Separating from the military is a big event for you and your family, so it's never too early to start planning. Make your transition from military to civilian life easier with help from Department of Defense and military services transition programs. Active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve Component service members, and their spouses are eligible for transition assistance.
Start your transition planning with these resources:
Your transition to civilian life is a significant event for you and your family. Start planning as soon as you know you'll be leaving the military — even if it's a year or more away — by arming yourself with good information, the right skills and a well-developed plan.
Transition assistance is a package of benefits and services to get you and your family ready for a successful transition. Some benefits are required by Congress, and all the benefits help you make the best decisions for your transition to civilian life. Transition is a step-by-step process that involves discovery and decision-making. Here are some of the many important questions transition assistance programs help you answer:
- What skills, talents and experiences do I have that are needed in the civilian workforce?
- What kind of work do I want to do?
- Will I need additional training or education to reach my career goals?
- How do I search for a civilian job and make myself as competitive as possible?
- How can I make the transition to civilian life easier for my family and me?
Transition Assistance Programs
Transition assistance offices are on most military installations in the United States and overseas. Visit the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program for information, tools and training to prepare you and your family for your military to civilian transition. Each military service branch has a transition assistance program, and all offer the same benefits and services.
Service branches are required to verify your military experience and training. Use the Verification of Military Experiences and Training form DD 2586, or VMET, to assess your knowledge, experience and skills as they relate to civilian jobs. The form provides the following information, which you can refer to when you create you military transition resume:
- Military experience and training
- Recommended college-credit information
- Civilian-equivalent job titles
Download your VMET from the Defense Manpower Data Center.
Transition assistance programs offer a range of services to easy your transition to civilian life:
- Preseparation counseling. Start your transition process with a mandatory overview of services and benefits. You'll complete a Preseparation Counseling Checklist (DD 2648) to help identify your needs and guide you through the process. Use this checklist to start developing your individual transition plan, which is your personal action plan for success. Preseparation counseling helps you identify career goals, find resources, and learn about services, entitlements and benefits.
- Department of Labor Employment workshops. Classes focus on skills and tools for transition, jobs for transitioning military, the labor market, military transition resume writing, job search strategies and more.
- Department of Veterans Affairs benefits briefings. Learn about the GI Bill®, health care, VA counseling, the VA home loan program and other VA services and benefits.
- Disabled Transition Assistance Program. A separate VA briefing for transitioning service members with disabilities, it covers vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.
- Installation briefings. Your installation holds classes and seminars on dressing for success, goal setting, change management, and evaluating and negotiating job offers.
- Individual assistance. Your installations transition assistance office provides personal help for you and your spouse for up to 180 days after separation or retirement, including one-on-one support, resources, needs assessments and referrals.
- Online transition assistance. Use websites for job searches, posting your resume, analyzing your skills and comparing salaries and benefits for different occupations and industries.
Take advantage of transition assistance program resources to make your transition journey a success.