Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP): How To Apply?

Updated : May 11th, 2022

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program

Veterans of the United States armed forces have several opportunities to receive VA education benefits to make their education more affordable and get closer to a new career. While some programs assist veterans with pursuing bachelor’s or associate degrees, the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) targets vocational rehabilitation. Veterans can use VRRAP benefits to secure an in-demand job if they’ve lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What type of education and training is provided under VRRAP program?

This program currently covers education and training for high-demand jobs. The courses are approved under G.I. Bill and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC). The program includes non-college degrees, associate degrees, and certificate programs determined by the Department of Labor.

18 Types of Educational Training Provided by VRRAP

This veteran training program is provided for hundreds of roles under the following categories:

    1. Administrative Support
    2. Architecture and Engineering
    3. Arts, Entertainment, and Media
    4. Business and Finance
    5. Community and Social Services
    6. Computer and Math
    7. Construction and Extraction
    8. Education and Training
    9. Health Care Practice and Support
    10. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
    11. Law
    12. Life, Physical, and Social Sciences
    13. Management
    14. Personal Care Services
    15. Production
    16. Protective Services
    17. Sales
    18. Transportation Services

Eligibility criteria for this program

To enroll in VRRAP, you should satisfy the following requirements: 

  • You’re at least 22 years of age, but not more than 66 years old,
  • You’re unemployed due to COVID-19,
  • You’re not enrolled in any other benefits program (federal or state), and
  • You’re not mentioned as totally disabled since you cannot work.

Note: If you’re receiving any unemployment benefits, including CARES Act, you are not eligible to receive VRRAP benefits. 

How to apply for this program?

To apply for this program, you can follow these steps: 

  • Head to the website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Click on the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program and create an account.
  • Keep your Social Security Number and Bank account information handy.
  • Fill out the form and submit it.

You will get a confirmation message from VA, which you can print and keep for your records. After the submission, VA will let you know their decision within 30 days. If your application gets approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) or an award letter in your mail. You’ve to take this COE or award it to the school for verification. 

If your application is not approved, you will get a denial letter through email.

G.I. Bill® vs. VRRAP

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1994 or the G.I. Bill benefits helps people pay for college, graduate school, and training programs. This bill has helped qualifying veterans and their families to cover the costs for school or training. 

The VRRAP is a VA-approved program at a particular technical school or community college. It doesn’t apply to the 4-year school plans. The funds are directly provided to the vets every month to pay for the educational costs. 

Common Questions about VRRAP

What are the benefits of this program?

If you get approved for this program, you can get tuition and fee for up to 12 months. You also get a monthly housing allowance as per Post-9/11 GI Bill rates. 

Can I get VRRAP benefits if I’m eligible for other education benefits?

No, if you’re eligible for VRRAP, you cannot get other benefits, including: 

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
  • Montgomery GI Bill
  • Veterans’ Education Assistance Program (VEAP)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)

However, if you were at one time eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and you transferred the funds to your family, you may get VRRAP benefits. 

When will this program end?

This program will be available till 11th December 2022, or VA will stop making payments when they reach the funding limit of $386 million.

How many schools are participating in this program?

More than 500 schools are participating across the country. You can find more information about the schools near you on the VA website. 

What chapter is VRRAP?

VRRAP is approved under Chapter 36, the Department of Veteran Affairs Education and Career Counseling Program. 

What if I need help while filling out the form?

If you face any problem, an accredited person, like a Veteran representative or Veterans Service Officer (VSO), will help you out with the application.

Types of Educational Training Provided by VRRAP

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many workers to lose their jobs or get laid off. The government has created several programs to help workers get the money they need to pay bills or assist them with returning to work. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs and its Veterans Benefits Administration created the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program to specifically help the country’s veterans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic get back to work.

The program works with participating schools to offer up to 12 months of tuition costs for the service member. An eligible veteran who became unemployed as a result of the pandemic can use the financial aid from the VRRAP program to return to work by training for a high-demand job.

