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Continue your college education at JBLM

In-person college degree programs offered at JBLM

JBLM education services specialist Teal Hart took The Ranger on an educational tour through Stone Education Center’s College Mall. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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Most of us remember being 17 and impatient to graduate from high school and put chalky classrooms and tedious homework assignments far behind us. Most of us also remember the hard realization years after graduation that an education is seldom complete after high school. Nowadays, a college education has become more important than ever, especially for military servicemembers whose profession takes them out of the civilian workforce. Servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) can rest easy, though, because the education facilities on post provide a wide selection of in-person, classroom-based degree programs to help them keep their professional edge.

"We're talking about civilian education," said Teal Hart, an education services specialist and college programs coordinator at the Stone Education Center. "Whether you're military or civilian ... you can still take classes on base (at JBLM). Stone Education Center will service anyone who wants to go to school and who has authorization to be on base."

In total, eight colleges and universities offer in-person degree programs at JBLM. Courses for the degree programs are offered at classrooms in either Stone Education Center or McChord Field Education & Training Center. Those academic institutions are Brandman University, Central Texas College, Central Washington University, City University of Seattle, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Pierce College, Saint Martin's University and University of Maryland University College.

"If people want to have a direct (educational) exchange, we have local programs and degrees here that they can complete in the classroom," said Petra Weinheimer Rodriguez, an educational counselor at McChord Field Education & Training Center. "Of course, a lot of people appreciate that most of these classes are also offered in a hybrid or online format. Our (student) population works shifts, or they're deployed a lot, so it's really important for them to know that if they start an (in-person) program, they can finish it in a different format."

Of the institutions above, Central Texas College, Central Washington University, City University of Seattle and University of Maryland University College offer in-person college programs at Stone Education Center only. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's degree programs, on the other hand, are exclusive to the McChord Field Education & Training Center. But even though these institutions only hold classes at one education center, their representatives can "float" between either education centers to meet with prospective students or hold information sessions whenever needed.

Another important distinction to be made is where servicemembers should go to start the process of signing up for a college degree program. Army servicemembers should head straight to Stone Education Center, where "counselors and staff will help anyone," said Hart. "But the system we use here at Stone Education Center is GoArmyEd." Air Force servicemembers should go to McChord Field Education & Training Center, where they can utilize the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC) system. Through GoArmyEd and AFVEC, servicemembers can set-up Tuition Assistance and enroll in their degree program of choice. They can also coordinate with education counselors like Hart and Weinheimer Rodriguez to attend those in-person degree programs exclusive to either education center.

"Counseling is something that a lot of people miss," said Weinheimer Rodriguez. "Just take a few hours of time to sit down with a counselor and talk through what you really want to do, because this (military) career won't last forever."

McChord Field Education & Training Center, 851 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 301, McChord Field, Education Services, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, 253.982.9900,

Stone Education Center, 6242 Colorado Ave., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Advising Services, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Wednesday and Friday; 1-4 p.m., Thursday; closed Saturday and Sunday, 253.967.7174,

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