What is SOC?

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is SOC?


acronym SOC stands for “Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges.” It is a

consortium of national higher education associations, which functions in

cooperation with the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Military Services

including the National Guard, and the Coast Guard, to help meet the voluntary

higher education needs of servicemembers.



The acronym SOCAD stands for “Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army

Degrees.” It consists of a select group of more than 100 of the 1,400 SOC

colleges. They evaluate a soldier’s past learning experiences (college courses,

tests, military occupational specialty, Army schools, etc.) and provide the

soldier a Student Agreement, a list of credits awarded and those still needed to

graduate. If the soldier relocates and must complete his degree with courses

from other colleges, they guarantee to accept transfer courses from SOCAD

colleges without individual approval provided the soldier has a signed Student

Agreement from his “home college” (reference

SOCAD Q&A 4 ).


do Army Career Degrees fit into Army Continuing Education System’s vision to

“Create and lead the Army’s premier education organization committed to

excellence in service, innovation, and deployability?”


making the Army their career, Army Career Degrees provide soldiers credible

options for completing college.  This new program allows soldiers to

maximize their learning achieved through their own Army career development

while permitting them to complete their degree programs through distance

learning anywhere in the world.


efforts are being taken to inform soldiers that they should participate in Army

Career Degrees?


are briefed in Basic Non-Commissioned Course (BNCOC) on the SOCAD Career Degree

in their specialty. Other degree options that relate to their specialty are

also included in the packet of information provided in the BNCOC

briefing.  Other support materials, besides print literature, include:

SOC Army Degree Builders website:



Career Degrees are briefed and information provided at ACES workshops, NCO

conferences, and through other venues.


Military Occupational Specialties have SOCAD Degree


The most current list of SOCAD

Degree Builders is located at



can information regarding Army Career Degrees and Service Members Opportunity

Colleges Army Degree-Degree Builders be accessed on their website? 

You will find a brief

introduction and links to current degree builders at


What is

the objective of the education briefing during Basic Non-Commissioned



objective is to introduce soldiers to specific college degree programs that are

closely related to their Army specialties in a format that conveys exactly what

their military experience is worth in completing the degree and precisely how

each course requirement can be met using guaranteed-to-transfer SOCAD courses

and non-traditional means.


courses provided by institutions as part of the Army Career Degree Program

replace training instruction core to the noncommissioned officer education



taken from colleges and universities to complete an Army Career Degree does not

substitute for military training courses core to noncommissioned officer

education system (NCOES). This coursework should, however, be complementary and

supportive of soldier’s career development.

What is

the role of the Education Centers?


Army Continuing Education

System guidance counselors, education services specialists (ESS), and education

services officers (ESO) should be familiar with Army Career Degrees. When

soldiers in-process, guidance counselors:

  • Explain the program and how it relates to their specific MOS.

  • Explain how soldiers can find guaranteed sources of credit to earn an

    Army Career Degree and refer them to colleges offering the degrees.

  • Instruct soldiers in how to request an official evaluation of prior

    learning and insist on issuance of a Student Agreement that reflects the

    results of that evaluation and provides a clear road map to degree completion.

Was there a pilot to test the

feasibility of implementing Army Career Degrees? 


Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, N.J., in partnership with SOC, HQDA ACES,

and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) developed a SOCAD Army

Career Degree for career management field (CMF) 67,  aviation maintenance.

The 1999 pilot lasted seven months. The results showed support for the concept.

The SOCAD Career Degree format proved effective in allowing the college to

articulate guaranteed credit based on learning achieved through Army training

and experience. Thomas Edison reported a considerable number of inquires

regarding actual enrollment in CMF 67 Army Career Degree Program usually after

soldiers were briefed in BNCOC and became stabilized at their permanent duty


What are the criteria for expanding

Army Career Degrees into other military occupational specialty/career management



criteria for expansion includes:

  • Field density/BNCOC density

  • Technical content of the MOS

  • Viability of the MOS in the Army

  • Viability of the MOS skills in the private sector

  • Existence of a college willing to craft a SOCAD

    Career Degree in the specialty

How is the Army Career Degree Program

being evaluated? 


U.S. Army; U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC); U.S. Medical

Command (MEDCOM); and SOC Program Managers will evaluate the program to

determine the advisability of continuing or expanding the Army Career Degree


  1. Inputs for this evaluation will come from survey

    data provided by: 

    • Participating colleges

    • Army service schools

    • Surveys of soldiers in target groups

    • Selected Army Education Center staff


  2. Colleges, offering the Army Career Degrees, track

    the program activity in terms of:

    • Completed official evaluation of prior learning

      and number of new student agreements issued.

    • Number of semester hours of credit awarded for

      learning achieved through military training and experience that fulfill

      specific course requirements for Army Career Degrees.

    • Number of degrees awarded.

  3. The SOCAD Project Director compares the SOCAD Army

    Career Degree activity against activity in all other technical SOCAD networks

    and reports results to HQ ACES on a quarterly basis.



have colleges and universities been selected to join the Army Career Degree



colleges were asked to make their interest known to the SOCAD Project Director

if they wanted to develop a SOCAD Army Degree in one or

more specialties. 

On October 26, 1999, the HQDA ACES Director and

the SOC Director sent a joint letter to the presidents of each SOCAD institution

thanking them for their past commitment to Army education and soliciting their

interest in partnering with the Army in this initiative. The SOCAD Project

Director, in coordination with the HQDA Project Manager, selected institutions

expressing interest in particular specialties on a first come basis to develop a

SOCAD Army Career Degree in specialties of their interest. 


specialties where no current SOCAD institution expressed a willingness to

develop a SOCAD Army Career Degree, the SOCAD Project Director went to

institutions outside the system recognized for their expertise and distance

learning capacity. The Project Director solicited their interest in joining

SOCAD and in developing a SOCAD Army Career Degree to meet an Army


Where can the latest information on

Army Career Degrees be obtained? 


website contains the latest information of implemented Army Career Degrees:

http://www.soc.aascu.org/socad/Default.html .