This blog was written by U.S. Army SF LTC Gregory Reck, a GSF SkillBridge Fellow in the process of retiring from Active Duty.  Read his first blog here.

So, the next thing that I learned, and that takes a while to get in order, is certifications. 

Now, if you are coming out of the military with some specialization like medicine or flying, you have your own certifications to deal with, but for the rest of us, we are looking at PMP, Lean 6 Sigma, Scrum, or IT certifications. Now, I know that people are going to say that you bring a lot to the table with leadership and soft skills, but so far, I have heard a lot more about what certifications do I have?

Prepping for Transition with Training & Certs
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Take Advantage of Free Opportunities

So, if you are two years out, start looking for all the free certifications that you can get from the military. I know that there are opportunities to get your Green Belt in Lean and I am sure that there are others. I retired and had a couple of certifications coming out of the military, but not the ones that I needed. Many of the civilian versions are expensive, but I have found a lot of options out there.

If you want to go for your PMP certification, start looking at Onward 2 Opportunity. You can apply and if you get in, you will have the opportunity to select some form of training. I chose the PMP prep. This is all online, but even if you did the same type of civilian training, it would be close to $1,000.

Prepping for Transition with Training & Certs

With O2O, it is free. 

Next, I got into a course that leads to the Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) certification through Disaster Relief Institute International. Make sure you go specifically to the veteran-focused website

Contact Alan Lake and see if you can get the scholarship for this 5 day course. Business continuity is a growth area and salaries are really good. If you have done any operational planning, you will recognize a lot of this course.

Prepping for Transition with Training & Certs

Another place to look is WithYouWithMe. You can get some great training there, but be prepared to take a lot of tests to get what career field you like best. I just started this, so more to follow. 
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Look for Companies and Organizations with Internal Programs

Also, check out a lot of the top end companies. They have a lot of free training. Microsoft has one and so does CISCO.

Prepping for Transition with Training & Certs

If you aren’t an IT person, FEMA offers tons of free courses. You have to go through a bunch of online courses before you can take a resident course, but they are free.

The Department of Energy has a bunch of programs for vets and Montana will train vets in wilderness firefighting. You can also get free training if you join Team Rubicon.

There is a lot out there if you look.

It can be overwhelming, and these are just some of the resources I’ve found. You’ll find even more: check the VA website for vocational training opportunities, your state’s government website, etc. There are endless opportunities to intern, which could lead to a new career.

Stay tuned for more insights from Greg as he transitions from Active Duty.

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