MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Northern Virginia Community College revamped two of their most sought after associate degree programs for enlisted Marines and family members aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. The information systems technology and business administration degrees are now shorter programs that offer more college credit for military training, said Sam Hill, NOVA provost, addressed Marines and base leaders in a small ceremony at the Voluntary Education Center on July 29.
“We wanted to put together a program where enlisted Marines at Quantico can complete an associate degree [in information technology or business] during their time [aboard the base],” Hill said.
Previously, these programs were designed to take two years to complete, which Hill said usually took up to four years for most military students. The repackaged degrees are designed to take 18 months or fewer, and even shorter, if the service member is serving in a military occupational specialty.
For the IT degree, positions such as a field radio operator, communications chief and cyber network specialist are a few of several MOSs that have transferrable college credits.
“We’ve taken several Object reference not set to an instance of an object.related MOSs and mapped them to the IT degree at NOVA, which means anyone who has the listed job will get around 20 to 24 credits toward their associate degree,” Hill said. “This means some students will start [the program already] almost a third of the way through.”
Currently, the school only maps MOS to degree for IT, but Dan Duffy, education support specialist at NOVA, said their intent is to see how the IT program fares with military students, and then build from there, eventually adding business administration and other programs.
Col. David W. Maxwell, Marine Corps Base Quantico commander, said NOVA’s revamped programs are at the front end of efforts to ease the process of transferring MOS education credits to college credits.
“Generally, military students have to pull their [Joint Services Transcripts] and find [college credit] equivalents for each individual school and then the school still has to make the decision of what they’re going to accept,” Maxwell said. “What makes NOVA unique in that respect is that they’ve already done the homework for you.”
Since courses for each degree will be completed in eight-week increments, as opposed to the entire semester, Michael Turner, dean of students at NOVA, said prospective students should prepare for an intense curriculum. However, Turner said, because of the Marine Corps’ discipline he doesn’t think a rigorous schedule should be an issue for military students.
“Anytime we have an accelerated program at any of our bases, the retention rate of those programs are much higher greater with non-traditional students, like Marines and other military members,” Turner said.
Prospective students who are interested in these programs can contact the Voluntary Education Center at 703-784-3340 for one-on-one academic counseling.