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JBLM service members on fast track to college degree

Sgt. Memory Payne Christine Oliver talks to service members about the benefits of the College Level Examination Program.

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A college education is essential in today's job market. Service members have many resources available to help them earn a degree while serving.

Education advisers showed service members a faster way to earn college credit during a College Level Examination Program fair at the McChord Library Dec. 4.

Cindy Spane, a reference librarian for JBLM, talked to service members and retirees about free study materials the library offers to help test takers prepare.

"We have study guides, video iPods, textbooks and DVDs available to check out," Spane said.

"I'm interested in CLEP as a way to get started in college," said Pfc. Kirsten Cook, a veterinary food inspector with 218th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion.

CLEP provides service members a way to earn college credit for knowledge they may already have without taking a class, said Christine Oliver, an education adviser for JBLM education centers.

Many service members face deployments that interfere with taking traditional college classes.

"This is an easier, more convenient way of getting college classes done when taking classes isn't an option," Cook said.

"I learned the hard way that employers want employees to have a degree," said James Crone, readiness specialist at Waller Hall.

The first step to CLEP is contacting an education adviser.

"A college education prepares service members to take off the uniform and put on the civilian suit," Oliver said.

The McChord Library is planning to host another CLEP fair in February.

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