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CHIPS Articles: Navy to Fund Professional Credentialing Exams for Sailors

Navy to Fund Professional Credentialing Exams for Sailors
By Ensign Jan Shultis, Center for Information Dominance Public Affairs - January-March 2008
Sailors pursuing occupational credentials can now receive funding to pay for approved credentialing exams, according to NAVADMIN 293/07, released Nov. 2, 2007. By using Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL), Sailors can see how they can earn civilian certifications and licenses based on their ratings and jobs.

"COOL offers Sailors [the] tremendous opportunity of having the Navy fund the entire cost of exams for credentials closely aligned with their Navy jobs and training," said Vice Adm. John C. Harvey, Chief of Naval Personnel.

The Navy is funding approximately 14,000 to 16,000 credentials this year. The Navy may issue a pre-paid voucher or reimburse costs associated with credential exams, as well as renewal and maintenance fees, provided funding is available.

Some occupations have certain professional and technical standards. The process of meeting these standards and earning official recognition (in the form of credentials, licenses or certificates) is called credentialing.

The Navy's credential program is designed to further develop the personal and professional capability of the total Navy force, thus enhancing force readiness. Credentialing offers new, nontraditional training to enhance an individual's capabilities and improve force readiness through workforce initiatives.

"The COOL Web page went live in July of 2006, and it's a great tool giving Sailors comprehensive information on how to obtain credentials and apply for funding," Harvey said.

Currently, more than 1,500 occupational credentials have been identified as having a strong correlation with Navy jobs that qualify them for exam funding.

The program is being administered on a first-come, first-served basis, with funds being released each quarter of the fiscal year. This will ensure availability of funds during the latter part of the year for Sailors who were not able to participate earlier due to deployments or other constraints.

Capt. Connie Frizzell, program manager for the Navy Credentialing Program and commanding officer for the Center for Information Dominance, said the new funding policy will enable more Sailors than ever to achieve their educational and professional goals.

"The strong usage statistics on Navy COOL indicate that Sailors are very interested in taking advantage of credentialing opportunities to build their professional qualifications," Frizzell said. "The new funding policy will make credentialing even more appealing and is a significant step forward in the professionalism of our Navy workforce. We're presenting Sailors with another key to career success that will benefit them while they're serving in the Navy and beyond."

Credentialing is important for several reasons; federal, state or local law may require specific credentials to legally perform some jobs; employers may choose to hire only employees who have certain credentials, or to pay those employees more; credentials may improve an employee's prospects for promotion; credentialed service members demonstrate to prospective civilian employers that their skills are on par with their civilian peers; and civilian credentialing can contribute to military career development, and may be accepted for self-development requirements and in performance evaluations.

For more information, log on to Navy COOL at Navy funding information is available on the Costs and Resources page.

TAGS: Workforce

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