Navy Funding FAQ

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the Navy’s Credentials Program is expected to fund the credentialing exam/fee, under no circumstances shall the member (or member’s command/organization) register, take, participate in, schedule, or otherwise obligate the member or Government in any Navy-funded credentialing program or exam without completed and confirmed funding from the Navy’s Credentials Program Office.

Graphic of the capitol letters F A Q with a dollar sign in the Q

General Information about Vouchers

The Navy's Credentials Program Office has made Navy-funded credential exam vouchers available at no cost to eligible Navy and Navy Reserve personnel. With Navy funding, those eligible can register to take the credential exam being applied for, be funded for re-certifications, or be funded for maintenance fees.

If you wish to contact the Credentials Program Office:
navycool@navy.mil
(850)452-6683/6664
dsn: 459-6683/6664

Officers can contact:
(850)452-6289/6683
dsn: 459-6289/6683

  • The military is a microcosm of the civilian workforce and has a wide variety of occupations with related civilian credentials.
  • To get a sense of the variety of credentials that have been linked to Navy occupations, use COOL’s Navigator feature (compass icon in upper right corner).

This would occur only if your request fell into one of the two scenarios below:

  1. The program has exhausted its funding for the fiscal year (FY). In this case we would ask you to resubmit October 1st of the following FY. All requests, each FY, will be handled on a first come, first served basis until funding is exhausted.
  2. The credentialing agency which owns the credential requested will not accept payment from a third party on your behalf. If this situation arises you will be notified that we cannot prepay and why. You may, at that time, be pre-authorized for a reimbursement. If you accept the reimbursement option, you may be reimbursed your out-of-pocket expense (for the exam cost only). You are not authorized to incur debt on behalf of the government without prior authorization. Please remember you must ALWAYS submit a voucher request to navycool@navy.mil prior to obligating any funding to a credentialing agency.

The Navy-funded voucher program currently has no deadline; however, there may be a limited number of vouchers available and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the Navy-Funded Exam Voucher section, and then download and submit an SF-1164 form via your command approving official to the Credentials Program Office. Approved reimbursements will be processed to Defense Finance and Accounting Services for direct deposit reimbursement to your bank account on file. The reimbursement option widow begins October 1st and closes the last Friday of May each fiscal year. If a request meets reimbursement criteria after the last Friday of May the requested will rejected to be made available October 1st the following fiscal year.

Eligibility

  • Active Duty Navy and Navy Reserve, less Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and Voluntary Training Unit (VTU), may obtain funding for credential examinations, renewals, maintenance fees, and other mandatory examination administrative fees, referred to below as "professional credentialing expenses."

    Requirements for officer eligibility are addressed near the end of this section.

    Payment of professional credentialing expenses will be authorized if the Service members’ current or prior duties are covered by the credential. The credential is identified as Navy-funded if a Navy Bucks Icon icon is displayed next to it on the COOL website. The Service member must also meet all eligibility criteria and the credentialing agency certification requirements.

    • Enlisted Sailors must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
      1. Be in the appropriate rating or occupation to which the credential is mapped.
      2. Be currently working in, or have been assigned to, a position to which the credential is mapped.
      3. Have prior documented experience in a position to which the credential is mapped for credentials outside of their specific rating, and the credential has relevance or applicability to the current or future needs of the command or the Navy.
      4. Credential being sought is substantially related to an earned academic degree or Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Career Technical Education (SOC CTE) certificate (for example, a degree in Human Resources relates to the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification; SOC CTE Certificate in Supply Chain Management relates to the Certified Professional in Supply Chain Management (CPSM) certification).
    • A Sailor's eligibility for credentials must be validated and approved by their Commanding Officer or command-designated approving official (E-7 or above). Additionally, before authorizing the request, commands must also certify that Sailors:
      1. Have passed their most recent advancement exam.
      2. Have passed, or been medically waived from, their most recent physical fitness assessment.
      3. Have not received a judicial or court-martial punishment within the past 6 months.
      4. Have been recommended for promotion or advancement on their most recent performance evaluation.
    • Sailors must have, at a minimum, six months or greater remaining on their enlistment or military service obligation at the time they receive the certification for which they receive funding. Waivers will be considered by the Navy Credentials Program Office under the following circumstances for Sailors who:
      1. Are being discharged or released from service due to a combat-related injury.
      2. Have less than six months remaining in service, but have completed a minimum of 20 years Navy service. Sailor must be able to complete all certification requirements 60 calendar days prior to separation from Navy.
      3. Have less than six months remaining in service, but will complete 20 years Navy service (e.g. E-6 reaching High Year Tenure or Senior Enlisted retiring at 20 years). Member must be able to complete all certification requirements 60 calendar days prior to separation from Navy.
      4. Intend to reenlist or extend, but are awaiting execution of reenlistment or extension (i.e. pending service reenlistment bonus timeframes). Waiver package must include an OPNAV 1500/57 Navy Credentialing Program Professional Certification and Licensing Voucher Request and a command endorsed and executed NAVPERS 1070/613 Administrative Remarks noting the Sailor’s intention to extend or reenlist.

