getting your Masters after a Service Academy or ROTC without adding to your Commitment ? ?

TrackDad

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I was reading some place that you can go for your Masters with out adding to your 5 year Commitment time?

I'm just a curious dad and would love to hear how this works?

Do they help fund your masters as well?
 

Capt MJ

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I am sure posters will chime in with AF-specific options - all the services have multiple Master's programs.
Generally speaking, if you go after hours (assignment permitting) or online, and pay for it with your funds, no time owed. As in, you are not on military dime or time.
Some time paybacks for some programs might be allowed to run concurrently, meaning the time isn't added on consecutively to the end of the original obligated period. Two time clocks are running at the same time. The rate of time payback may be some variation of, say, two years payback x each year of school.

If you haven't already, browse forums for "graduate degree programs" and "Master's."

The services look at advanced degrees as investments (of taxpayer money) in preparing officers for later roles with larger scope and responsibility. If they invest duty time (full-time programs, only duty is school) or funds (Tuition Assistance, etc.), they want some ROI out of that.

Edit: Many stay on AD long enough to max out their GI Bill benefits for post-separation education. That, combined with a state's own vet education benefits program, is what many officers use after leaving the service.
http://benefits.va.gov/gibill/
 
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NavyHoops

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I did exactly what Capt MJ mentioned during my 5 years. I paid my own way for one and started at a local university. I eventually deployed and moved to an online format for the deployment. I actually enjoyed it much more than the classroom. When I returned I did a mixed format for a brief moment, then deployed again and finished online. It took me 22 months, 75% of it I was deployed. I paid for it out of pocket, therefore I didn't accrue any obligations. I had many friends do this approach, but many did incur debt. This is really the only way to complete one without incurring more time. It is challenging balancing field time, duty, military obligations, deployments, exercises, etc. Most of my friends who did this approach completed them while on shore tours or B billets (or whatever each service calls it) at around their 4-8 year mark of service. This is when someone is not in an operational unit but something like the Pentagon and their routines are can be much more set.

Each service has their own programs and pay back obligations. They each have their own nuances. They have education offices on base to assist with local school options. Many schools do classes at base at night or weekends.
 

Padre101

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I did exactly what Capt MJ mentioned during my 5 years. I paid my own way for one and started at a local university. I eventually deployed and moved to an online format for the deployment. I actually enjoyed it much more than the classroom. When I returned I did a mixed format for a brief moment, then deployed again and finished online. It took me 22 months, 75% of it I was deployed. I paid for it out of pocket, therefore I didn't accrue any obligations. I had many friends do this approach, but many did incur debt. This is really the only way to complete one without incurring more time. It is challenging balancing field time, duty, military obligations, deployments, exercises, etc. Most of my friends who did this approach completed them while on shore tours or B billets (or whatever each service calls it) at around their 4-8 year mark of service. This is when someone is not in an operational unit but something like the Pentagon and their routines are can be much more set.

Each service has their own programs and pay back obligations. They each have their own nuances. They have education offices on base to assist with local school options. Many schools do classes at base at night or weekends.

Navyhoops, so if you get a graduate degree on your own time and dime, can you get another one later and have the Government pay for it. Let's say someone gets a master's by herself. Then can she get another master's or mba later through Uncle Sam?
 

Padre101

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Not without some payback.

Understood. Payback is assumed.

I am just wondering if you got a graduate degree on your own time and dime, would the military say, "You already got one. We're not paying for you to get another one."
 

NavyHoops

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Padre, yes they can. Couple of comments. Each service has its own nuances and they can change and vary based upon the needs of service, MOS/branch, etc regarding the 'need' for a masters. General rule of thumb is they start looking at it for selection to O-4. At one point when deployments were at a chaotic pace some of these requirements slid some. Also what kind of Masters one can earn can be limited by the military. Remember there is almost always a pay back tour that follows up the school to use that new found knowledge. In the USMC it's very common to go to NPS and then to an acquisition, test or engineering billet. I worked with a Marine Capt who was doing his payback who earned his MBA. He was one of 4 Marines who were selected for an MBA. It can be limiting as needs of service to drive STEM communities in acquisition, test and engineering is the biggest needs. My best friend completed a Masters through NPS remotely (no cost) while with the Blue Angels. He knew had to fit it in for promotion. Oh and he and his wife were also raising 2 babies during this timeframe. Talk about chaos and zero time.

