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Staff Sgt. William Caban, U.S. Marine Corps and Intelligence Activity, Individual Mobilization Augmentee Detachment, is the first reservist to graduate from the Career Course held at Marine Corps University aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. Caban, a native of New York City, attended a graduation ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps Sept. 18. Caban continues more than 12 years of government service as a reservist, to include government employment as a regional cultural analyst and linguist for the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning at MCU.

Photo by Valerie O'Berry

CDET adds new option for SNCO education

21 Feb 2017 | Valerie O’Berry Marine Corps Base Quantico

If you can’t attend the resident Career Course at Marine Corps University for staff sergeants, now there is another option – take the new seminar-based training through Marine Corps University.

The new class was started to provide an alternative education venue to Marines who need to take the Career Course, since it is required for promotion to gunnery sergeant.

“Since doing the online MarineNet course (a prerequisite for the Career Course) and going to a resident-like seminar or SNCOA (Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy) is now required for promotion for all ranks, MCU (Marine Corps University) CDET (College of Distance Education and Training) is attempting to provide additional opportunities for Marines to accomplish the resident course requirement since SNCOAs do not have the capacity to accommodate the total force,” said John F. Hemleben, Ph.D., dean of academics  for CDET.

The new training allows for a greater learning experience through interaction with peers and an instructor, thereby helping Marines learn complex concepts surrounding leadership, ethics and war fighting, without attending the resident course.

The Career Course seminar-based program is now fully operational.  The Sergeants Course seminar-based learning program started last week and there are plans to begin a pilot program for the Advanced Course later this year.

“If both are approved by CGs (commanding generals)EDCOM (Education Command) and TECOM (Training and Education Command), then CDET will expand the program to its eight regions located at Marine Corps major bases and stations,” said Hemleben.  

The program’s success will be measured through student assessments, graduates’ perceptions of the value of the program and commanders’ comments about the performance of their Marines after finishing the program.

The value of the program is tangible since currently it places staff sergeants into a college-level seminar worthy of several American Council on Education (ACE) college credits, according to Hemleben. 

“But more importantly, it teaches Marines how to think, not only what to think.  It is an intellectual challenge to participate and complete this program.  Our staff sergeants will feel more confident in their jobs and realize the importance of all that they learned and also how much more there is to learn,” he added.

Instructors include active duty and retired sergeant majors to gunnery sergeants. 

“We have a few prior enlisted officers as well, with several years of SNCO experience”, said Hembleben.  All instructors are certified through a faculty development course and mentoring by CDET faculty developer and regional chief instructors.

For more information about the program email Mark Shigley at

Marine Corps Base Quantico