VA Offers Vocational and Educational Counseling

June 17, 2013 | Terry Howell

By Curtis L. Coy -

Did you know that VA can provide free vocational and educational counseling services for transitioning Servicemembers and individuals eligible for GI Bill benefits (Montgomery, VR&E, Post-9/11, etc.)?  Counseling can take place at a Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office or out based location, training facility, or military installation.  After receipt of an application, a counseling appointment will be set for eligible Servicemembers and Veterans.

VA Counseling services may include the following:

  • Interest and aptitude testing.
  • Occupational exploration.
  • Assistance with setting occupational goals.
  • Assistance with locating an appropriate academic or training program.
  • Academic or adjustment counseling during training to help overcome problems or barriers during school.
  • Services to help prepare for a new career.

As you might imagine, getting advice for any or all of those can help guide you or a Veteran to your eventual employment goals.  A transitioning Servicemember is defined as a Servicemember within six months of discharge from active duty or a Veteran within one year following discharge from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions.   Servicemembers and Veterans eligible for any VA education benefit may also apply. A service connected disability is not a requirement in order to be eligible for free counseling services.

To apply for counseling benefits, transitioning Servicemembers or Veterans should fill out VA Form 28-8832, Application for Vocational Educational Counseling, or download the application at  Counseling services are provided by the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program’s staff or by contract counselors.  For more information visit

About the Author:
Curtis L. Coy is the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity for the Veterans Benefits Administration.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.


  1. what is there for a Ret.AF Vet. wife who wants to go back to school. we deal with all the left overs. my husband dealing with PTSD and all that the war left us with,now my Son is in the Army in AFganistan.please do something for the wives,mothers. we serve with out pay!!! and suffer without help at all, is there counseling for wives,what is there in the VA programs for their wives.thanks!

  2. I am 60% with the sleep apnea being my biggest handicape. I went to my first appointment and watched a video and took the assessment test and i was approved fot eh career field i wanted to pursue. I go back in to days to make the plan. During the video it said the VA provided a laptop and printer for those who qualify and return to school. My question is if we do research on the best Laptop for college available and a printer and provide them that proof will they consider that?