July 13, 2009 | | Leave a comment Joining the military used to mean postponing a college education. Now, however, thanks to online education, servicemen and women can earn degrees while they’re on active duty in the military. Growing numbers of service personnel are turning to online education while on active duty for the unique benefits it offers. In 2008, 39,000 active duty service members earned degrees while deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, 25,800 active members earned associate’s degrees,10,484 earned bachelor’s degrees, and 2,666 earned master’s degrees. Deployed on a carrier in the Persian Gulf, Jonathan Rickman, a 2nd class Navy specialist, is furthering his education online. He typically works a long shift, gets some physical activity, does laundry, and then hits the books, logging onto his classes on one of the ship’s computers to talk with classmates and instructors halfway around the world. "The biggest advantage of online education is the ability to ‘attend’ class when it is convenient for me," says 25-year-old Rickman. "I can’t study like this at home. Here, when all my work is done, I don’t have anything else to do. My classes keep me busy, and I know they’ll help me get a good job when I get home." Stephanie Martin, a field medic stationed near Qatar, is majoring in education. "I like that it provides me with a distraction from some of the harsh realities of war," Martin says. Fortunately, online services exist to military servicemen and women to help them find the right degree and know how to use their military financial aid. By visiting Classes and Careers.com, military servicemen and women can fill out a form and get in contact with an education advisor from a military-friendly online university. Martin says, "They made it easy for me to figure out which classes I wanted to take and how to pay for it. It’s hard to believe I’ll be teaching elementary school kids when I’m done here." If you are on active duty in the military, you may be able to use your GI Bill, tuition assistance, financial aid or scholarships to take classes online. Visit ClassesandCareers.com today to fill out a form, tell them about your interests, and get connected with an education advisor.