Being a military spouse can be difficult, lonely, and trying at times, but this military spouse decided she wasn’t going to be the norm. Despite having two young kids, this Irish born mother wasn’t about to let anything stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a personal trainer. Once almost 240lbs, she knew a fitness degree would give her insight into better eating habits and fitness.
With a college degree from Ireland, she realized it was almost useless in the United States and moving from base to base with two kids; online training was the only way to go. It was perfect to accomplish assignments while her kids were napping, watching TV or after they went to bed. Now this mother of two had to figure out how to pay the tuition, and on a military- one income, it was going to be hard.
Luckily, a friend who worked for Education Consulting Associates (ECA) recommended she look into the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program. The program helps military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or associates degrees to gain employment in high demand career fields. MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 to eligible spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. Being a foreigner, she did not realize there were government grants for military spouses like herself.
Nervously she called the program number and couldn’t believe how easy the process was. She gave her husband’s social to ensure she qualified based on his status; they asked what course she wanted to take and scheduled a phone interview for the next morning. After the phone interview, which was mainly a conversation about her travels, she got an email saying she was approved! The total process took about two days and was super easy.
The minute she was approved, the military spouse reviewed the many online programs ECA offered. With training courses in the medical fields, legal, real estate, project management, IT, leadership, child care, business, and even computer training, she knew the online health and fitness program was exactly what she was looking for. Once she completed the training she would receive her certification from Auburn University, which is partnered with ECA. The course gave her up to six months to complete with extensions if necessary, but this wonder mom managed to complete the training in five months! When her husband returned home from TDY she was able to surprise him with her accomplishment. Completing the course made her feel as though she achieved something while her husband was away and kept her mind busy.
After completing the online training with ECA, this amazing military spouse decided to give back to the community by offering free personal training to the military spouses on base. Now 125lbs, she wants to help others get healthy as well. Military families don’t have the money to pay a personal trainer and she said she cares more about helping others become physically fit then getting paid. In recognition for her willingness to help others, she received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Major General, Commanding General, and Commanding Officer. No time, no money, no problem, all that was needed was drive and determination for this military spouse.
Now what’s your excuse?
For more information about the MyCAA program and ECA-Auburn University courses:
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Twitter: Christie M @EdConsultJRM
About the Author: Christy Mckeen
Christy is a government auditor where she works with military personnel. She has a Masters in Accounting and works for Education Consulting Associates as a part time writer and marketing specialist. In addition to her career, she has a full time job as wife and mother of three girls.