BY MASSIMO STEFANOVIC
Are you looking at going to university or college, and wondering how you are going to pay for it? Currently, the average post-secondary student will spend $6000 – $12000 yearly on paying for their tuition, books, and academic supplies. The question is: how will you pay these associated fees? Some may suggest getting a student loan, others will tell you to beg your parents, or get a scholarship. However, there is an easier option that some may consider to be the better choice. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) offers the public the opportunity of completing school without having to pay a penny for your tuition, books, or any academic equipment. A bonus is that not only will they cover many of your costs, but you will also receive a monthly salary with dental, medical, and paid vacation.
Now you are probably thinking, what’s the catch, what do they want me to do? The tradeoff is that upon graduation for every month the CAF paid for your tuition you must complete two months of full-time service in the ranks of the CAF. During your summers you will be required to attend summer training to complete your Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) or Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) and the training course for the job you plan to take on during your service time. If you plan to enter university with a paid CAF tuition, you will be required to take BMOQ over the summer and serve as an officer during your service time. If you choose to enter the college stream with a CAF paid tuition, you will be required to take the BMQ over the summer and serve as a soldier for their required service time. Of course, you are paid for your time during the summer and your service time. Those who choose this program are given the chance to choose a job in the forces that suits their interests. For example, you can serve in the military police sector, infantry sector, medical sector, or armoured sector etc, these are just a few of the many opportunities. The minimum pay for a year of service for a soldier starts at $49 400 and can be more based on the qualifications you have for the job of a soldier. The minimum pay for an officer is $51 000, it can be more based on how qualified the CAF determines you for you are for your selected occupation. As time passes by, your pay will increase as you get promoted to higher ranks. After your required service is complete, you have the freedom to either continue your service in the CAF, or leave and find a new occupation. Your time serving the Canadian forces will be rewarded with some great skills, training, and experience that would benefit you both physically and mentally for the rest of your life. To list service in the CAF on your resume backs up many of these skills, and demonstrates that you are able to be committed to your goals. So give it a thought, as it is a chance to graduate with a guaranteed job and without a penny in student debt. Who knows, you might find a career in the forces that suits your interests.