The first and most important question I get asked a lot of the time, and see a lot of misinformation about is: Can I use MyCAA if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
MyCAA is an education grant for active duty military spouses, as long as they meet certain requirements.
What are the requirements for receiving MyCAA? Your spouse must be active duty and in the ranks of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2. I give all the additional specifics in my free checklist you can download here.
How much money is MyCAA worth? Up to $4,000 towards tuition, paid directly to the school on your behalf!
(Find out more about what MyCAA is by reading our pillar post about everything you need to know concerning MyCAA here: https://militaryspouseeducation.com/scholarships-for-active-duty-military-spouses-what-is-mycaa/)
So back to the question:
Can I use MyCAA if I already have a Bachelor’s degree of Science or Arts?
The good news is YES!
You can absolutely use MyCAA for continuing your education even if you already have a bachelor’s degree. Though there are limitations and rules you have to follow, MyCAA is not limited based on the level of education you already have. It can be used for technical schools, bachelor’s level programs, and graduate level programs.
Having an undergraduate degree doesn’t change the opportunity to use this valuable education grant that is designed to help active duty military spouses.
Can I use MyCAA if I already have a graduate degree?
Yes, you can definitely use MyCAA even if you have already earned a postgraduate education. I know from my personal experience because I used it myself even though I already had a graduate degree- so yes it can help you no matter what level education you have!
Many people don’t know that MyCAA is actually very flexible as long as you understand the system, know the rules, and make a plan that sets you up to make the most of your benefits. That’s my goal and my purpose with Military Spouse Education!
So now I know that I qualify, how do I use MyCAA if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
The long and short of it is that even with a bachelor’s degree you are limited to the funding being used for certifications and licenses. This is not bad news! There are many programs that offer certificates and licenses that will benefit you in your interests and/or career- no matter what they are.
You have a lot of options and I know it can be overwhelming with getting started, choosing a program, and making a plan that will maximize every dollar of your education benefits from the Department of Defense. In my book I go over a lot of scenarios and choices you could make, sign up for my email list to get information on the best way to get started.
Here is personal experience using MyCAA while my husband was active duty:
I had the assumption that it could only be used for technical schools or certifications that wouldn’t help me in my career or meet my interests. I thought that because I had a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree I could not use this education benefit. I was wrong, and that was good news!
When I got to researching I found limitations that felt discouraging. Military One Source is amazing in a lot of ways, but they can’t give advice. They can give you a “yes” or “no” of whether a program, certificate, or license, is approved- but they can’t tell you what would be best. They can give career counseling but when it comes to searching for the right program- there are so many and they are not created equal. I found some scams, found ones that are a waste of the money, and then found others that had some real benefits.
Also, at the time I was going to use my benefits there were limitations on the career field you could choose so you could have a “mobile” career. But I have more good news, thankfully for current active duty military spouses, as of February 2020 they have removed those limitations!
Thinking outside the degree – making the best of the MyCAA Scholarship
What is underpublicized and what I am truly advocating for, and am happy to help you do, is to consider what I’d like to call thinking “outside-of-the-degree”.
MyCAA sadly does not cover degrees beyond an Associate’s degree. So if you are hoping to use the $4,000 for a bachelor’s or master’s degree program you may be already doing, it won’t be able to directly pay for it unless you do a few hacks that I can help you with that I detail in my book.
MyCAA only covers certificates and licenses. Did you know there are graduate level certificates? Did you know there are bachelor’s level certificates? Did you know there are professional licensures? And these can all be covered by MyCAA if they have been approved.
$4,000 can go pretty far if you plan ahead like I did. It is truly about using MyCAA wisely. For example, I already had a Master’s degree and thought that MyCAA couldn’t help me at all. But I was wrong about who MyCAA can help and how it can be used.
I used MyCAA to pay for two graduate certificates and used every cent of the funding with 3 different education plans, all with the same career goal. I earned 33 quarter credits and 1 semester credit that resulted in me earning an additional licensure being added to my professional teaching certificate.
I used my benefits on 3 different programs, but it was all because I had planned it out from the beginning to be able to use every cent of the education funding. I had to do a lot of research and lost valuable time, and am writing this blog and have written my book to empower other military spouses to maximize what they get out of this free scholarship!
It all starts from thinking of your career goal. My greatest advice is to not rush into making your career goal- if you call Military One Source do not give your career goal right away- once you make it there is no changing it! Everyone’s education and interests are unique and you don’t want to put yourself into a box you can’t get out of. The key thing is to make it flexible for yourself from the beginning.
I share the key strategy I used to use my benefits at three different programs in my book, and am making a video series that explains it step by step.
Helping you make the most of MyCAA – it’s what we do!
But honestly, I’d love to help you one on one. Contact me and let’s get started. Everyone’s education history is unique and I’m happy to help you develop and meet your goals.
Are you short on time because your spouse is getting a promotion or a discharge is coming up? Let’s chat, I was under a short timeline when I did it myself and figured out all the rules. My mission is to simplify military education benefits for you.