GI Bill for On-the-Job Training
Is it possible to use the GI Bill for on-the-job training? Some eligible for the GI Bill military benefit don’t want a traditional four-year degree. And there are various options for those seeking alternatives to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. You can also use the GI Bill for:
- Flight training
- Non-college degree programs
- Certification testing
- Entrepreneurship training
- On-the-job training
GI Bill for On The Job Training (OJT)
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site features an entire section explaining the eligibility requirements for using GI Bill funds to get on-the-job training. A veteran GI Bill program does not have to include endless hours of classroom instruction; it can be used to pay for expenses such as books, housing, and other approved costs when learning a skilled trade.
VA Benefits for OJT Vary Depending On Your GI Bill
Are you using the Montgomery GI Bill? You may qualify for funds for supplies and books during your training but not housing. If you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may also qualify for a monthly housing allowance, sometimes called the GI Bill MHA.
Related: How the Forever GI Bill Changed Your Military Benefits
GI Bill for On-The-Job-Training: Who Qualifies?
You must meet the minimum time-in-service requirements that make you eligible for the GI Bill overall. You must also be looking for GI Bill funding for training in an approved skilled trade which may include
- Hotel management
These are not the only training options available; they are just a sample of the types of programs some use.
Veterans, those eligible for benefits under the Fry Scholarship or the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program. Dependent children using transferred GI Bill benefits may apply for GI Bill OJT options. However, those using transferred GI Bill benefits cannot apply.
The VA official site has a GI Bill program comparison tool; you can use it to search for approved on-the-job training programs. It helps to know the name of a company when searching, but more general searches are also possible.
Related: Using the GI Bill for Flight School
How the Process Works
- Those approved to use the GI Bill for OJT will enter into an agreement with an employer–a written contract for the training program.
- When the training begins, you may only earn half of what a regular employee makes doing the same labor.
- At the end of the program, VA rules say the trainee should earn about 85% of that amount. That’s thanks to VA rules which state, “Employers generally pay a reduced OJT/apprenticeship wage (must be at least 50% of journeyman wage).”
- Veterans in an approved on-the-job training program may receive “a tax-free stipend” paid in addition to these entry-level wages, according to VA.gov.
- The stipend program is designed to decrease by 20% every six months “as the Veteran’s wages regularly increase” under the training program “until the Veteran has attained journeyman status and pay.”
- At the program’s end, you may have an agreement with the employer to earn a certification, become a journeyman, etc. Much will depend on the specific terms of your program.
How to Apply for Benefits for OJT
Current application procedures for the GI Bill and all other VA education benefit programs are found at the VA official site. You can also get help in person or by phone at your nearest VA Regional Claims office.
Read more: Veteran Education Benefits Guide
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.