Most state governments offer military benefits in addition to those offered by the federal government. I live in Minnesota and recently learned I can use the MN GI Bill benefits in addition to my federal GI Bill. One feature of this is up to $3,000 a year in reimbursement for licenses, certificates, and admission tests (like the GRE). More details can be found here: https://mn.gov/mdva/resources/education/minnesotagibill/
I recently completed an online written exam to earn my Lean Six Sigma Black belt through www.IASSC.com. The black belt test is $395 and I opted to take the practice exam for an additional $89. After passing the exam and earning my black belt certificate I submitted the results for reimbursement through the MN GI Bill website and was pleasantly surprised to hear within 2 business days that both tests would be reimbursed. The submission process was a little bit tedious, requiring uploading a DD214 and a couple of other documents, but well worth the hour to earn back nearly $500.
I was also realized the yoga teacher training I completed earlier this year awarded me an RYT200 (registered yoga teacher 200 hour) certificate so I submitted that for reimbursement as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the $2500 tuition fee for the training would also be reimbursed. I managed to max out my benefit for the year already!
I had $3,000 deposited into my checking account within 2 weeks following submission. This was a surprisingly smooth and efficient process.
There are over 2,000 licenses and certificates listed on the website so chances are if you are pursuing a legitimate certificate that it will be reimbursable.
What a pleasant surprise to earn back money that I had already happily spent to invest in myself. I was happy to spend the time and money on the black belt certificate. An investment that will pay for itself many times over for the career and salary doors it opens up alone. While I have no intention of actually becoming a yoga teacher, the advancement in my yoga practice I learned by taking the teacher course should increase my quality of life. I consider it an investment in my future self’s ability to stay mobile and enjoy life for longer on top of the mental health benefits I receive from it today. So many benefits that made the rather large investment worthwhile. Now that I got it all for free it was a hands down, no brainer.
Don’t be afraid to spend time and money to invest in your future self, you will thank you.
Keep your eyes and ears open and aware to those military or other benefits that might just be sitting there unused.