Military experience is considered to be the equivalent of at least an associates' degree, says Glovinia Harris, a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) manager at Fort Meade, Md.
"You've been in the school of life; you've been dealing with state-of-the-art equipment," Harris says. People who don't have a college degree, but do have about 10 years of military experience, should feel they are entering the work force with as much to offer as job applicants who have completed a college degree. Training classes or distance-learning classes will also carry some weight in their education history, she says.
Some fields, such as aviation, may require special job-specific licensing classes, says Jim Dixey, associate director of Georgetown University's career center. People with military training will probably have no problem passing these exams, Dixey says.
Dixey advises those who reach a junior officer or supervisory level in the military to emphasize their military experience over their education when competing for jobs in the civilian market. Supervisory experience and time management, budget monitoring and decision-making skills developed during military service demonstrate leadership abilities that civilian employers value.
"Don't focus on your degree," he says. "There are certain management concepts that are transferable."
Editor's note: This article by Kathleen Brill, was first acquired by washingtonpost.com on February 24, 2003.