    Officers may also be eligible for a certification or license voucher, should funding become available, by meeting one of the following eligibility requirements:

    1. Hold the appropriate designator, be in the occupation, or be working in a position to which the credential is mapped.
    2. Currently work in, have orders to, or be assigned to a position in which a subspecialty code has the credential mapped.
    3. Have prior documented experience in a position to which the credential is mapped for credentials outside of their specific designator, and the credential has relevance or applicability to the current or future needs of the command or the Navy.
    4. Have passed, or been medically waived from, their most recent physical fitness assessment.
    5. Have not received a judicial or court-martial punishment within the past 6 months.
    6. Have been recommended for promotion or advancement on their most recent performance evaluation.
    7. Officers must have, at a minimum, six months or greater remaining on their enlistment or military service obligation at the time they receive the certification for which they receive funding. Waivers will be considered by the Navy Credentials Program Office under the following circumstances for Sailors who:
    8. Are being discharged or released from service due to a combat-related injury.
    9. Have less than six months remaining in service, but have completed a minimum of 20 years Navy service. Officer must be able to complete all certification requirements 60 calendar days prior to separation from Navy.
    10. Have less than six months remaining in service, but will complete 20 years Navy service. Member must be able to complete all certification requirements 60 calendar days prior to separation from Navy.

    Note: The command's local approving official for VOLUNTARY credentialing exams is the Commanding Officer (but may be delegated to Dept Head, Division Officer, or Command-designated E7 and above). The command’s local approving official for MANDATORY Cyber IT/CSWF credentialing exams is the Cyber IT/Cybersecurity Workforce Program Manager (Cyber IT/CSWF-PM).

    The approving official must locally validate that the member has documented competency or experience in the position to which the credential is tied (for example, Evaluation, Fitness Report, Personnel Qualification System (PQS), counseling sheet, formal course completion, etc.). The Navy's Credentials Program Office may request competency and experience documentation.

No, only Active Duty, Full-time Support and Selected Reserve enlisted personnel are eligible for Navy-funded vouchers.

Covered Costs

Yes, Active Duty Navy and Navy Reserve, less Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and Voluntary Training Unit (VTU), may obtain funding for credential examinations, renewals, maintenance fees, and other mandatory examination administrative fees, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. For more information, see the Maintenance and Continuing Education Fees page in this section. Cyber IT/CSWF members can also find more information about the funding process on the Cyberspace IT/Cybersecurity Workforce (Cyber IT/CSWF) page under the Funding and Voucher Requests tab.

No. The exam vouchers available under this program can only be used for the credential applied for.

The exam vouchers available under this program can only be used for the credential applied for.

For enlisted personnel, Navy COOL will provide training gap analysis to show you where you can receive, or have received, training towards specific credentials listed as most or some related. In many cases, training/preparation resources will be available for enlisted and officer personnel (Navy Knowledge Online e-Learning and other free sources) to help you prepare for credential exams. The Navy’s Credentials Program Office cannot fund for training, study, or exam preparation materials.

The Navy’s Credentials Program Office will provide additional training gap analysis. Credentials that have this analysis completed are currently identified on Navy COOL with the Has Analysis icon: Has Analysis icon. This training gap analysis is ongoing and will be provided for every credential identified as funded on Navy COOL.

To have mandatory Credentialing funded in support of the Cyberspace IT/Cybersecurity Workforce (Cyber IT/CSWF), you must be U.S. Navy Officer, Enlisted, or Department of the Navy (DON) Civilian (no contractors). You must also be properly designated in the Total Workforce Management Services (TWMS) as a member of Cyber IT/CSWF. Proper designation of the member in TWMS is to ensure accurate requirement tracking and reporting to DON-CIO. These certifications are mandated by DoD 8570.1M.

Voucher Process

You can obtain a voucher for exam funding by submitting an electronic application (available for download via Navy COOL). You can do this by clicking on Step 2, Complete Voucher and Apply in the Main Menu at the top of any page. You will submit the voucher request to your chain of command (normally your Division Officer, Department Head, or other designated approving official). Once your chain of command has verified your eligibility, and you have documented competency and experience within your job, the completed application form must be forwarded from your command’s approving official (the Commanding Officer or authorized officer) to the Credentials Program Office, by email at navycool@navy.mil; or by fax: (850) 452-6897.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the Navy’s Credentials Program is expected to fund the credentialing exam, under no circumstances shall the member (or member’s command/organization) register, take, participate in, schedule, or otherwise obligate the member or Government in any Navy-funded credentialing program or exam without completed and confirmed funding from the Navy’s Credentials Program Office.

