This website is not affiliated with the U.S. government or military.

An Internet Connection Can Turn a War Zone into a Classroom

Online degrees and certifications are a great way for military servicemembers to advance their educations and civilian careers while they serve-even in the war zone. One soldier shares his experience!

Created by: Natalie Peeterse
Whether in Iraq or Hawaii, Warrant Officer (WO1) Manuel Baez can prepare for a career in business and real estate. With online education available to soldiers overseas, those motivated to earn a degree can do so no matter where they are.
Taking advantage of tuition assistance benefits from the government, Baez has invested his time in a business degree that he can use in a business administration or real estate career after he finishes his time in the armed services. Baez has already completed nine online classes while stationed overseas. Currently based out of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Baez has been in Iraq for 6 months. Here are his thoughts on online education and the military.

       
ASG:
   
       

Manuel, why did you decide on an online course load?

   
       
MB:
   
       
It was very convenient for me. I was able to do more than one task at a time. I did not have to deal with the traffic there and back from school or squeezing it in after work. To me, it is easier to put more emphasis on my studies if I'm in my own environment. Later, in Iraq, I could also continue my studies.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

Are you stationed abroad?

   
       
MB:
   
       
Currently, I'm stationed in Schofield Barracks, HI, but am deployed to Iraq.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

What courses have you taken online?

   
       
MB:
   
       
I've taken nine classes! They include History I and II, Government, Humanities, Math, and English.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

How exactly did the online format work?

   
       
MB:
   
       
The format was excellent, easy to understand and work with.  The only problem I encountered at times was confusion with…the lessons and syllabus. Generally, I used the Blackboard System, which is a virtual classroom. I can obtain my bachelor's degree, and this is the way I will like to make it happen.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

What do you think of the student-teacher interaction in an online classroom?

   
       
MB:
   
       
I think it's very efficient. The only problem I encountered at times was the fact that sometimes I needed a quick response and waited maybe a day or two for reply.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

Are you taking classes to work toward a promotion or a career after the army?

   
       
MB:
   
       
I'm working towards a career on the outside, as well as an education that complements my current job in the army.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

What career are you interested in after the army?

   
       
MB:
   
       
I'm interested in being an administrator of a major company. Who knows, maybe someday I'll have my own in real estate business!
   
       
ASG:
   
       

Does your current MOS, Mobility Officer (882A), relate to your studies or your long term career plans? How?

   
       
MB:
   
       
Yes, indeed. These experiences would complement the discipline and managerial skills required to be an excellent business administrator. You'll always be faced with leadership challenges in the civilian world, always having to answer or brief higher echelons. My military experience also builds more confidence in knowing how to apply your education into the real world.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

Did you take advantage of your tuition benefits?

   
       
MB:
   
       
Yes. Thanks to the tuition assistance it was even easier to complete an associate's degree. Currently with these benefits I will complete [a] bachelor's degree.
   
       
ASG:
   
       

Any parting thoughts for those considering an online degree or online course work? Helpful hints?

   
       
MB:
   
       
I would say that if you're a disciplined and pro-active student and don't really need the physical attention of a teacher or a tutor, then online courses are definitely the way for you to go.