According the SOC website, CAS was developed to “identify specific college and university degree programs that
enhance Soldiers’ leadership and warfighting capabilities and grow the multi-skilled NCO characteristics.”
CAS degree programs are open to Soldiers of any MOS. However, they offer Soldiers in combat arms specialties
in particular the best opportunity to earn credit from their military training. The Army has pre-negotiated the amount of
credit to be awarded by CAS institutions for NCOES courses, but students are limited to certain business- and
management-related degree programs designed to leverage the leadership skills an enlisted Soldier acquires while in
There are two programs that fall under the College of the American Soldier: the Career NCO Degrees Program and the
Enlisted Education Program. (Click for a complete list of degrees offered through each program.) The Career NCO
Degrees Program maximizes credit for military training and education, minimizes residency requirements and allows for
flexibility of completion time to provide NCOs with degree options not tied to an MOS. The Enlisted Education Program
offers entry-level Soldiers in Career Management Fields 11 (infantry), 13 (artillery), 14 (air defense artillery) and 19
(armor) the opportunity to achieve an associate’s degree during their first term of enlistment.
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College of the American Soldier: Credits for combat arms MOSs
Some career management fields, such as medically or technically oriented ones, provide training that closely
mirrors a civilian college classroom, allowing Soldiers to earn a greater amount of credit. Soldiers with an MOS
in infantry or artillery, on the other hand, are given a great deal of training, but their areas of expertise do not
relate to a particular civilian degree. To remedy this, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command created the
College of the American Soldier as an extension of the SOCAD program.
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“There have been problems in the past with colleges accepting credit, and I was a prime example of that,” said
Colimon, a retired sergeant major. “At one point when I was in uniform, I had well over 180 hours of
recommended credit, but I still didn’t have a degree. The schools said, ‘We can only give you 40 out of your
180.’ Now, through the College of the American Soldier, we negotiate the credit upfront. An NCO who has
completed the Advanced Leader Course, the Senior Leader Course, Structured Self-Development and so on
must be given a certain number of credit hours [from a CAS institution] toward a specific degree program. So
there is no guessing game when they present their paperwork to the school.”
In CAS degree programs, Soldiers receive credit for the training and experience they’ve gained as part of their
Army careers, including Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, the Warrior Leader Course, ALC
and SLC. In addition, there are three universities that give credit toward a master’s degree for completion of
the Sergeants Major Course through the College of the American Soldier Advanced Degree Program.
See how many Credits
you have already Earned