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Educational and Vocational Counseling


Educational and Vocational Counseling, in the context of VA benefits, refers to the professional guidance provided to veterans, service members, and their dependents to assist with their educational and career choices. This counseling helps individuals explore, define, and work towards achieving their education or career goals. Services may include assessing interests and abilities, exploring educational programs, and identifying suitable employment opportunities.

Key Takeaways

  1. Educational and Vocational Counseling, also known as Chapter 36 services, helps veterans, service members, and dependents explore potential educational and career paths and provides guidance in selecting appropriate courses and opportunities tailored to their abilities and interests.
  2. Eligible beneficiaries include transitioning service members, veterans with a discharged or released status, as well as dependents of veterans who are eligible for VA education benefits. It assists them in setting short- and long-term educational and vocational goals, and in overcoming barriers to achieve these objectives.
  3. To apply for Chapter 36 services, beneficiaries can complete a VA Form 28-8832 (Application for Counseling) and submit it to the nearest VA Regional Office, or they may apply online through VA eBenefits portal. The counseling services are provided free of charge as a part of VA benefits.


Educational and Vocational Counseling is an important aspect of VA benefits because it empowers veterans, service members, and eligible dependents to make well-informed decisions regarding their educational, vocational, and employment objectives.

By offering guidance and resources tailored to their unique needs, skills, and experiences, this service plays a crucial role in facilitating a smooth transition from military to civilian life while maximizing their chances for personal and professional success.

These invaluable counseling services can not only improve the overall well-being of the individuals involved but also contribute to the enrichment of communities and the workforce at large by fostering the growth of qualified and driven professionals.


Educational and Vocational Counseling is a significant aspect of the VA benefits designed to support veterans, service members, and their dependents in achieving their academic and professional goals. The purpose of this service is to provide individuals with personalized career guidance and planning with respect to their unique aptitudes, skillsets, and interests.

By taking advantage of this resource, beneficiaries can navigate the often challenging journey of transitioning from military to civilian life with greater confidence and a clear sense of direction, ultimately empowering them to excel in their future occupations and contribute meaningfully to society. Apart from identifying suitable educational or vocational programs, these counseling services may also offer assistance in overcoming obstacles that may hinder their progress and attainment of success.

The key is to address potential skill gaps and capitalize on available opportunities, such as financial support, mentorships, or training programs, to enhance their preparedness for the competitive job market ahead. Additionally, counselors might provide guidance in developing an actionable roadmap for beneficiaries in their desired careers, thus maximizing the long-term value of the VA benefits that they have rightfully earned through their service.

Overall, Educational and Vocational Counseling contributes substantially to the holistic wellbeing of veterans and their families, ensuring that they receive the necessary support required to excel in both their personal and professional lives.

Examples of Educational and Vocational Counseling

College Selection: A veteran is planning to enroll in college after completing their military service. They want to find the right program that fits their interests and career goals. The VA Benefit for Educational and Vocational Counseling provides them with professional counseling assistance to help them evaluate their educational options and choose an appropriate field of study. This service helps the veteran to make informed decisions about their post-military education and set attainable career goals.

Skills Assessment: A veteran who is transitioning to civilian life may be unsure about how to apply their military skills and experience to a new career field. They can utilize the VA Benefit for Educational and Vocational Counseling to receive an assessment of their strengths, aptitudes, and interests. Based on this assessment, a counselor will work with the veteran to identify suitable career paths and educational opportunities that align with their skills and preferences, ultimately assisting them in making a smooth transition from military to civilian life.

Vocational Rehabilitation: A service member who has been injured during their military service may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation and employment services under the VA Benefits program. The Educational and Vocational Counseling service can help them identify suitable career options that accommodate their unique limitations and challenges. The counselor will help the veteran explore new career fields and develop a plan to pursue the necessary education, training, and certifications needed for success in their chosen field. This support can also include guidance on acquiring assistive technology, reasonable accommodations, and job placement assistance.

Educational and Vocational Counseling FAQ

What is Educational and Vocational Counseling?

Educational and Vocational Counseling is a service provided by the VA that assists veterans, service members, and dependents in achieving their educational and career goals. This includes guidance on choosing the appropriate academic or vocational program, exploring career options, and identifying local resources to support the transition from military to civilian life.

Who is eligible for Educational and Vocational Counseling?

Eligibility for Educational and Vocational Counseling varies depending on individual circumstances. Generally, veterans, service members, and dependents using VA education benefits may be eligible. To determine if you qualify, it’s best to contact your local VA office for specific criteria and requirements.

How can I apply for Educational and Vocational Counseling?

To apply for Educational and Vocational Counseling, first visit the VA website and complete the online application form (VA Form 28-8832). You may also download, print, and mail the form to the appropriate VA Regional Office. After submitting your application, a counselor will reach out to discuss your needs and goals and develop a plan tailored to your individual situation.

Are there any fees associated with Educational and Vocational Counseling?

There are no fees associated with Educational and Vocational Counseling provided by the VA. The service is available to eligible individuals at no cost as part of their VA benefits package.

Can Educational and Vocational Counseling help me find a job?

Educational and Vocational Counseling is focused on helping you achieve your educational and career goals. While it may not directly secure job placement, the guidance and resources provided can assist you in making informed decisions about your future, ultimately increasing your chances of finding employment aligned with your goals and interests.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)
  • Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Joint Services Transcript (JST)

Sources for More Information