TRADE SCHOOLS & THE GI BILL®: A 2023 HOW TO GUIDE

5/8/2023

GI Bill® benefits can help U.S. military veterans get the education they’re looking for.21

However, navigating trade schools and the GI Bill can be tricky if you’re not sure where to start!

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) aims to make training for the skilled trades more accessible, including for veterans who have served the United States. That’s why we offer multiple veteran-exclusive benefits to help veterans access the education they desire.

It’s also why we’ve come up with this guide on the GI Bill!

Continue reading to learn more. We’ll break down what the GI Bill is and how to apply for GI Bill benefits!

What Is the GI Bill?

The GI Bill is officially known as the Servicemembers’ Readjustment Act of 1944. This legislation provides financial assistance and other benefits to veterans returning from active military service.

The original bill provided educational benefits to World War II veterans, allowing them to pursue higher education and gain skills that would help them transition back into civilian life. This helped veterans transition into professional fields that previously were not as accessible due to a lack of formal education, which was difficult for many to obtain without financial assistance.

Read: PTG Diesel Tech Program Helps Retiring Military Members Transition to New Careers

GI Bill Benefits

Here are a few potential GI Bill benefits:

  • Up to 36 months of tuition and fee payments for approved educational programs
  • A monthly housing allowance while enrolled in school
  • An annual books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000
  • The ability to transfer benefits to family members, in some cases

Keep in mind that GI Bill benefits and requirements can change at any time and are also affected by the type of GI Bill program that a veteran chooses to apply for.

Read: BMW MSTEP Program Helps Marine Corps Veteran Transition to Civilian Life

What Is a Trade School and What Are the Advantages?

Trade schools provide hands-on vocational training that teaches students essential skills often required for their desired fields. Here are some advantages of trade school for veterans at UTI:

  • Flexibility: Each program at UTI can be completed in 18 months or less, making it shorter than an education from a four-year university.3 UTI also offers multiple program enrollment dates each year, which can be useful for working professionals whose schedules aren’t flexible.
  • Hands-on learning: Students at UTI are taught practical technician skills in controlled lab and classroom settings using tools and technologies that are found in their chosen fields.18 All of this helps students learn in an environment specifically designed for that purpose.


  • Job placement assistance: UTI offers multiple job placement assistance services, such as the Early Employment Program36 and through our Career Services department, which graduates can use even years after program completion.1
  • Experienced instructors: UTI instructors have years of experience in the field, which means they can clarify course material and offer advice and guidance to students.

Read: Tips for Finding Jobs as a Veteran

Using the GI Bill for Trade School

Eligibility

Veterans should check with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to confirm eligibility criteria. The VA reserves the right to determine a veteran’s eligibility for specific programs and services, as well as the terms and conditions that go with them. Here are some of the eligibility requirements for the four current GI Bill programs, according to military.com:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill®: You must have served at least 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001. In addition, you must have been discharged due to a service-connected disability or received an honorable discharge following serving an aggregate of 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001. Those who also qualify for this include all Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations; Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard; Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency; and all voluntary active duty except those for medical care and medical evaluation.
  • Montgomery GI Bill®: You qualify if you contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months you are in active duty or qualify under Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) conversion; have completed high school or have an equivalent certificate before you apply for benefits; have served at least two years on active duty; and received an honorable discharge from active duty.
  • Reserve and Guard GI Bill®: You qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) if you have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve or Guard signed after June 30, 1985; have completed your initial active duty for training (IADT); have met the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT; and remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment program: You have received or will receive a discharge that is other than dishonorable, have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% or a memorandum rating of 20% or more from the VA and submit a completed application. This program was formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.

Read: What Is a Military Support Welder & How Can You Become One?

Applying

Below is a quick rundown of the GI Bill application process. Click here for more information on the VA’s website.

Step 1: Gather the Required Documents

These documents include:

  • Copy of your DD214 (discharge paperwork)
  • Documentation to prove that you were discharged under honorable conditions, if applicable
  • Any other documents required for specific benefit programs

Step 2: Have Your Information Ready

This information includes:

  • Name and address of the school where you plan on enrolling
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • Education and military history

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Create an online account with the VA, where you can write and submit your application. You can also submit your application by mail.

Step 4: Monitor Your Application

Keep an eye on your account after submission to stay updated on its status.

Step 5: Receive Your Benefits

After your application has been processed and approved, you should start receiving benefits. These payments are usually made directly to your school every month, but they can also be made directly to you online through the VA’s eBenefits portal if needed. Contact the VA to learn more about your payment options!

Read: HVAC Training for Veterans: Is It a Good Option?

How to Find GI Bill-Approved Trade Schools

1. Use the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool

The VA’s GI Bill® Comparison Tool helps veterans compare the benefits of different schools that accept GI Bill benefits. Users can search for trade schools that accept GI Bill benefits based on their geographic location, program type, tuition costs and other criteria.

It also provides information on available courses, tuition costs, housing options and other factors to help veterans determine which GI Bill trade school best meets their needs. Here’s how to use the GI Bill Comparison Tool:

  1. Visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool online.
  2. Enter your zip code or city and state in the search field to find school locations near you.
  3. Select “Approved Training” from the drop down menu. Then choose “Trade Schools” from the list of available options. You will be taken to a page with a list of all GI Bill-approved trade schools.
  4. For each school, double-check details like address, contact information, tuition and fee amounts, and other relevant information.
  5. When you’ve found a trade school that meets your requirements, click the “Request Info” button to get in touch with the school about enrollment and GI Bill benefits.
  6. Follow the school’s instructions to apply and start using your GI Bill benefits at a GI approved trade school, like UTI.20

2. Check With State or Local VA Offices

You can also contact your state or local VA office to see if a trade school offers GI Bill benefits. Your local VA office may also provide information about supplemental programs or benefits available to veterans enrolled in certain GI Bill-approved schools or programs.

Read: How to Become a Mechanic in the Military: Ultimate Guide

FAQs

Does the GI Bill Cover Trade Schools?

Yes, GI Bill-approved trade schools, or VA noncollege degree programs, are covered by the GI Bill!

What Trades Does the GI Bill Cover?

The GI Bill provides funding for a wide range of trade school programs, including automotive, diesel, welding and motorcycle technology training — all of which we offer at UTI. Click here to learn more about our various trade programs!

Consider Trade School With UTI!

Trade school is a great choice for veterans who want to pursue hands-on careers in technical fields that frequently require the rigor, determination and adaptability they honed while serving their country. With GI Bill benefits, this training is made even more accessible by lowering financial barriers that could otherwise prevent former military members from receiving the education they desire!

Still need more information about trade schools and the GI Bill? Request more information by visiting our site today or by contacting an Admissions Representative at 1-800-834-7308. When you’re ready to start learning, apply to UTI!

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
3.1 ) Select programs coming to UTI. Courses vary by campus. For details, contact the program representative at the campus you are interested in attending.
18 ) UTI now offers all of its automotive, diesel, motorcycle and marine technician training in a blended-learning format consisting of online lecture courses along with in-person, hands-on lab training.
20 ) VA benefits may not be available at all campus locations.
21 ) GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.
36 ) Students enrolled in select UTI programs are eligible to apply for the Early Employment Program. Participating employers will contact selected applicants to conduct interviews. Hiring, employee retention and compensation decisions are made solely by the prospective employer. Employer participation and program details are subject to change. For additional information, please contact Career Services. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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