Who Needs College? Vets Using New GI Bill Program to Get Good-Paying Jobs

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An airman inputs computer codes.
A 20th Fighter Wing airman inputs codes to implement computer updates at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 22, 2018. (Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman/U.S. Air Force photo)

Jim Absher is a benefits columnist for Military.com.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has released numbers on the effectiveness of its new GI Bill program, and they look pretty impressive. But you might want to sign up for it quickly before it runs out of money.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the VA Education Service provided numbers about the effectiveness of the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses, or VET TEC, program, which is designed to train veterans in computer coding, security and networking jobs.

According to the VA, more than 1,200 of the approximately 2,000 veterans who have participated in the program since it began found employment in their fields within 67 days of graduation, with an average starting salary of more than $57,000.

Currently, however, the successful and popular program is only temporary. The pilot program is scheduled to last until Sept. 30, 2023. 

Congress limited the VET TEC program to $45 million in annual funding. The VA will accept applications until the funding runs out, which happened within one month in fiscal 2021 and in seven months after it was introduced in fiscal 2020. The VA began accepting applications for fiscal year 2022 on Oct. 1.

To be eligible for the program, you must be a veteran and have been out of the military for at least six months. You also must have at least one day of GI Bill benefit eligibility remaining. You will not be charged any GI Bill entitlement for using the VET TEC program. 

You can enroll in the program only as long as funding remains.

You can see a listing of schools that participate in the VET TEC program on the VA's GI Bill website. Schools listed as "preferred providers'' will refund tuition payments to the VA if you don't get meaningful employment within six months of graduation.

The VET TEC program also offers employment assistance, including a special employer consortium and a resume-building and review service through Hiring Our Heroes.

Check out the VET TEC website for more information.

-- Jim Absher can be reached at Jim.Absher@monster.com.

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