Guest Author - Tiffany Manley
In May, 2009, the Department of Defense expanded the “Career Advancement Account” program (MyCAA). Prior to that point, the program was being tested at various installations across the country. Not be confused with the new GI Bill dependant transferability, Career Advancement Accounts allow eligible military spouses to receive up to $6000 for tuition, licenses and certifications in high demand portable careers.
The first step to take is to verify your eligibility. To be eligible, you must be married to an active duty or activated Reserve Component service member. You must also ensure that your sponsor has registered you in DEERS. Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you can go to https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa and create an account. You can then enter your profile information. Your profile information contains the following:
• Date of Birth
• Sponsor’s pay grade
• Sponsor’s service and installation
• Sponsor’s date of separation
• Sponsor’s last name
• Phone number
• Previous Education
From this information, an Education Consultant verifies your eligibility. You will receive a message in your MyCAA inbox verifying your eligibility. Next, make sure your school participates in the program. If your school is not listed, be sure to request they be added. Instructions can be found on the MyCAA website.
The next step is to create your “Career and Training Plan”. This is where things such as your career field, school and program type are listed. After entering this information, you are asked to input each of your classes. To add a course, you need the course code (BUS 110 for example), course title, course level and cost. Do this for each course in your degree program to be covered by MyCAA. Be sure you put accurate information on your Career and Training Plan. When you’ve finished entering your information and checked it for accuracy, you should contact an Education Consultant to have your plan approved. The website gives you an 800 number to call to do this.
There are a few important factors to remember when using a MyCAA. You cannot receive a reimbursement for a class from MyCAA. MyCAA pays the school directly for your courses, so you must be a registered student. The school will request the funds for you. The program is new, and as you can imagine, many people are taking advantage of it. As such, there is a temporary backlog in processing files of about four weeks. They are processing files on a first come, first served basis. Allow time for your file to be processed before you expect to be able to use the funds. If you are legally separated or divorced or if you are a service member yourself, you do not qualify for MyCAA. Be sure to check the MyCAA website for answers to any of your questions and the most up-to-date information.
Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to get an education or pay for licenses and certifications. Careers covered by this program are careers that can travel with you as a military spouse. Good luck!