Things to Know
Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) assists active-duty and Reserve Sailors by funding the certification and licensing exams that map their Navy and civilian educations, training, experience, and competencies to industry/civilian credentials and occupational equivalents.
To date, Navy COOL, which is overseen by the Center for Information Warfare Training, has funded more than 175,000 credentials for more than 65,000 Sailors.
"Navy COOL helped enable me to obtain a highly sought-after radiation protection technologist (RPT) certification," said Nuclear Trained Machinist Mate 1st Class David Platt. "They helped me expedite funding the exam and were extremely helpful in aiding me in enrolling for the examination. ... I was very well prepared once the exam came and was able to pass and obtain my certification."
Here are seven interesting things to know about the program.
1. There are 1,700 funded credentialing opportunities available for enlisted Sailors, and more than 1,500 are mapped to officer designators.
Credentialing provides Sailors with greater flexibility in managing their military careers. In the future, the marketplace detailing environment will draw on Sailors' complete backgrounds, including credentials, when matching them with possible assignments, a key element of the Sailor 2025 Rating Modernization. These changes align with education trends toward "stackable" credentials, which can be a blend of academics, technical training, apprenticeships, certifications and licenses.
Also, because no one is in the Navy forever, it is important that service members demonstrate, through civilian-credentialing, that their skills are on par with those of their civilian peers. In fact, some employers - not to mention federal, state, and local laws - may require candidates for certain jobs to have specific licenses and certifications.
Credentials available through Navy COOL include CompTIA Security+ce, Microsoft Office specialist, Six Sigma Green Belt, FAA airframe and powerplant mechanic, certified executive chef, open water diver, registered medical assistant, emergency medical technician and national lifeboatman.
Sailors can take advantage of Navy COOL opportunities shortly after initial training. In fact, civilian credentialing can contribute to military career development, and may be accepted for self-development requirements and performance evaluations.
(View Navy COOL videos here and here.)
2. Obtaining credentialing is easy.
Navy COOL plays a role in the four-step credentialing process, but Sailors also need to reach out directly to the credentialing agency or exam vendor.
1) Find and select related credentials.
Use COOL's "find" feature, here, to see how Navy and/or civilian training and experience matches up with civilian credential requirements. The search can be done by rating, designator, collateral duties, or out-of-rate assignments.
Note that to be eligible, a Sailor must be in a rating, prior rating, collateral duty, or out-of-rating assignment, or have been trained in or have worked in a position to which the credential is mapped. Sailors must also have passed their most recent advancement exams and physical fitness assessments (or have had them waived), and have at least six months remaining on their enlistments or service obligations. For additional eligibility requirements, see "Checking Your Eligibility," here.
2) Complete voucher for exam or maintenance fee funding and apply.
Once the applicable credentialing exam or maintenance fee a Sailor wants funded has been selected, and he or she has confirmed eligibility for the funding, the next step is to complete the voucher request, here, to apply for funding.
3) Get credential.
After the credential fee has been funded by Navy COOL, a Sailor should contact the credentialing organization or test vendor to schedule and take the exam. Navy COOL is not a credentialing organization and does not itself offer or conduct the exams.
4) Report results to Navy COOL.
Once the appropriate exams are taken or the requirements are met for certification, a Sailor reports the favorable results to COOL and other agencies, here -- where additional information on each step is also available.
3. Navy COOL offers access to other professional-development requirements.
The Learning and Development Roadmap (LaDR) is available on Navy COOL's website, here. It can be used to optimize a Navy career path based upon training and education milestones for a given rating at each paygrade.
Navy COOL also lists Advancement Exam Bibliographies (BIB), here, for every rating. These lists of occupational and professional military knowledge references help guide Sailors in their studies. Advancement candidates should check the bibliography a few times before the applicable exam date to ensure that they are studying the most current information. Navy COOL maintains the most current versions.
4. Navy COOL supports DON civilians.
The DON Civilian COOL, here, is a resource tool, mapping certifications and licensure based on formal training and on-the-job experience. It is searchable by federal occupation code or title. Navy employees will find explanations for the different types of credentials and possible avenues for financial assistance. DON Civilian COOL does not provide funding, however.
5. Navy COOL representatives are easy to reach via phone, email, or live chat.
Navy COOL representatives can be reached at email@example.com or (850) 452-6683/6324.
All Navy COOL websites, including Department of the Navy (DON) COOL, Navy COOL and DON Civilian COOL, also have a live chat feature, available between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time. Representatives for all ratings are available to answer questions and help get vouchers approved through a relatively simple, streamlined process.
6. Navy COOL is mobile.
Navy COOL has an app that provides credentialing information. It also offers BIBs, LaDRs, and United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) trades and ratingiinformation cards. The app is essentially a toolbox that helps Sailors make informed professional-development decisions.
Download the app here, or directly from the iOS and Android app stores. The Navy COOL app video is here, for more information.
In addition, Navy COOL "To Go," here, allows Sailors with limited internet connectivity to download the program to a CD or computer desktop and use it on any workstation.
7. Navy COOL has many success stories.
"Obtaining the national phlebotomy certification was super easy and straightforward. There was no test involved, but there was an experience requirement, so there is no excuse why a hospital corpsman shouldn't have it," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Dezmen Young. "It is 100 percent free through Navy COOL, and can help in the Navy and for a job outside of the Navy."
To read more success stories, click here.