Frequently Asked Questions – Career NCO Degrees Program and the College of the American Soldier
What is the College of the American Soldier?
The College of the American Soldier is a TRADOC-developed concept to identify specific college and university degree programs that enhance Soldiers’ leadership and warfighting capabilities and grow the multi-skilled NCO characteristics. The associate and bachelor’s degrees included in the College of the American Soldier are part of the Career NCO Degrees Program.
What does TRADOC stand for?
Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. TRADOC’s mission “TRADOC recruits, trains and educates the Army’s Soldiers; develops leaders; supports training in units; develops doctrine; establishes standards; and builds the future Army.”
What is the Career NCO Degrees Program?
The program is a sub-set of the College of the American Soldier and also an extension of the SOCAD Army Career Degree Program. The Career NCO Degrees Program expands existing civilian higher education degree choices to provide Career NCOs associate and bachelor’s degree options not tied to enrollment in a MOS specialty degree. Selected from existing SOCAD degrees in business- and management-related disciplines, Career NCO Degrees are:
- Accepted and supported by the American Council on Education (ACE)
- Provide flexibility in degree completion time
- Maximize credit transfer between colleges
- Maximize college credit for military training and education
- Minimize academic residency requirements
- include courses on-site at installations and through distance/online learning
How does my school get into the College of the American Soldier?
College participation in the College of the American Soldier is based on whether a specific degree offered by the college meets the criteria established by TRADOC for inclusion in the Career NCO Degrees Program. SOC will discuss the criteria with interested colleges, helping the college assess how well a specific degree fits within the standards established for the Career NCO Degrees Program. At the request of the college, SOC will forward suggested degrees to TRADOC through Headquarters Army Continuing Education System (ACES) for their consideration.
What is the criteria established by TRADOC for inclusion in the Career NCO Degrees Program?
Based on the general criteria established by TRADOC, degrees selected for inclusion in the Career NCO Degrees Program must:
- Maximize ACE-recommended credit awards, based on current versions for NCOES leadership schools through Sergeants Major Course (SMC) that Soldiers complete throughout their careers
- Be SOCAD business and management-related degrees in SOC’s Degree Network System
- Have fully-developed degree maps within the GoArmyEd Portal
- Colleges are not required to offer their degrees through distance learning. Career NCO Degrees may be delivered through courses offered on-site at military installations, taught on the college campus, available through distance ⁄ online learning, or available through hybrid delivery (combination of traditional and distance delivery)
- For the specific degree included in the Career NCO Degrees Program, colleges and universities certify up-front the total amount of credit the college will apply to the degree based on American Council on Education (ACE) credit-recommendations for the current versions of NCOES leadership schools through SMC
- TRADOC reviewed academic residency requirements, tuition costs, and the amount of ACE-recommended credit in selecting degrees for inclusion in the Career NCO Degrees Program. TRADOC’s selection criteria varied for associate and bachelor’s degrees
AA ⁄ AS degrees:
- Must accept 62% ACE-recommended credit toward a specific Career NCO Degree
- Residency requirement of 15 Hours or less
- Maximum tuition cost of $200 per SH
BA ⁄BS degrees
- Must accept 82% ACE-recommended credit toward a specific Career NCO Degree
- Have a residency requirement of 32 Hours or less
- Have a maximum tuition cost of $250 per SH
How were degrees selected for the program?
TRADOC reviewed all eligible SOCAD business- and management-related degrees. Eligibility was based on degree type, SOCAD membership, maximized credit awards, the amount of academic residency with the home college, and the amount of tuition. After its review, TRADOC selected degrees to be included in the Career NCOs Degrees Program.
How many colleges and universities are currently providing degrees for the Career NCO Degrees Program?
TRADOC selected 28 colleges and universities, which provide 16 associate and 44 bachelor degrees.
How are Career NCO Degrees identified within GoArmyEd?
Currently, the first page of fully-developed degree maps of the selected degrees are annotated, identifying the degree as a “Career NCO Degree.” The first page of the degree map also includes an overview of the program. Additional identifiers may be added to the GoArmyEd portal in the future.
How do Soldiers know how much credit a college/university will award for NCOES training?
The amount of credit is annotated in the Notes section on a fully-developed degree map.
Where can I view a complete list of degree programs in College of the American Soldier?
Both sites list all of the Career NCO Degrees that are included in the College of the American Soldier
Who can enroll in the Career NCO Degrees Program?
