Advancement exams are over. What's next? There are many opportunities for professional growth, including Navy Knowledge Online, United Services Military Apprenticeship Program, Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online, and Nonresident Training Courses. Pursuing these programs will increase your knowledge and enhance your portfolio. In today's "force-shaping" environment, it's important to take advantage of every opportunity for growth.
NKO offers opportunities for professional learning; perhaps the most overlooked are the Professional Military Education courses. Developed by the U. S. Naval War College, these courses are available at the Introductory level for E1 to E4, Basic level for E5 to E6, and Primary level for E7 to O4. Each level consists of several "blocks" which include Navy History and Heritage, Organization and Guidance, Planning, Warfighting, etc. These blocks vary according to the level of the course. We are everything from air traffic controllers to mechanics to human resource specialists, and nearly everything we do can be done in the civilian world. The difference is that we do these things in uniform. PME examines the unique nature of our Navy vocation. You can find the courses on NKO (wwwa.nko. navy.mil) under the EDUCATION tab by searching for "PME."
USMAP is a Department of Labor program that pairs Navy rates with civilian apprenticeships to allow Sailors to document their skills and qualifications with a nationally recognized "Certificate of Completion" after a specified period of apprenticeship. Each apprenticeship requires from 2,000 to 10,000 work hours to complete; 2,000 hours is equivalent to a year of apprenticeship training. The program is free, and the hours are completed on duty; no off-duty hours are required! USMAP is a simple, effective way to document and receive recognition for the hours that you put in anyway. It's a useful tool to show potential civilian employers, but it also demonstrates your willingness and readiness for increased responsibility and more challenging assignments. In short, it's win/win! Log on to the USMAP website at https://usmap.cnet. navy.mil and start logging your hours today.
Navy COOL is one-stop shopping for civilian credentialing opportunities. The site covers education and USMAP opportunities, but its primary focus is to help Sailors document their work experience with civilian licenses, certifications and credentials. Navy COOL breaks down these opportunities rate-by-rate, and provides details on the requirements for each credentialing opportunity listed. Many of these opportunities are free; there are various programs, such as TA and the GI Bill, that may be used to cover any associated costs. There is even a separate pot of Navy COOL money that may be used to pay for many of the certification exams. Visit the website at www.cool.navy.mil for more information.
Remember those thick rating books you received in "A" School? It may be a while since you've looked at one, but NAVEDTRAs are still around, and they provide more opportunity for professional development than you might think. In addition to the traditional courses for each rate in the Navy, there are also courses that cover such topics as Educational Services Officer, Customer Service, and the History of the Chaplain Corps. While many of these courses may have been developed with specific communities in mind, there are no prohibitions on the courses that you can take; you're free to sign up for any course and complete it. Online submission of your answers to the quizzes involved makes receiving credit for completed courses easier than ever. Visit https://www.courses.netc.navy.mil for more information and to set up your user account.
We've only touched on a few of the professional development and learning opportunities available to you. NKO alone has vastly more information and opportunities for professional growth than we could cover in this space. Use the opportunities above as a starting point and you'll be well on your way to increased professional knowledge!