Remember each service also has professional military education. This can vary between services. For instance in the USMC we had Expeditionary Warfare School that is either 6 months in person full time or distance based with classes on each base taught by instructors. This is done at the 0-3 or below level. To make 0-4, Command & Staff is required. This is much longer with an in person option or distance option done at night. I had a few friends who leveraged these classes into Masters. Several schools accepted their courses for a Masters and it only required 4 or 6 additional classes to get an MA. Once you start reaching career level schools such as Command & Staff, War College, Industial Staff College and a whole slew of others these are full time instensive schools that are graduate level education (and most do provide a Masters degree when completed). So on the Navy side I have seen tons of my friends retire with a Masters from Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) and another one from the War College in Rhode Island. I only mention all this so folks can get an idea of what a career entails for military and non-military education. This is all done balancing other commitments to education besides an MBA or MS that officers have to balance with jobs, families. It all plays into career decisions and progession. Schools are often enjoyed by many as it's a pretty consistent schedule, lots of family time and no deployments.
 

NavyHoops

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I know this on the USAFA thread and I am giving more Navy/USMC examples. Hopefully others will chime in for AF specifics. For the most part, the services are more similiar than different in educational requirements.
 

USAFA10s

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I am an AF specific example. I graduated from USAFA in 2012 with my 5 year commitment. I am a 61D though, which is a physicist, so the Air Force decided they wanted to send me to get a PhD. I did two years working as a scientist in one of the Air Force research labs (AFRL) and then was assigned to AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology) full time. I am in a 4 year program to get my PhD (had a bachelors in math and physics coming from USAFA).

Since AFIT's payback is normally 2 for 1, you would expect me to owe 8 years, but there is a caveat that caps the commitment at 5 years max.

Additionally, my USAFA commitment runs concurrently. This means that when I finish my degree in 2 years, I will already have completed my USAFA commitment and will just owe the 5 years for the PhD. I think this is about as close as you can get to not incurring "extra" time.

Grad school is sort of my specialty, so let me know if you have any more questions/need some clarification
 

Padre101

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I am an AF specific example. I graduated from USAFA in 2012 with my 5 year commitment. I am a 61D though, which is a physicist, so the Air Force decided they wanted to send me to get a PhD. I did two years working as a scientist in one of the Air Force research labs (AFRL) and then was assigned to AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology) full time. I am in a 4 year program to get my PhD (had a bachelors in math and physics coming from USAFA).

Since AFIT's payback is normally 2 for 1, you would expect me to owe 8 years, but there is a caveat that caps the commitment at 5 years max.

Additionally, my USAFA commitment runs concurrently. This means that when I finish my degree in 2 years, I will already have completed my USAFA commitment and will just owe the 5 years for the PhD. I think this is about as close as you can get to not incurring "extra" time.

Grad school is sort of my specialty, so let me know if you have any more questions/need some clarification
So is it true that if you have the AF pay for your PhD, then you are not in consideration to be a GO and that 0-6 is the highest you can achieve?
 

Christcorp

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So is it true that if you have the AF pay for your PhD, then you are not in consideration to be a GO and that 0-6 is the highest you can achieve?

I'm not quite sure I understand your question. Are you saying that if you get a PhD, that you can't expect to ever get promoted to general? Only as high as Colonel? Or are you saying if you get the Air Force to pay for your PhD you can only expect to be promoted no higher than Colonel?

Either way, there isn't a lot of logic to that. Every time the military invests in your training, whether it's the academy, UPT/Flight School, Medical/Law degrees, Grad/Masters/PhD, etc. they have an INVESTMENT in you. That investment isn't just to pay back "X" amount of years to compensate for the training. E.g. 10 year commitment for becoming a pilot (5 over the initial 5 for the academy); or 6 for a PhD. That investment is because this additional training or education can be of significant benefit to the military. They wouldn't even consider investing money in specialized training like pilot or other career fields; or in advanced education like a master's or PhD if it wasn't going to benefit the military in the long run. Remember; the academy isn't an "College Scholarship Program" and the military isn't a "Works Program". They do what's in the best interest of the military and the country.

So, to comment on your statement, I don't think it's true at all that the military would limit how high you can be promoted, based on the fact that they paid for you to advance your education. That would be totally counter productive to why they paid for you to get an advanced education. They would actually be encouraging an individual to get out of the military. I.e. My son is a captain in the air force. After graduating the academy, he got accepting to RAND to get his master's and PhD degrees. He finished both in 3 years. He has an additional commitment to the air force for those degrees. He also has an additional commitment for the job he's in. Similar to how a pilot has to give more years. His total commitment is around the 12 year mark. It would be quite easy for him to get a good job on the outside with B.S./M.A./PhD degrees. Vs someone with the same amount of time in with just a M.A. The logical course is; if the military invested so much into you, they'd want you to stay in. What would be the benefit of staying in, or the motivation, if you knew that you were limited on your promotion potential? If that was true, then in my son's case, he'd be much better off getting out of the military at the age of 34 with 3 degrees, no college debt, a lot of training, highly employable, and maybe going over to the guard/reserves to maintain his military investment towards a retirement.

