Military Spouse Career Advancement (MyCAA) Scholarship Program

Updated: December 23, 2022
In this Article

    The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) Scholarship provides up to $4,000 of Financial Assistance for eligible military spouses who wish to continue their education by pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field or occupation.

    MyCAA Benefits for Military Spouses

    The MyCAA Scholarship provides numerous benefits to eligible military spouses. These benefits include:

    Training and Education Financial Assistance

    MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of up to $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses in acquiring the professional credentials needed to meet their portable career goals.

    Note: It’s possible to obtain an annual cap waiver if the upfront costs exceed $2,000 (up to the maximum education benefit of $4,000).

    Employment Readiness Counseling

    Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) career coaches are available to all military spouses married to active-duty service members of all ranks. Military spouses do not need to be eligible to receive MyCAA financial assistance or be interested in pursuing higher levels of education to use these counselors. 

    However, counseling services can help MyCAA military spouses identify additional sources of federal, state, and local financial assistance, expanded career choices and opportunities, and necessary support resources (e.g., childcare, transportation, books, computers, equipment, supplies, etc.).

    Employment Assistance and Career Services

    MyCAA makes referrals to networks of military-friendly employers for spouse participants who have completed their programs of study using MyCAA funding and are ready to seek gainful employment. Examples include the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, USAJOBS.gov, CareerOneStop.org and Blue Star Families Blue Star Career Center.

    Who Qualifies for MyCAA?

    Those eligible for MyCAA include spouses of active-duty, National Guard, Coast Guard or reserve service members in certain pay grades (E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2). 

    To qualify, you must submit your request while your spouse is on Title 10 military orders. You remain eligible if your spouse is promoted above O-2 if you have an approved education plan before the promotion.

    Spouses must have completed high school or obtained a GED and must complete their program of study within three years from the start date.

    Current employment does not affect your eligibility.

    You may still be eligible for Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) services, even if you do not qualify for the MyCAA financial assistance.

    Ineligible for MyCAA

    Those not eligible for MyCAA include:

    • Spouses who are members of the armed forces themselves and are currently on Title 10 orders
    • Spouses who are married but legally separated
    • Spouses of a National Guard or Reserve service member with a status of warning orders, alert, post-deployment, demobilization or transition

    How to Apply for MyCAA

    To apply for MyCAA, create a MyCAA account by visiting the MyCAA website

    Note: You will need a DS Logon, which you also use to access MySECO or TRICARE Online.

    You’ll want to explore approved MyCAA career fields (see below) and licensure programs. A SECO career coach can help you explore career interests.

    From here, find a school that matches your interests and offers licenses, certificates and degrees, then create a personalized Education and Training Plan (ETP) with a career coach and your chosen school. 

    Note: this is a mandatory step. Include a range of potential elective courses because once the ETP is approved, you cannot edit it or add courses. Approval of the plan can take up to 14 business days.

    Next, work with the selected school’s admissions advisor to complete the application process.

    MyCAA Approved Career Fields

    Use the MySECO Research Occupations Tool to find in-demand, portable careers in your area or nationwide.

    The following career fields are approved for MyCAA funding:

    • Aerospace
    • Animal Services
    • Automotive Services and Transportation
    • Business, Finance and Administration
    • Construction
    • Education
    • Energy
    • Health and Human Services
    • Homeland Security
    • Hospitality
    • Information Technology
    • Legal
    • Skilled Trades: In-demand jobs that require certification or other credentials and provide the flexibility necessary for military spouses’ frequent relocations. Use the MySECO Research Occupations Tool to find in-demand professions in your area or nationwide. The following are approved skilled trades for the MyCAA program. Each program already has approved technical schools and more are being routinely added.
    • Aesthetician or Skin Care Specialist
    • Barber
    • Colorist
    • Cosmetologist
    • Designer
    • Journalist
    • Make-up Artist (must provide copy of cosmetology license to SECO staff)
    • Mortuary Science
    • Musical Instrument Repair
    • Nail Technician
    • Photographer
    • Sales Manager
    • Translator/Interpreter
    • Writer/Editor
    • Yoga (you must complete all credit hours in-person – distance learning or online programs will not be covered)
    • Nursing (must meet certain qualifications in the Education and Training Plan and include pre-requisite courses.)
    • Other training programs listed in the MyCAA-approved programs

    Note: all career fields and skilled trade programs have different additional criteria. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your career coach or Employment Readiness staff.

