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GI Bill to pay for IT certification exams


By Julekha Dash

(IDG) -- Starting this month, GI Bill beneficiaries can get reimbursed for technology certification through the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). INFOCENTER
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Lombard, Ill.-based CompTIA offers seven certification exams that cost between $100 and $200 each, in areas such as networking, server hardware and IT project management. GI Bill beneficiaries will be reimbursed for as many tests as they want to take.

CompTIA Workforce Development Program director John Engman said he expects most participants to seek A+ certification, which covers entry-level PC support, since that's the program's most popular exam.

Without the GI Bill reimbursement, "if you fail the test, there goes the money," said Carlos Rosa, a GI Bill beneficiary and network administrator at Advance Office Electronic Center Inc. in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Rosa, formerly a sonar technician in the U.S. Navy, applied for reimbursement for an A+ exam last week.

Rosa said that CompTIA certification, combined with certification from a leading vendor, can typically lead to an IT job and that certification exams are good alternatives to a four-year college degree.

Howard Rubin, a vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., said he agrees that certification exams are a good way for IT workers to obtain short-term technical skills. But given the current downturn in the economy, it may not be wise for IT workers to forgo the long-term skills investment that a college degree provides, he warned.

To qualify for GI Bill benefits, military personnel must contribute $100 per month for their first 12 months of service. Veterans can receive up to $650 per month for 36 months if they attend school full time, and a fraction of that amount if they attend school part time, said Terry Jemison, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jemison said 1.3 million veterans participate in the GI Bill program. He estimated that 85 percent to 90 percent of them haven't exhausted their benefits.

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• Computing Technology Industry Association
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