A “cool” program is available to help Sailors become more marketable and competitive as they transition to civilian life.
The Navy Credentialing Opportunity On-Line (Navy COOL) program allows Sailors to apply their job skills and training toward certain civilian licenses and certifications.
A centralized, web-based hub, Navy COOL consolidates information on certifications, licenses, apprenticeships and opportunities corresponding to every Navy rating, job and occupation, explained Michael Talley, a Navy COOL credentialing program analyst. Navy COOL also provides funding to the enlisted Sailor ranks to obtain federally-recognized licenses and certifications applicable to Navy occupations and training.
During a recent briefing, Talley and program manager Keith Boring explained the Navy COOL program to Sailors at Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB).
"Certification shows competency and [one's] ability to do the job," explained Talley. “Someone may have a degree, but the person still may need the credentials in the form of licensure or certification to be considered competent to do a job.”
Talley said licensure is governed by states and/or the federal government, while credentials and certifications are industry-recognized standards.
"You're all in competition with your peers," Talley told Sailors during the briefing at NSAB."It's a matter of where you want to be in that competition. You want to be on top. You want to stand out."
Navy COOL can help Sailors "stand out" because it provides them with the opportunity to prove they have "the knowledge, skills and abilities to step out from under the umbrella and do the job," Talley added.
A retired corpsman, Talley said he wished Navy COOL was available to him when he transitioned to civilian life because the program, which began in 2006, helps pay for credentialing for active-duty enlisted Sailors and reserve members. Officers and civilians may access Navy COOL; however, they have to pay for credentialing.
Talley continued, "We pay for credentialing exams based on your job and the training you received to do your job. We're not authorized to pay for training because theoretically, you've already been trained."
Sailors must be able to complete all certification requirements using Navy COOL no less than 60 calendar days prior to their separation from the Navy. Sailors must also satisfy credentialing agency eligibility requirements for the certification/licensure they’re seeking prior to requesting exam funding, Boring explained.
Sailors must fill out and submit the vouchers they receive from Navy COOL to pay to take exams for credentialing. They will receive a verification number that must be submitted to the credentialing source, then schedule to take the exam and pass it for credentialing.
If a Sailor decides to withdraw the request for exam funding or is unable to complete the Navy-funded credentialing exam 60 calendar days prior to separating from the Navy, they are required to return any voucher not used. Sailors must also provide pass and fail results to Navy COOL within 30 calendar days of notification of exam results from the credentialing agency, according to Talley and Boring.
"We want you to stay certified; we want you to stay current in your field," Talley added.
Boring said on average, Sailors are passing voluntary licenses and certifications exams at a pass rate of 96 to 98 percent, compared to the national average pass rate of 75 to 80 percent.
To date, Navy COOL has processed nearly 70,000 credentials for Sailors and received approximately 120 million hits to the Navy COOL website at https://w ww.cool.navy.mil, according to Navy COOL officials headquartered at Pensacola, Fla.
HMC David Tayamen, of the Navy Medicine Professional Development Center’s (NMPDC) Skills Management Office at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), helps coordinates the Navy COOL program at NSAB. He encourages Sailors to use the program because there is a “plethora” of exams Sailors can take for licenses and certifications paid for by the Navy. “It’s a tool that needs to be utilized that many Sailors are not,” he added.
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jessica Zunk, who also works in NMPDC at WRNMMC, said Navy COOL is not only "a great opportunity" for Sailors to be able to get credentialing online, but also for their performance evaluations. "It's a great tool for your future," she added.
For more information about Navy COOL, call HMC David Tayamen at (301) 295-0776, or visit the Navy COOL website at https:www.cool.navy.mil.