As a military spouse, it is easy to put education goals, like a master’s degree, on the back-burner to support the military lifestyle. Many forgo their own careers simply because it is too daunting to acquire a new position when another Permanent Change of Station is imminent. Plus, careers that require state licensing can be even more difficult to maintain.
Therefore, many military spouses set their personal dreams and goals aside and, instead, focus on raising families and standing beside their loved ones as they work toward their own ambitions.
In the face of challenges a military lifestyle presents, that doesn’t mean spouses shouldn’t take steps to ensure they can achieve their goals. In fact, many of them do. The 2017 “Military Spouses in the Workplace” survey by Hiring Our Heroes shows that 88% of spouses have some post-high school education, 34% have a college degree and 15% have a postgraduate degree. This makes them more highly educated than most working Americans.
No matter the camp a spouse finds themselves presently in, though, questions can still remain. Should they pursue a/another degree despite the hurdles? And, why?
There are many excuses not to pursue higher education, but there are also many reasons why someone should. Here are a few reasons why a military spouse should chase their educational dreams:
1. It’s a career requirement.
There are many career fields, especially health–related professions, that call for a graduate degree. Even many entry–level positions demand applicants to have higher education. This is not a requirement that looks to be changing any time soon, either. In fact, Georgetown University’s “Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020” confirms that it is becoming even more common. By 2020, 65% of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, some college or an associate degree.
2. A weightier paycheck is desired.
It is a demonstrated fact by the PEW Research Center that someone with a graduate degree or higher is associated with earning a larger salary than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Graduate school can result in some pretty major gains. On the other hand, even if obtaining a master’s degree is not a guarantee to a higher salary, the investment in one’s personal development could be more attractive to high paying employers.
3. Everyone needs a backup plan.
Things happen. Life changes. The future remains unpredictable. However, even when life is going according to plan, statistics can be a reminder that no one truly knows what will happen tomorrow. Like how almost 4% of post-9/11 veterans, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are unemployed. How the Department of Defense’s 2017 report said 1.7-3.5% of service members are estimated to have divorced in fiscal year 2016. Or that soldiers are still dying while serving their country. If something were to happen, though, and a military spouse’s life was so drastically changed that they could no longer rely on a military lifestyle, having a master’s degree would only make someone better prepared to handle life’s challenges.
4. It’s time to fulfill a dream.
Maybe the biggest reason anyone should pursue a college degree is because they want it. Everyone sets goals for themselves, and some are based around education. If a military spouse pursuing their educational goals is something they’ve wanted to do, then they should do it. There are abundant sources of financial aid that specifically target military spouses, and there are many credible schools and programs that conform to a mobile lifestyle.
5. There are no excuses.
When something is scary, many people will make excuses as to why they shouldn’t do it and why it isn’t the right time. Maybe they’ve hit that point where they have used every excuse there is, and there are not any more to give. That means now is the time. A military spouse should jump in with both feet and just go for it.