Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chablis J. Torrence
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

Sailors looking to make the most of their active duty service can take advantage of a ‘cool’ program that is free for active duty enlisted personnel.

The Navy Credentialing Opportunity Online (COOL) program allows Sailors to apply their acquired job skills toward certain civilian licenses and certifications.

“Credentials hold a lot of weight in the civilian world,” said Mike Tally, a Navy COOL credentialing program analyst, during a Navy COOL briefing at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Because Sailors will be transitioning out of the military at some point, it is important to be thinking in advance about what they’ll be doing in the civilian sector, said Tally.

The Navy COOL program, available though Navy Knowledge Online (NKO), provides information and funding for certifications in areas such as homeland security, graphic design, and many other professional areas.

“I’ve gained a lot of skills since joining the Navy,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Ebony Fortney. “It’s really useful to have a program that lets me use that knowledge to further my career if I choose to get out.”

Less than 1% of enlisted Sailors take advantage of this program each month.

Navy COOL pays for these services using a voucher system which is available on a first come, first serve basis. After filling out and submitting vouchers, Sailors receive a verification number to submit to the credentialing entity as payment. Once that is completed, Sailors only have to schedule their exams and pass their credentials test.

“People are missing out on a great opportunity that can really help them not only in the civilian world but in the Navy as well,” said Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Marionogerard Zamora.

“It shows that you have the initiative to go out there and better yourself not only as a Sailor, but as a member of society.”

The Navy COOL program allows Sailors to utilize the skills they gain in the military and apply them to their chosen careers after leaving the service.