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How to Use the GI Bill for Licenses and Certifications

You can use your GI Bill benefits for many training courses, licenses, examinations and certifications.
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Use the GI Bill for licenses and certifications

You can use your GI Bill benefits for many training courses, licenses, examinations and certifications.

If you recently separated from the military, you qualify for education benefits under either the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You may also be eligible for assistance through the Veteran Readiness and Employment program.

Both GI Bills offer college tuition assistance.

But what if college isn’t in your plans? If you would rather build on the skills you picked up in the military and take a career trade path, the GI Bill can help. You can use your benefits to get licenses and certifications.

GI Bill Eligibility

GI Bill eligibility requirements vary depending on which GI Bill you use.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

You are eligible to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits if you were honorably discharged after serving at least 90 days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. You are also eligible if you received a Purple Heart or were honorably discharged for a service-connected disability after serving at least 30 days.

Members of the National Guard and reserves who meet the active-duty requirement are eligible. Active service includes Title 10 (active duty) and Title 32 (National Guard duty).

Montgomery GI Bill

The MGIB offers two programs, depending on whether you were an active-duty or reserve member of the armed forces.

  • MGIB-AD: You are eligible for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) education benefits if you paid $100 per month for 12 months and completed a minimum service obligation.
  • MGIB-SR: You are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR) if you are a drilling reservist with a six-year obligation to the armed forces.

GI Bill Licensing and Certification Benefits

You can use your GI Bill benefits for a variety of certification and licensing tests. The VA will pay up to $2,000 per certification test – even if you don’t pass.

Your benefits may also reimburse you for national testing fees, such as registration and administrative fees, as well as the costs of the tests. Eligible tests include the SAT, TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language) and prior learning assessment testing.

The VA will prorate how much they charge against your entitlement based on the cost of the test. Veterans with their full entitlements can use the monthly rates below to calculate the charge against their entitlement:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: $2,200.96 (effective Aug. 1, 2022-July 31, 2023)
  • MGIB-AD: $2,150 (effective Oct. 1, 2021)
  • MGIB-SR: $439 (effective Oct. 1, 2022)

Decide Which GI Bill You Want to Use

You may be eligible for both GI Bills. You can only use one benefit at a time, so you’ll have to choose which one to use.

If you choose to use your Post-9/11 benefits, you can’t switch back to the MGIB. In some cases, you may be able to use up your MGIB-AD benefits and then receive an additional 12 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

How to Get the Licensing, Certification and Testing Benefit

Here’s how to use your GI Bill Benefits for license or certification tests.

Find a VA-Approved Test

The VA will only reimburse you for approved licensing, certification and testing. Before you commit to a test, check the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool to ensure that it is VA approved.

Licensing and Certification

Complete VA Form 22-0803, Application for Reimbursement of Licensing or Certification Test Fees, and attach proof of payment of the fees. Then mail them to your VA regional processing office or upload them through Ask VA.

National Testing

Complete Form 22-0810, Application for Reimbursement of National Exam Fee, and attach proof of payment of fees. Then mail them to your VA regional processing office.

Use Your Benefits Before They Expire

Veterans who are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill who separated from the military on or after Jan. 1, 2013, don’t need to worry about their education benefits expiring, thanks to the Forever GI Bill.

Other GI Bill programs, however, have the following expiration dates:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: Veterans discharged Dec. 31, 2012, or earlier can use their benefits for 15 years.
  • MGIB-AD: Active-duty veterans using MGIB-AD education benefits must use them within 10 years.
  • MGIB-SR: Military members using MGIB-SR benefits must use them within 14 years. In addition, their benefits expire when they leave the service, except in limited situations. Reservists who are called up to active duty will receive an extension for the length of their mobilization plus four months. In addition, if they separated due to a disability, were part of a unit that was deactivated between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2014, or involuntarily separated during that time, they may be able to use their benefits for up to 14 years from the date of their first six-year obligation.

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About Kevin Mulligan

Kevin is a debt reduction champion with a passion for teaching people how to budget and build wealth for retirement. He’s building a personal finance freelance writing career and has written for CashMoneyLife.com, Good Financial Cents, Moolanomy, and many others.

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