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5,000 certifications offered through 'COOL' website

Oct. 2, 2013 - 02:38PM   |  
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In addition to certified apprenticeships, sailors can also earn certifications through Navy COOL, or Credentialing Opportunities On-Line — a Web resource that’s been growing over the past seven years.

There are more than 5,000 civilian certifications and licenses tied to every Navy enlisted rating, Navy enlisted classifications and even collateral duties that many sailors may already qualify for — or be able to easily earn through training or test-taking.

Of these, 1,750 certifications are also free for active-duty sailors, officers or enlisted. Funding can include the initial qual, and any recertification or continuing education requirements.

Examples include getting a basic diver’s certification card or completing the Federal Aviation Administration airframe and powerplant tests that can certify someone to work maintenance for airline companies.

“But, as always, there’s a catch,” said Keith Boring, program manager for the Navy COOL program. “To qualify for Navy to pay upfront for the exam, the specific certification must be deemed 80 percent compatible with a Navy rating or collateral duty.”

Officials have already done the heavy work, and if a certification is approved for Navy funding, it’s noted as such in the description on the Navy COOL website.

A sailor may have to pay upfront for the certification and be reimbursed by the service later, depending on the funding source. Certification costs can range from $18 to $1,950 and average $235.

When a sailor leaves service, he can use COOL to hunt for jobs — part of a cooperative effort between the Navy and other government agencies, as well as private employers.

To qualify, sailors must:

■Have passed their most recent advancement exam; either passed or received a waiver from their most recent physical fitness assessment; have no nonjudicial punishments or courts-martial in the past six months; and been recommended for promotion or advancement on their last eval or fitrep.

■ Have at least a year of service remaining at the time they get the credential.

■ Work in a rating, have an NEC or be assigned a position that relates to the credential.

■ Have prior documented experience in a position to which the credential is mapped for credentials outside of their specific rating, and the credential has relevance or applicability to the current or future needs of the command or the Navy.

The eligibility must be validated by the sailor’s command and approved by his commanding officer or command-designated approving official.

Reservists and veterans also can use the site to find the certifications and even look for jobs, but they’ll have to pay out of pocket or use their GI Bill or veterans benefits.

For more information or to search for a certifications tied to your job, go to https://www.cool.navy.mil. There’s a list of frequently asked questions on the site, as well as a link that can help you get answers directly from program officials.

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