Your Commanding Officer (or authorized official E-7 or above) at your command is the approving authority for the COOL program, which is voluntary. The Cyber IT/Cybersecurity Workforce Program Manager (Cyber IT/CSWF-PM) is not an authorized approving authority for voluntary credentials.

Vouchers for officers should be approved by personnel senior in the chain-of-command. Commanding Officers, XO's and OIC's who are within the Cyberspace IT/Cybersecurity Workforce (Cyber IT/CSWF) can have their voucher request approved by the Command CSM or the next Echelon higher CSM. An approving authority cannot sign for his/her own voucher request.

In commands where a Service member's supervisor is a DON civilian, a GS-9 or above may be considered as the approving authority for participation in the COOL voluntary program. If the Service member has military personnel in their direct chain of command the approving authority for the voluntary program must be military. Currently Sailors, Officers and DoD Civilians who are designated Cyberspace IT/Cybersecurity Workforce (Cyber IT/CSWF) are funded in support of DoD 8570.1M requirements. The command approving official for individuals falling under the Cyber IT/CSWF requirements will be the Cyber IT/Cybersecurity Workforce Program Manager (Cyber IT/CSWF-PM). E-7/GS-9 or above not designated in writing as the Command Cyber IT/CSWF-PM are not an approving authority for Cyber IT/CSWF voucher requests. In cases of temporary absence of the Command CSM, the CO/OIC may authorize Cyber IT/CSWF voucher requests.

The application takes only a few minutes to complete. Once your command’s approving official has approved your application he or she will email or fax your application to the Credentials Program Office (the program administrator for the vouchers).

Timeline for Navy Credentials Program funding of credentials:

  1. The Navy’s Credentials Program Office must receive the voucher request from the member or Command Approving Official NO LESS THAN seven (7) business days PRIOR to the exam date.
  2. Voucher requests received less than seven (7) business days PRIOR to the exam date may be processed on a case-by-case basis, or may risk not being approved due to insufficient time available for the Credentials Program Office to ensure funding is in place. (Note: Some vouchers can be processed immediately; others may have to be reviewed by the credentialing agency and may take longer to order/receive).
  3. Voucher requests received greater than sixty (60) calendar days PRIOR to the exam date may be processed on a case-by-case basis, or may be subject to rejection due to exam must be taken within sixty (60) calendar days of Navy Credentials Program Office funding.
  4. Do not submit a voucher request for exam funding unless you are prepared to take the exam within sixty (60) calendar days. In some cases, exams must be funded months in-advance of the exam. This may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Voucher requests submitted after starting, taking, participating in, or otherwise obligating the member or government in any Navy-funded credentialing program or exam without completed and/or confirmed funding from the Navy’s Credentials Program Office will be rejected, and the member will be personally liable for the expense.

The Navy-funded voucher program currently has no deadline. However, program funding restrictions may make vouchers available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Timeline for Navy Credentials Program funding of credentials:

  1. The Navy’s Credentials Program Office must receive the voucher request from the member or Command Approving Official NO LESS THAN seven (7) business days PRIOR to the exam date.
  2. Voucher requests received less than seven (7) business days PRIOR to the exam date may be processed on a case-by-case basis, or may risk not being approved due to insufficient time available for the Credentials Program Office to ensure funding is in place. (Note: Some vouchers can be processed immediately; others may have to be reviewed by the credentialing agency and may take longer to order/receive).
  3. Voucher requests received greater than sixty (60) calendar days PRIOR to the exam date may be processed on a case-by-case basis, or may be subject to rejection due to exam must be taken within sixty (60) calendar days of Navy Credentials Program Office funding.
  4. Do not submit a voucher request for exam funding unless you are prepared to take the exam within sixty (60) calendar days. In some cases, exams must be funded months in-advance of the exam. This may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Voucher requests submitted after starting, taking, participating in, or otherwise obligating the member or government in any Navy-funded credentialing program or exam without completed and/or confirmed funding from the Navy’s Credentials Program Office will be rejected, and the member will be personally liable for the expense.

Once the Credentials Program has fully funded your credentialing exam, you will be notified (via email) that the exam is paid for and that you may now proceed to schedule/take your exam.