    MyCAA FAQs

    Do spouses have to select a school that is participating?

    MyCAA recommends finding an approved school. However, if your desired school is not a participating school, you will need approval, which can take up to 60 days. Only the school can apply for the MyCAA program. You can encourage a school to apply and even provide the link to the application.

    What Will MyCAA Pay For?

    Once your Education and Training Plan (ETP) is approved, MyCCA will pay for included tuition costs and licensure or examination fees that lead to an associate’s degree, certification or license. MyCCA will only pay for courses or examinations listed in the ETP.

    MyCAA will not pay for other costs, including:

    • Associate degree programs in general studies, liberal arts, or unspecified Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Reimbursements for previous or current studies
    • Books, supplies, uniforms, equipment or electronic devices such as computers, laptops or tablets
    • Supplemental activities and events
    • Fees other than for exams and licenses (Note: some exams, such as entrance exams, and licenses, such as private licenses,
    • may not be covered
    • Ungraded (audited) or repeat courses

    Note: Program participants develop plans with their school and MyCAA Career Counselor or Employment Readiness staff. You typically outline expenses at that time and get informed of what is and isn’t covered for your chosen career path.

    When Are Guard/Reserve Spouses Eligible?

    Eligibility for spouses of Guard and Reserve members begins with the date of the alert or warning order for military recall or mobilization. The eligibility period lasts through activation and deployment until 180 days following demobilization.

    Which Spouses Are Not Eligible For MyCAA?

    Military spouses with marital status described as “legally separated” (by state law or court order) are ineligible. Spouses who are themselves active-duty members, Guard or Reserve on Title 10 orders are ineligible.

    Spouses married to service members in pay grades E-6 and above, W-3 and above, and O-3 and above. If the service member is promoted after the spouse has been accepted into the MyCAA program, then the ineligibility is waived.

    Note: Pending activation orders and financial assistance can affect program eligibility. Consult the Employment Readiness staff or career coach regarding your situation. Bottom line: It never hurts to ask when it comes to benefits.

    What Is The MyCAA Hardship Waiver?

    MyCAA features a hardship waiver MyCAA spouses can use in certain circumstances such as unexpected health problems, military re-assignments, emergency leave, etc. Hardship waivers must be signed by the military member’s supervisor, support staff, First Sergeant, etc. This waiver must be requested by the spouse through the My Career Advancement Account Spouse Portal.

    Note: If you fail a course twice, regardless of the first waiver, the spouse’s MyCAA account will be locked and funding will be terminated. For specific family situations, please contact your designated employment readiness staff or career coach.

    Is There A Time Limit To Use MyCAA Once I Sign Up?

    Generally, an associate degree program cannot be longer than 12 months, and a license/certification program cannot be longer than 18 months. There are no exceptions to these time frames. Due to school payment schedules and failed courses, spouses may contact their career coach or employment readiness staff to discuss waiver options.

    Can I Use MyCAA Twice?

    MyCAA offers qualifying military spouses a maximum of $4,000 but there is an annual cap of $2000, which means you can apply for funds twice (assuming the full $2000 is used each time). A scenario where this makes sense is for certificate programs where you are advancing your portable career such as flight instruction or hair stylist techniques.

    Do I Have To Pay Back MyCAA?

    MyCAA is considered a scholarship, not a loan or other type of repayable financial aid. Those using MyCAA are responsible for any remaining expenses above and beyond MyCAA assistance.

    Can Military Spouses Use MyCAA To Pursue A Graduate Degree?

    MyCAA is for undergraduate work, licenses, certification, etc. Spouses may apply to take “any program of study from an accredited school or institution” leading to a license, certification, certificate, or associate degree. The program does permit the applicant to take advanced courses needed to satisfy Continuing Education Units (CEU) requirements in an approved program. There may be other options depending on the program. Please consult with your Employment Readiness staff or career coach for specific situations. It is always important to remember that your chosen program must stick to the approved Education Training Plan (ETP).

    Where Can I Get More Information?

    Contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) Consultant at 800-342-9647 or use the online live chat during the hours of 7 a.m.-10 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. EST on Saturdays. You may also email them at: [email protected] Once you establish an account, you can message staff directly.

    Written by Veteran.com Team

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