Information for Credentialing Organizations
If you are a representative of a credentialing organization interested in learning more about how credentialing applies to military and civilian personnel in the Department of Defense and the role you can play to facilitate their credentialing, look here for more information.
About Military Credentialing
What does the military mean when it refers to “credentialing?”
The military uses “credentialing” to refer to civilian occupational licensing, certification, and apprenticeship.
Why should I care about credentialing of Service members and Veterans?
- Ninety-nine percent of military occupations have at least one related civilian credential
- For some military occupations, credentialing is mandatory – that is, Service members are required to attain a civilian credential (e.g., cyber security and healthcare)
- All of the military Services promote professional development through voluntary credentialing
- All military Services pay for voluntary credentials related to the Service member’s military occupation
What types of credentials apply to military occupations?
- The military is a microcosm of the civilian workforce and has a wide variety of occupations with related civilian credentials.
- To get a sense of the variety of credentials that have been linked to military occupations, use COOL’s Credential Search feature.
How closely aligned is military training and experience to civilian credentials?
Three scenarios describe the extent to which military training and experience is aligned with civilian credential requirements.
How can Service members or Veterans fill gaps between military training and civilian credentialing topics?
What credentialing expenses does the military pay for Service members?
Each Service has separate policies regarding what it pays for:
|Types of Costs||Army||Navy||Air Force||Marine Corps||Coast Guard||DoD Civilian||Other Resources|
|College courses/academic certificate programs/degrees||Tuition Assistance||Tuition Assistance||Tuition Assistance||GI Bill|
|Study Materials||Credentialing Assistance||COOL (Up to $500 per credentialing goal)|
|Non-college Preparatory Programs||Credentialing Assistance||Tuition Assistance Clock-Hour Training||Tuition Assistance Clock-Hour Training||GI Bill Non-College Degree Program|
|Initial Credential Attainment|
|Membership Fees||Credentialing Assistance||COOL||COOL||Credentialing Assistance|
|Application Fees||Credentialing Assistance||COOL||COOL||COOL||Credentialing Assistance|
|Exam Fees||Credentialing Assistance||COOL||COOL||COOL||Credentialing Assistance||GI Bill|
|Credential Maintenance and Renewal|
|CEU Activities||Tuition Assistance**||Tuition Assistance**||GI Bill|
|Annual Maintenance Fees||COOL||COOL||COOL|
|Recertification Fees||Credentialing Assistance||COOL||COOL||COOL||Credentialing Assistance|
|Exam Fees||Credentialing Assistance||COOL||COOL||COOL||Credentialing Assistance||GI Bill|
**Note: Continuing Education Unit (CEU) activities may be earned via related college courses/degrees or clock-hour training, if your education goal is related to the certification. Tuition assistance CEU activities outside of academic/clock-hour sources may be at your personal expense.
Where can I get more information on funding for Service members?
Each Service funds civilian credentialing, but details of each program may differ. See the individual COOL website to review the specifics for a particular Service.
About Credentials for Civilian Personnel
How do credentials apply to civilian personnel working for the Department of Defense?
Federal civilian employees have their own COOL: DoD Civilian COOL. Civilian personnel are encouraged to look for professional growth opportunities just as Service members are. DoD Civilian COOL provides information on credentials related to specific federal occupational series. It is important to note that the analysis of related credentials is performed based on the broad occupational series and that individual civilian employees likely have unique duties that could relate to other credentials not listed.
Does COOL pay for credentials for DoD civilian personnel?
In almost all cases, the answer is no. Currently the only exception is that the Navy's Credentials Program Office administers a voucher program that may pay for eligible credentialing exams, recertification fees, and maintenance fees for DON Civilians in the Cyber IT/CSWF.
The Navy's Credentials Program Office does NOT fund for training, study materials, or exam preparation materials for DON Civilians in the Cyber IT/CSWF. The Navy's Credentials Program Office cannot reimburse credentialing exam fees for DON Civilian personnel. For more information, see the Cyber IT/CSWF page on DoD Civlian COOL.
Credentials Included on COOL
How are credentials considered to be included on COOL?
- Credentials included on COOL are analyzed carefully and must be relevant to a military or civilian occupation and meet COOL standards.
- Credentials already on COOL are reviewed on an ongoing basis to determine whether they remain relevant and continue to meet the COOL standards.
Find out if your organization’s credentials are already on COOL
Use COOL’s Research Related Credentials feature to determine whether your organization’s credentials are already on COOL. Search for your credential or agency name, and then view the results in the table.
Facilitating Credentialing of Service Members and Veterans
Get your organization’s credentials approved for payment through the GI Bill
- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through the GI Bill, provides eligible Service members and veterans financial assistance with licensing and certification.
- If your organization wants to be approved so that Service members and veterans may receive reimbursement through the GI Bill for exam fees, you need to seek approval from the State Approving Agency for the state where the headquarters of your organization is located.
- Use the links below for more information:
Best practices to facilitate credentialing of Service members
Credentialing agencies can do their part to help our Service members and Veterans attain civilian credentials. Some of the key practices credentialing agencies might adopt include:
- Ensure Quality/Value. Service members and Veterans, like the general public, have a right to know that the credentials they pursue are of high quality and hold value to industry. Credentialing agencies can help Service members and Veterans identify these types of credentials by having their credentials accredited by a third party, nationally recognized, accrediting organization. COOL identifies those credentials that have been accredited by one of the following organizations. Follow the links to find out more about each agency’s accreditation process.
- Facilitate Payment of Credentials. The GI Bill will pay for credential exam fees up to $2,000 per test. Credentialing agencies should work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get their credentials approved for payment through the GI Bill.
- Provide Maximum Credit for Military Training and Experience. Credentialing agencies should take steps to assess the equivalency of military training and experience and should explicitly recognize military training in credentialing requirements, when possible.
- Utilize Existing Assessments of Military Training and Experience. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have matched military occupations to civilian credentials and, for some credentials, conducted detailed gap analyses of these credentials. In addition, the American Council on Education (ACE) makes college credit recommendations for military training and experience. Some websites that might be helpful include:
- US Army Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- US Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- US Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- US Marine Corps’ Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- US Coast Guard Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- DoD Civlian Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL)
- American Council on Education (ACE) Military Guide
- Use Available Service Documentation to Assess Individual Service Members’ and Veterans’ Unique Qualifications. Credentialing agencies can use standard forms of Service documentation to assess an individual’s military training and experience. More information on Service transcripts and other forms of documentation can be found on the US Department of Labor’s Career One Stop website.
- Accommodate Military Services' Unique Needs. Credentialing agencies can make accommodations for such things as deployments and the geographical dispersion of Service members:
- Make accommodations for deployments – Service members who are deployed may have difficulty meeting recertification requirements (e.g., continuing education units) or the period for which their credential is valid may expire while they are deployed. Credentialing agencies can extend recertification requirements for deployed Service members.
- Ensure exams are widely available – Service members are often geographically dispersed and may not be able to take exams that are offered only periodically throughout the year. Credentialing agencies can consider using national testing companies to make their credentials widely available and can offer credential exams on demand.