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Will My Education Plan Work Using the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am in the process months of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill funding. I want to know if the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill restricts the number of certifications and courses that I want to take. For example, I can get a Master’s Degree in 15 months, a pilot’s license in 9 months, and a paramedic’s Certificate in 12 months. The Master’s degree is completely unrelated to the last two. Before I start pursuing this course of action, I want to know… Is this possible?

A: Most likely not. The purpose of the GI Bill is to train you in something you can use for a career. While the VA does allow for double majors or a major and a minor, they have to be related, so your paramedic certificate would have to be related to your Master degree before the VA would most likely approve it.

Your pilot’s license is another matter. Generally speaking, the VA will not pay for a private pilot’s license. They will however pay up to $10,000 per year if you already have a pilot’s license and decide to go for additional commercial pilot ratings. There are some pilot programs that include a private pilot’s license as part of their overall program, but not many so you will have to do some research.

So if you can get your private pilot’s license first, (at your expense or enroll in a program that includes it) and then select a career focus that ties your master’s degree, pilot training and paramedic training, you could most likely get the VA to pay for most of your classes. For example, if you pursued aeronautical medical evacuation, you could get a paramedic certification, pilot’s license and a master’s degree in nursing. There are several other combinations that would work also.

My recommendation is you consider your education goal carefully and make the best use of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. You have 36 months that you can use to create the career of your dreams – you will just have to think about it carefully and then present your plan to the VA for approval.

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