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A Servicemembers Opportunity College, also known as an SOC, is a college that offers college courses and opportunities for enlisted men and women.

When you volunteer to serve your country and enlist in a branch of the armed forces, you may plan on attending college later or taking classes while still enlisted. As you receive orders that require you move to other parts of the country and around the world though, you’ll find that keeping up with your classes is nearly impossible. SOC programs make it easier for enlisted students to complete college degrees and training programs.

What Can You Study?

The United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps all have their own SOC programs available. The classes available through those programs help you meet the requirements necessary to move up through the ranks of your branch. Those classes can also act as vocational training and provide you with valuable skills that help you find work in different military branches. You may earn a degree in computer science or complete a vocational program that prepares you for working with military vehicles.

Who Can Enroll?

Many soldiers assume that SOC programs are only open to those currently enlisted in a branch of the military. While many students are still active in the military, these programs are also open to both the spouses and dependents of enlisted men and women. As you serve your country overseas, your husband or wife and children can take classes back home. The programs are also open to veterans who want to go back to school. You can meet with the Department of Veterans Affairs to find out how much you can get through the GI Bill and how the GI Bill will cover your educational costs.

How Classes Work

Traditional college classes meet between one and five times a week. When you live in a different city, state or country, you will have a hard time attending classes. SOC programs allow you to take classes in one of two ways. If you live and work in an area with a strong Internet connection, you can take classes via the web. If the military sends you to a country that does not have a good Internet connection, you can sign up for distance learning classes. Professors provide you with workbooks and assignments that you complete in the field and mail back for course credit.

Benefits of SOC Programs

According to the official website of the  Servicemembers Opportunity College , SOC programs help you get college credit for the work you did in the military. You can take simple tests that ask you questions about your service and some of the skills you have, and your score determines the amount of college credit you receive. SOC programs also help you transfer credits between colleges to maximize the number of credits you have after retiring from the military. These programs help you get a degree faster than you thought possible.

Those enlisted in the military may change addresses every year or more frequently. As you never know where you will be from one year to the next, you may put off enrolling in college. Servicemembers Opportunity College programs provide enlisted personnel, retired personnel, their spouses and dependents the chance to enroll in college and earn a degree while traveling the world.

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