Civilian Occupational Credentialing
In recent years, civilian occupational credentialing, such as third-party certification, has received increased recognition by employers, along with traditional academic degrees, as a source for validating the knowledge, skills and abilities of job applicants. In response to this development, the military services maintain websites to inform service members and veterans about civilian credentials that are relevant to their military specialties. The U.S. Department of Labor also maintains websites that perform a comparable function for civilian workers. Both sources are summarized below.
Service Member and Veteran-Oriented Websites
- COOL Sites: COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) helps Service members and veterans to obtain information about civilian certifications and licenses. The COOL sites provide information linking military specialties first to related civilian occupations, then to civilian credentials helpful to qualify for those occupations and finally to the requirements for attaining the credentials. Information on educational, financial and training resources to help bridge the gaps between military training and experience and the civilian credentialing requirements are also provided. Recognizing the important role that civilian credentials can play in assisting service members and veterans to transition to the civilian workforce upon completion of military service, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps each maintain their own COOL websites:
- Army COOL – Army COOL provides enlisted soldiers and veterans of Army service with information on certifications and licenses related to their Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). Service members can find snapshots of credential requirements and identification of gaps between Army training and civilian credentialing requirements.
- DON COOL – The Department of Navy COOL program is a Joint-Service initiative to promote civilian credentialing opportunities for Sailors and Marines. It is the umbrella site that serves as a gateway to both Navy COOL and Marine Corps COOL.
- Navy COOL – Navy COOL is a Navy site with general and occupation-specific information on credentialing opportunities for Sailors.
- Marine Corps COOL – Marine Corps COOL is a Marine Corps site with general and occupation-specific information on credentialing opportunities for Marines.
- Air Force COOL – Air Force COOL helps airmen and veterans of Air Force service navigate the civilian credentialing opportunities available for their military specialties. Air Force COOL enables airmen and veterans to explore credentials recognized in the civilian community to help them to prepare for the transition to the civilian workforce.
Civilian Worker-Oriented Websites
- America’s Career InfoNet: Certification Finder is a certification tool that provides lists of certifications by occupation or industry. It provides information on whether the certification or certifying organization is industry-endorsed, related to or accredited by a third-party organization or program, and if the certification is related to military occupational specialties.
- America’s Career InfoNet: Licensed Occupations – To ensure that an individual is competent to work in certain occupations, states may require workers to have licenses. Licensing requirements for the same occupation often vary by state. This tool provides, for each state, a list of the occupations for which licenses are required, descriptions of the required licenses, the requirements to attain licensure, and a link to the state licensing agency.