Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) is another great education program available to you by joining the Army. COOL acts as a bridge between what you know from your training in your Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) and what you need to know to pass licensure or certification requirements, so you can work that same or similar job once you are out of the Army.
It is interesting to note that 84 percent of people with an Army MOS have civilian credentials directly applicable to their Army job. The point: When you enlist, you can select from a variety of roles that will train you while you're in the Army, and then transfer to a civilian skill without additional education.
How a MOS can translate to a civilian career
Credentialing is the certification or licensing requirement at the federal or State level needed in the civilian world to perform certain jobs. One career field that has several credentialing requirements is health care. For explanation purposes, let's assume you enlist in the Army to be a Health Care Specialist - MOS 68W.
In the civilian world, a 68W could hold one of the following positions:
Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic
Licensed Practical Nurse
For the purpose of this article, let's assume you want to be a paramedic.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a paramedic "receives training in anatomy and physiology as well as advanced medical skills. Most commonly, the training is conducted in community colleges and technical schools and may result in an associate's degree. These programs may take up to one to two years. Such education prepares the graduate to take the NREMT examination to become certified as a paramedic. Extensive related coursework and clinical and field experience is required."
By working as a 68W, you already have much of the needed training along with much of the clinical and fieldwork experience required. You just need to take courses in areas where you are lacking. These areas are identified by the COOL Program.
Gain credentials through a MOS: It's the definition of COOL
The credential required to be a paramedic is passing the testing requirements of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Specifically, the tests are the Cognitive and Psychomotor Examinations.
To pass the Cognitive test, you must show a level of competency by correctly answering 80 to 150 questions on the topics of Airway, Ventilation, Oxygenation, Trauma, Cardiology, Medical and EMS Operations. The Psychomotor exam consists of obtaining at least a passing grade in scenario-type questions asked in 12 different areas. The COOL program describes the gaps that may require additional education before being able to pass the tests.
To take the Cognitive test requires paying a $110.00 application fee, each time you sit for the exam. Of course, the GI Bill will reimburse you for the cost of the test, as long as you have unused educational benefits.
Since the implementation of GI Bill 2.0, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will now pay for the training needed to take the credentialing tests. Whether you take the courses you need through the Tuition Assistance or Tuition-Top-Up programs while still serving, or use your GI Bill after you are out, the training shouldn't cost you much, if anything. Join the Army today and get paid to learn the career you want tomorrow.