Education, training and employment programs for veterans are now more important than ever, especially for veterans who feel they are too old or experienced to re-enter higher education or vocational programs because, when they return from duty, they are a few or several years older than are their peers in class. This issue of “lost time” is so pervasive that veterans reporting difficulty connecting socially with their school and/or other students has become common on campuses across the country.
Veterans returning from deployment or transitioning out of military service often encounter unique challenges. In 2018, Military Times reported more than one in six veterans returning from deployment described their readjustment to civilian life “very difficult” and, as of June 2018, a study conducted by the Pew Research Center indicated one-third of veterans reported trouble paying bills upon returning from deployment. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in particular were affected, with nearly 40% of those veterans reporting mental health difficulties along with financial hardships upon returning to civilian life.
One way colleges and universities can improve this situation is by offering graduation and/or certification pathways that award credit for the skills veterans learn during their military training and deployments. Such “bridge” programs shorten the amount of time veterans need to be in school as they transition and, critically, give veterans solid academic credit for the things they learned while in the military. Lansing Community College (LCC) offers several programs for veterans, including the Military Education Training Campus (METC) Radiologic Technology Bridge Program. This program allows veterans and active military personnel to complete an LCC associate degree to fulfill a qualifying requirement of their professional certifications in that field.
Radiologic technologists are health care professionals who perform diagnostic imaging procedures in medical settings. LCC’s METC Radiologic Technology Bridge Program is available 100% online, which is important for veterans who may be working, caring for family and/or are experiencing anxiety post-deployment.
Katrina Steinsultz, program director of Radiologic Technology at LCC, believes the program offers veterans and active military personnel a clear path to certification and employment. Active military and veterans who qualify earn 51 credits for their prior coursework in Radiologic Technology, only 15 credits short of their associate degree.
“Military members with training in health care fields may need additional coursework or degrees to obtain necessary certifications or licensures,” Steinsultz said. “The Rad Tech METC Bridge Program, which can be taken fully online, closes the gap between military training and degree attainment. Once completed, military members have the option to continue their career or seek gainful employment in the civilian sector.”
LCC accepts applications to its METC Radiologic Technology Bridge Program year-round, with cohorts beginning in both fall and spring. G.I. Jobs magazine has recognized LCC as a military friendly institution, an honor shared by just 16% of nationwide colleges and universities. Veterans not trained in radiologic technology who want to explore options in education should contact LCC’s Veterans’ Services directly, or browse LCC’s veteran-specific career education pathways.
LCC offers a wide range of support services for veterans. The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs assists veterans, current military members, spouses and dependents enrolled in the college’s programs. It provides academic advising, personal counseling, certification of enrollment to the VA, and advice on Department of Veteran’s Affairs regulations concerning curricula, course selection and satisfactory progress.