You can use your voucher immediately after notification from the Navy’s Credentials Program Office that the exam has been fully funded. You have 60 calendar days from the date of issue to take the exam or the voucher expires (unless specifically coordinated with the Navy’s Credentials Program Office).

You have 60 calendar days from the date of issue to use the voucher, or the voucher expires (unless specifically coordinated with the Navy’s Credentials Program Office).

Yes, but typically not at the same time. There may be a limited number of exam vouchers. Only one voucher will be issued at a time per applicant. In the special case where the member is taking two exams back-to-back to attain a credential, the member will need to note this when applying for more than one voucher at the same time.

Credential Exam Process

In many cases the credentialing body that developed and maintains the credentialing exam will offer practice exams or sample questions. Please refer to the credentialing agency's website for availibility.

You are responsible for contacting the credential exam test center (i.e. Pearson VUE, ProMetric, etc...) to schedule the exam. You must schedule and take your exam within 60 days of issue of the Navy-funded voucher or the voucher expires (unless specifically coordinated with the Navy’s Credentials Program Office).

Yes, you can change your exam date for valid operational reasons. You must abide by the credentialing agency's and/or exam test center's rescheduling policies. In most cases, exams may be cancelled 24 hours prior to the appointment time. If you are trying to reschedule your appointment and the exam is scheduled to be administered in less than 24 hours, you must contact the exam test center to coordinate. You must schedule and take your exam within 60 days of issue of the Navy-funded voucher or the voucher expires (unless specifically coordinated with the Navy’s Credentials Program Office).

If you lose your voucher number, contact the Credentials Program Office at: navycool@navy.mil; (850) 452-6683/6664; DSN: 459-6683/6664.

You can take the credential exam at vendors most convenient to you that accept the Navy-funded voucher (i.e. Pearson VUE, ProMetric, New Horizons, Laser Grade testing center, etc.). Call the exam facility in advance and ask them if they accept the voucher number. (Example: some CompTIA and Microsoft exam vouchers are only good at Pearson VUE testing facilities). For more information, see the Step 3: Get Credential page.

Before you request a Navy-funded credential exam voucher you will need to ensure that you can go to a credential exam vendor that offers the exam you wish to take. You must schedule and take your exam within 60 days of issue of the Navy-funded voucher or the voucher expires (unless specifically coordinated with the Navy’s Credentials Program Office).

In most cases, you will receive a copy of your exam score report at the completion of your exam. Check with the exam vendor or the certifying agency for their notification procedures.

Your certificate should be mailed to you directly from the credential agency upon successfully completing your exam (and meeting any other credential agency specific requirements). The Navy's Credentials Program Office does not have your certificate.

Reporting Exam Results

The Credentials Program Office requires feedback on the exam voucher program that will help make future testing, training, and credential decisions. If you do not report your results your record will not be closed and you will not be eligible for subsequent vouchers.

Additionally, you should report successful completions to your Navy College Center and/or servicing Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) to ensure your credentials are added to your service record, Electronic Training Jacket and Joint Service Transcript (JST).

Your test information will only be made available to the company administering the exam voucher program, its strategic alliance partners providing the vouchers and testing facilities, and the Credentials Program Office staff on a need-to-know basis only.

Missing or Failing Exams

No. But, be aware that you will not be eligible for another exam voucher for that same exam. You will have to pay out-of-pocket or use GI Bill to pay for that same exam. However, you are still eligible for other certification exams. Remember that you are required to report to the Credentials Program Office and your local command your pass or failure of the exam.

Yes, you can re-take an exam. However, the Navy's Credentials Program is authorized to fund one attempt at a voluntary credential attempt. Subsequent funding for that exam will be at your own expense or via another funding option, if available (such as the GI Bill).

Currently Department of the Navy (DON) members who are designated Cyber IT/CSWF are governed by the SECNAV M-5239.2. Because of the mandatory nature of these certifications the SECNAV M-5239.2 authorizes three Navy-funded attempts. If a retake is required the request must be routed through the Cyber IT/Cybersecurity Workforce Program Manager (Cyber IT/CSWF-PM).

No. But, be aware that you will not be eligible for another exam voucher for that same exam. You will have to pay out-of-pocket or use GI Bill to pay for that same exam. However, you may still be eligible for other certification exams. Remember that you are required to report to the Credentials Program Office and your local command your pass or failure of the exam.

Currently Department of the Navy (DON) members who are designated Cyber IT/CSWF are governed by the SECNAV M-5239.2. Because of the mandatory nature of these certifications the SECNAV M-5239.2 authorizes three Navy-funded attempts. If a retake is required the request must be routed through the Cyber IT/Cybersecurity Workforce Program Manager (Cyber IT/CSWF-PM).

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Updated: January 8, 2020