FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 23, 2015) -- If asked, "What are some of the primary considerations when changing career paths," what pops into your mind? Would your thought be interest, experience or maybe education?

Fort Leonard Wood's free Transition Summit, scheduled May 5 to 6, will address each of those areas. Registration is requested but not a requirement to attend. Preregister at http://HIRINGOURHEROES.org for the summit that will feature employers, employment resources and institutions of higher learning.

"Service member's training and the benefits they earn through military service actually addresses these (areas)," said Tom Kelly, Fort Leonard Wood Education Services officer.

Interest
Don't know what you want to do when you grow up. The Kuder Assessment is a tool that can help when taken advantage of by service members, according to Kelly.

The assessment is free to Soldiers and can be accessed through the GoArmyEd portal.

The Kuder Assessment asks a series of questions and, based on the responses given, provides a customized, evidence-based career assessment. The assessment can help Soldiers with their education and career planning.

Kelly said another way to obtain a career assessment is to meet with some of the more than 100 employers and 20 institutions of higher education that will be on hand during the summit.

Experience
The Army has more than 150 Military Occupational Specialties. Military police, plumbers, electricians, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist, to name a few.

How Soldiers validate or translate the skills that they learn in the military has always been a challenge, Kelly said. Through the Soldier for Life Program, the Army assists Soldiers in both of these areas.

During resume writing classes, the SFL (formerly Army Career and Assistance Program) counselors help Soldiers translate their military training and experience to civilian language.

The Army has become more involved in helping Soldiers earn credentials that validate the experience and the training they receive. The U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command is working to link credentialing opportunities to every MOS in the Army.

"This is a win-win for the Army and its Soldiers, said Chevina Phillips, Education Services specialist. "By linking MOSs to civilian credentials, the Army encourages Soldiers to formalize and elevate the training they receive, which strengthens their skills while they are in the military and helps prepare them for life after the military."

Education
"An education credential is one of the primary qualifications needed to qualify for many occupations," Kelly said. "Soldiers earn a number of education benefits, because of their military service." Tuition assistance is the primary benefit Soldiers use while on active duty or while in an actively drilling reserve status.

Tuition assistance pays 100 percent of the cost of tuition up to $250 per semester hour and covers a maximum of 16 semester hours per fiscal year.

Many Soldiers also qualify for federal student aid. Depending on previous year's income, the number of children and number of Family members currently enrolled in college, Soldiers and their spouses each may receive up to $5,775 during the next award year (July 1 to June 30, 2016).

Soldiers may also be eligible for the Montgomery and/or the Post 911 GI Bills. They can use the GI Bill to pay for education, on-the-job training or certification tests during or after their military service, Kelly said.

If you want to explore your interests, search for information or funding for a certification, or to begin/continue an education program, the education counselors at the Truman Education Center can help establish and pursue those goals.