There's no logic at all, and I've never heard of, an officer's promotion opportunity being limited because the air force PAID for their advanced education. The military has a lot more invested in this person than the one that they only paid for their B.S. at the academy. And what about pilots. They don't get a master's or PhD for going to UPT/Pilot training, but the financial investment for a pilot is a lot more than for someone who got their PhD. With the same logic, you'd have to say that if you go to flight school on the air force's dime, you won't get promoted to general.

Again; not sure I understand the logic or what it is you're actually asking.
 

Capt MJ

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Just for fun, I googled "Air Force generals with doctorate degrees." Being Navy, I know some admirals who have doctorates, most notably ADM (Ret) Jim Stavridis, currently Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He's a great example of a big-brain guy who was also a hugely successful operational commander at sea. I couldn't imagine the AF wouldn't have similar. Here's an example I found:
http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographi...icle/108644/major-general-jocelyn-m-seng.aspx

It's true there aren't many. The needs of the Service will always drive the investment. You are more likely to find the doctorates among the civilian Senior Executive Service at Pentagon staff. Additionally, it's hard to fit in the time in certain career paths. Or, you might find the doctorates in officer specialties where there is perhaps just one GOFO billet.
 

5Day

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Navy has a program where you can get your PhD and teach at USNA. You can only promote to captain but you can remain a captain. Other branches probably have similar programs. Not a bad option if you want to be a professor.
 

Capri120

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As Capt MJ and 5Day mentioned, the "limitation" on promotion is not due to the fact of having a PhD, but the duty position. As with most duty assignments and positions in the military, they are billeted for a specific rank, i.e., an AF squadron commander may be a Lt Col or Col billet, thus, unless this person moves to a higher level command position, they may or may not be promoted.
For someone in the academia world, a professor billet would probably be no higher than an 0-6 (Col-AF, Capt-Navy), but the Dean at one of the SAs would/could be a General Officer position.
Hope that makes a bit of sense.
 

NavyHoops

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Navy has a program where you can get your PhD and teach at USNA. You can only promote to captain but you can remain a captain. Other branches probably have similar programs. Not a bad option if you want to be a professor.

Agree great opportunity, but rare on this one. The other one is USNA has the Permanent Military Professor program they began a decade or more ago. Many will get assigned to USNA for an initial tour then apply. Again, not a norm, rare. Selection is tough on that program.

Also one note, USAFA10's path is not one you would find in the USN/USMC path straight out the door of USNA or NROTC. Engineering, acquisition, scientists paths are something that usually happen after at least an initial sea tour. If this is something that interests you research the Engineering Duty Office (EDO) role in the USN. Just mentioning this so candidates can compare and contrast options.
 

Padre101

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I'm not quite sure I understand your question. Are you saying that if you get a PhD, that you can't expect to ever get promoted to general? Only as high as Colonel? Or are you saying if you get the Air Force to pay for your PhD you can only expect to be promoted no higher than Colonel?

Either way, there isn't a lot of logic to that. Every time the military invests in your training, whether it's the academy, UPT/Flight School, Medical/Law degrees, Grad/Masters/PhD, etc. they have an INVESTMENT in you. That investment isn't just to pay back "X" amount of years to compensate for the training. E.g. 10 year commitment for becoming a pilot (5 over the initial 5 for the academy); or 6 for a PhD. That investment is because this additional training or education can be of significant benefit to the military. They wouldn't even consider investing money in specialized training like pilot or other career fields; or in advanced education like a master's or PhD if it wasn't going to benefit the military in the long run. Remember; the academy isn't an "College Scholarship Program" and the military isn't a "Works Program". They do what's in the best interest of the military and the country.

So, to comment on your statement, I don't think it's true at all that the military would limit how high you can be promoted, based on the fact that they paid for you to advance your education. That would be totally counter productive to why they paid for you to get an advanced education. They would actually be encouraging an individual to get out of the military. I.e. My son is a captain in the air force. After graduating the academy, he got accepting to RAND to get his master's and PhD degrees. He finished both in 3 years. He has an additional commitment to the air force for those degrees. He also has an additional commitment for the job he's in. Similar to how a pilot has to give more years. His total commitment is around the 12 year mark. It would be quite easy for him to get a good job on the outside with B.S./M.A./PhD degrees. Vs someone with the same amount of time in with just a M.A. The logical course is; if the military invested so much into you, they'd want you to stay in. What would be the benefit of staying in, or the motivation, if you knew that you were limited on your promotion potential? If that was true, then in my son's case, he'd be much better off getting out of the military at the age of 34 with 3 degrees, no college debt, a lot of training, highly employable, and maybe going over to the guard/reserves to maintain his military investment towards a retirement.

