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Boost Your Credentials

With the Guard's reimbursement program, you can break down career barriers and break even financially
The reimbursement program offers free testing for at least 14 different certifications on the state and national level. ©Thinkstock
The reimbursement program offers free testing for at least 14 different certifications on the state and national level. ©Thinkstock

Soldiers aiming to further their military career, enhance their civilian professional skills or become more competitive in today’s job market have a tool in their kit that they may not even know about: the Army National Guard certification, licensure and reimbursement program.

Federal or state law may require specific credentials to perform certain jobs. To legally work as a physician assistant, for example, you must first pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) and become licensed by your state. And because they demonstrate to employers that your skills are on par with civilian jobholders, credentials may also mean higher pay and better chances for promotion. This Guard program offers free testing via a reimbursement process for hundreds of nationally and state-accredited exams and licensures. Common reimbursements include:

National Level

  • Network Security Administrator (NSA)
  • Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)
  • Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP)
  • Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)
  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

State Level

  • Real estate agent
  • Investment advisor
  • Home inspector
  • Electrician
  • Barber
  • Dietitian

Reimbursable expenses include the full cost of eligible certifications, licensures and exams, as well as associated registration fees; however, exams and certifications required for a Soldier’s designated military occupational specialty are not authorized for refund. You may be reimbursed for prep courses and study materials up to $500 per exam. Reimbursements are subject to the availability of funding and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests must be submitted within 90 days of the exam date. The benefit is available exclusively for Soldiers; spouses and children are not eligible.


  1. Verify that the exam is listed at the Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) website.
  2. Take and pass the exam.
  3. If you don’t already have one, create a student account at
  4. Provide the following to your Guard State Education Office:
    + Copy of score report
    + Proof of payment for registration, exam fee, prep course and/or study materials
    + Completed reimbursement request form dated Oct. 1, 2014, or later
    + Completed SF-1199A Direct Deposit Sign-up Form (only needed if you don’t have a current vendor ID)

Visit for a comprehensive list of approved national exams, or contact your local Education Office for info on certifications available in your state.