- Veterans disproportionately hold certificates or certifications compared to non-veterans.
- Certificates and certifications boost employability and earnings premiums for veterans without degrees
- Veterans without degrees perceive less of a need for additional education than non-veterans without degrees.
The United States military is the single largest provider of education and training in the country. Yet, for the U.S. veteran population (21 million) and especially the 4 million veterans who served from 2001 to the present day and are still early in their careers, there can be a disconnect between the education and training they receive in the military and the credit they receive in the civilian world.
All service members complete multiple training courses, which may include non-degree credentials, as part of their service. Efforts to make this transfer more seamless and to ensure that all learning counts are essential to honoring and supporting veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce.
A few key principles guide our recommendations around supporting veterans without degrees, as well as adults without degrees more broadly:
1. All learning counts, and all skills should be recognized.
2. Competencies should be transparent and transferable.
3. Credentials should be portable and stackable.
4. Some military training should be credentialed while in service.
The data and insights shared here are drawn from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey: an unprecedented survey of more than 340,000 U.S. adults ages 18–65 that explores their educational experiences and attitudes. This study draws upon that vast sample to reveal veterans’ perspectives on education outcomes and the benefits and challenges that arise from earning non-degree credentials. Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation collaborated on this report as part of a series of reports on adults without degrees.