There's no logic at all, and I've never heard of, an officer's promotion opportunity being limited because the air force PAID for their advanced education. The military has a lot more invested in this person than the one that they only paid for their B.S. at the academy. And what about pilots. They don't get a master's or PhD for going to UPT/Pilot training, but the financial investment for a pilot is a lot more than for someone who got their PhD. With the same logic, you'd have to say that if you go to flight school on the air force's dime, you won't get promoted to general.

Again; not sure I understand the logic or what it is you're actually asking.

Christcorp, my question is the latter.

What 5Day stated ("Navy has a program where you can get your PhD and teach at USNA. You can only promote to captain but you can remain a captain. Other branches probably have similar programs. Not a bad option if you want to be a professor.") is what I heard before.
 

Christcorp

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The last couple of posts are dead on. The "job/billet" that you hold, can most definitely limit your ability to get promoted beyond a certain point. Remember; as with any business/job; civilian or military, the rank structure is a pyramid. The higher you go up in rank, the less people there are. You could have 5,000 2nd Lt entering the air force in a year, but there's a lot let generals than there are Lt and Majors. Just like at the top of a company, there's only 1 CEO, and a number of VP's in charge of things; vs the many worker-bees towards the bottom.

So, the limitation to make general, isn't based on your education level or who paid for it. It's based on the job you're in. If you're at the academy as an instructor, it isn't uncommon to have a PhD and have a number of colonels. But other than possibly the commandant or superintendent, what are the odds of having a general on staff.

One final thing also: The more education and training you get, the more marketable you become. An individual at 42 years old (20 years active duty), with a B.S., M.S. AND PhD, is very marketable on the outside world. Depending on their career field and training, a lot more marketable than an individual with just a B.S. and Masters. So the truth may be, that individuals who get a PhD, probably find a lot more opportunities to get out of the military and move on to civilian life. I still don't think there is any correlation at all on promotion opportunities between the military paying for your PhD and you paying for your own.
 

Padre101

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The last couple of posts are dead on. The "job/billet" that you hold, can most definitely limit your ability to get promoted beyond a certain point. Remember; as with any business/job; civilian or military, the rank structure is a pyramid. The higher you go up in rank, the less people there are. You could have 5,000 2nd Lt entering the air force in a year, but there's a lot let generals than there are Lt and Majors. Just like at the top of a company, there's only 1 CEO, and a number of VP's in charge of things; vs the many worker-bees towards the bottom.

So, the limitation to make general, isn't based on your education level or who paid for it. It's based on the job you're in. If you're at the academy as an instructor, it isn't uncommon to have a PhD and have a number of colonels. But other than possibly the commandant or superintendent, what are the odds of having a general on staff.

One final thing also: The more education and training you get, the more marketable you become. An individual at 42 years old (20 years active duty), with a B.S., M.S. AND PhD, is very marketable on the outside world. Depending on their career field and training, a lot more marketable than an individual with just a B.S. and Masters. So the truth may be, that individuals who get a PhD, probably find a lot more opportunities to get out of the military and move on to civilian life. I still don't think there is any correlation at all on promotion opportunities between the military paying for your PhD and you paying for your own.
Copy that. Thank you.
 

USMA 1994

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Unless things have changed, the services all have some tuition assistance program that can be used to help offset some of the cost of this education. Most large bases have some sort of education center with local colleges. These are catered to active soldiers and offer discounts to soldiers. You have to do the work on your own time but attending school one or two nights a week can be done. Tuition assistance may come with additional service obligations but it was typically much less than going to graduate school full time if it was added at all. It has been a few years, but I completed my Masters Degree in about 2 1/2 years with the Army paying 75% of the cost with no additional service requirements. Have your son go see the education counselors at the center.
 

USAFA10s

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So is it true that if you have the AF pay for your PhD, then you are not in consideration to be a GO and that 0-6 is the highest you can achieve?

It looks like this has been thoroughly addressed, but to confirm for the Air Force side, no, there is no actual limit on rank with a degree paid for by the AF. The reason there are very few high ranking officers with PhDs like mine is because as you promote, you basically work your way out of doing the actual science and for most of us who put in all the time to get a technical PhD (like physics), we prefer to keep doing real science, not program management, and so often get out. There are also almost no jobs for a 61 at the O-6+ level, so everyone crosses over to 63, again, not really science.

I can also confirm that USAFA has a similar (if not identical) program to USNA's permanent military professor program. This is my DREAM, but not likely. Chances are I won't stay in past Lt Col, because I'd rather stay involved with actual science or teaching, but you never know.
 
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