Getting a free certification voucher for military, veterans, and spouses

Getting a free certification voucher for military, veterans, and spouses

Just a quick post about free certification education and vouchers for Veterans, military members transitioning to civilian life, Reservist, National Guard, or military spouses:

For people who have served in the military and want a certification such as A+, Network+, CISSP, etc. then I recommend checking out Onward to Opportunity (O2O) or CyberVetsUSA for education and certification help. However, today I will talk about O2O, as I got accepted to get free education and one voucher for CompTIA, Cisco, Oracle, or any other exam that they offer.

Onward to Opportunity is possible by the Schultz Family Foundation

First, I would like the Schultz Family Foundation and other sponsors for making this possible. Exam vouchers can cost as high $400 (such as CompTIA A+ cert.) and education is getting more expensive every year. O2O makes it easier for military members who are transitioning to civilian life and want a certification for their new career.

For me, I wanted a Security+ or the Server+ exam voucher. I believe I was just googling "free certifications for Veterans" and I came across to this website. Lucky me.

Collaboration between the Department of Defense, Schultz Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

First, O2O offers more than information technology certification. You can also get your business management, Project Management, Java (SE8 Certification), or other certs. Others will comes along in the near future. For more info:

I just filled out the online form to know more and I got an email telling me that there is an information session that I must attend in order to know if this is right for me.

In San Diego, I attended the July 2019 session:

When I arrived (July 18th, 2019 session), I noticed that there were like 20+ people. The Onward to Opportunity program coordinator explained to us that there are limited seats and there are mandatory cohorts that people must attend. Cohort is just a session that gives us more information about its careers, networking with people, FAQ, etc.

The cohorts happens 4 times a year: You must plan ahead and must attend a 3 day class in business casual attire.

Currently live at/within 50 miles or reasonable commuting distance from a military base

Although this program offers online education, some courses are offered in certain locations. For example, the O2O website describes getting the CCNA Cyber Op cert:

CCNA Cyber Operations (applicants for this pathway must be residents of NC, VA, or MD)

So, not all applicants will get their desired certification/education. Also, in order to attend this program, you'll need to live near a military base. For a quick list (and growing):

There can be a small chance that O2O can accept people who are not near (like 50 miles) a military base. The only way to find out is to fill out the application and choose "Not located near any of the above listed installations" in the form.

I live in California and I choose the San Diego one. I could have chosen the Camp Pendleton, but San Diego is closer. The typical 3 day cohort looks like this:

Onward to Opportunity – Cohort 3 day schedule

The 3 day mandatory Cohort is just networking and knowing the office culture. After that, you will get information about how to get your education online later.

So, I will write a part 2 once I'm done with O2O program. I believe its a 6 month program, but if you can get your certification voucher sooner if you are a speedy learner.

Before I go, please go to this FAQ web page if you or a friend are interested:

See you later!

Author: jesueRocha, Jesue Rocha

Oh, I'm the cutest!

Just another programmer/network/security person

Loves technology and retro video games. Likes to program on his spare time and rides a Kawasaki Ninja to the sunset 24/7.