The program is geared toward Combat Arms MOSs, but any Soldier can enroll in any of the degrees. Soldiers may enroll at any time in their careers, as well. Enrollment in any of the degrees identified as a Career NCO Degree follows the standard GoArmyEd procedures, and Soldiers must meet any college-established requirements established for the selected degree. Colleges will evaluate each student individually to determine what credits can be awarded for prior learning and Army training and MOS working experience based on a review of their JST transcript. Because all of the Career NCO Degrees are SOCAD degrees, colleges will complete a SOCAD Student Agreement for each Soldier enrolling in these degrees, in accordance with SOC Degree Network System requirements and GoArmyEd procedures.
When will information about the program be available on the GoArmyEd portal?
ACES is currently working with IBM to add information about the program on the portal. An announcement will be sent to participating schools and through Army channels when information is posted.
How are Career NCO Degrees Program and the College of the American Soldier marketed?
Army’s TRADOC personnel have made numerous presentations to Army personnel both in the US and at oversees locations. Colleges and universities can market the program to Soldiers or in conjunction with ESOs. A complee list of Career NCO Degrees can also be found on the Army Career Tracker portal Web page. After you log in, click on Career Resources tab, then the CAS tab.
Are Soldiers REQUIRED to enroll in a Career NCO Degree listed in the College of the American Soldier?
No. Soldiers can choose to enroll in a degree program listed in the College of the American Soldier or in another degree program that will meet their education or career goals. The Career NCO Degrees Program and the College of the American Soldier are options among many that are available to Soldiers through the GoArmyEd portal.
Are there different procedures, processes or reporting requirements that schools need to know for Soldiers enrolling in Career NCO Degrees?
Colleges and universities with degrees selected for the Career NCO Degrees Program agree to contact a Soldier selecting those degrees as soon as GoArmyEd notifies them that a Soldier has selected the degree and them as the Soldier’s home college. The college will discuss how credits from Army training will apply to the degree chosen by the Soldier and will advise the Soldier about which courses to take. Once the college has received a Soldier’s JST transcript and related educational information, the college will conduct a formal assessment of the Soldier’s prior learning and will complete a SOCAD Student Agreement in accordance with SOCAD policies and GoArmyEd portal requirements. This official college degree plan will be part of the Soldier’s GoArmyEd file.
Where can I find the most current information about the Career NCO Degrees Program and the College of the American Soldier?
Go to SOCAD’s College of the American Soldier Web page.
Do courses provided by institutions as part of the Career NCO Degrees Program replace training instruction core to NCOES?
No. Coursework taken from colleges and universities to complete a Career NCO Degree does not substitute for military training courses core to NCOES. This coursework should, however, be complementary and supportive of Soldiers’ career development.
What is the role of the ACES counselor?
All ACES Guidance Counselors, Education Service Specialists (ESSs) and Education Services Officers (ESOs) should be familiar with the College of the American Soldier and the Career NCO Degrees Program. When Soldiers in-process, ACES personnel need to explain the program, degree options, academic residency requirements, and how to navigate the GoArmyEd portal. They should also explain how Soldiers request an official evaluation of prior learning and how a SOC Degree Network System (DNS) Student Agreement reflects the results of that evaluation for a clear road map to degree completion.
Whom should I contact about my institution joining the Career NCO Degrees Program of the College of the American Soldier?
Send an e-mail to Darcey Cuffman, SOCAD Army Career Degree Program Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-368-5622.
NOTE: Interested college/university POCs should not contact Army Education Center, TRADOC, or ACES personnel. SOCAD is the Army’s contractor for degree development and broker with the academic community. SOCAD will, in conjunction with ACES and TRADOC, continue to coordinate the participation of colleges and universities within the Career NCO Degrees Program.
SOCAD membership is based on Army-identified needs for specific education programs. Inquiries about SOCAD membership may be directed to Judith Loomer, SOCAD Project Director, at email@example.com.
How will my college identify Soldiers who enrolled in a Career NCO Degree?
The GoArmyEd portal notifies colleges about students selecting the college as a home college and about the degree selected. Any Soldier enrolling in a degree that has been identified as a Career NCO Degree is considered to be a student pursuing a Career NCO Degree and should be contacted by the college as soon as possible to discuss course selection, completed credit awards, and future credit awards based on the college’s up-front determination of ACE-recommended credits applicable to the degree.