Management Command (ETQC).