Eligible veterans can sign up for this retraining assistance program through December 11, 2022, or until the program has reached its funds or participant limits.

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program offers several types of training in various industries, allowing eligible veterans to return to the workforce. This assistance program may be used in conjunction with federal student grants, federal education loans, or school-based, program-based, or federal scholarships to help veterans afford their education tuition.

The following types of jobs are examples of eligible training programs under this Veterans educational assistance program:

1. Administrative Support

Administrative support jobs assist other people. These careers can vary significantly in responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. For example, a bookkeeper helps a business owner or organization file, track, and organize their financial information, including expenses and income transactions. In contrast, a court clerk prepares and issues documents, orders, and court case dockets.

Veterans who want to pursue an administrative support career should expect to train in computers, computer software, bookkeeping, accounting, and English skills. Throughout their training, they’ll develop organizational, time management, and communication skills.

2. Architecture and Engineering

Architecture and engineering jobs include several science-based careers, like aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, cartography, and civil engineering. Many of these careers require candidates to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a similar pathway. However, some technical schools also teach the necessary skills for people to transition into the industry with an entry-level job.

For instance, veterans education benefits are approved for use at specific training centers, such as The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, for some certification programs that prepare veterans for these careers.

3. Arts, Entertainment, and Media

This category of jobs explores a wide range of potential careers. For example, veterans can work toward theater-focused jobs, such as actors, producers, or sound engineering technicians. They can also pursue more arts-based careers, including painters or graphic designers. Media-based jobs, like journalists, public relations specialists, and writers, also fall into this category.

The technology industry has had an increased demand over the past couple of years for tech-focused art and media jobs, like digital photographers, web designers, graphic designers, and video editors.

4. Business and Finance

Veterans seeking retraining assistance through the VRRAP program can pursue non-college degrees and training in business and finance. Training for skills in accounting, financial advising, logistics, compliance, and other similar skills can lead to high-paying and in-demand careers in business.

Fortunately, many careers within this career track offer entry-level opportunities that fit well with VRRAP or GI Bill training. Candidates can enter the field and, as they gain experience, work their way up to more advanced positions with higher salary potential.

5. Community and Social Services

Community and social services jobs include those that benefit communities and offer assistance to others. These jobs can include social services coordinators, school social workers, substance abuse counselors, and religious activities directors.

Veterans interested in this career path can explore The National Association of Social Work’s career center to learn more about training programs, networking opportunities, workshops, and other resources that could help you jumpstart your new career.

6. Computer and Math

Veterans interested in veteran readiness training in information technology can pursue a computer or math-focused program through VRRAP. Potential careers might be data scientists, information security analysts, computer network architects, and software or web developers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2020 and 2030, the information technology sector could add as many as 667,600 new jobs. Although many of them typically require a bachelor’s degree, it’s not unusual to find entry-level jobs that accept candidates with vocational training or certification.

7. Construction and Extraction

Pipefitters, plumbers, sheet metal workers, electricians, and carpenters all fit into the category of construction and extraction jobs. It’s common for workers in these occupations to go through training programs rather than college degree programs.

Construction training programs often lead to apprenticeships that provide on-the-job training for workers. During apprenticeships, you’ll train with a mentor to enhance your skills and prepare for regular work. With more experience, you could become eligible for promotions to supervisory or managerial jobs.

8. Education and Training

Librarians, teaching assistants, preschool teachers, high school teachers, and museum technicians fall under the umbrella of education and training careers.

Veteran service members can check with their state’s Department of Education to determine what training or education may be available for these types of careers. For instance, some states offer alternative teaching licensures that lay a pathway for a career in education for people who already have a degree in another field.

9. Health Care Practice and Support

Health care practice and support jobs are those that assist primary health care jobs, like doctors and surgeons, or those that provide alternative health care services. Nursing assistants, dental assistants, and massage therapists are examples of these careers.

Traditional educational paths lead to an associate or bachelor’s degree for these supportive positions. However, the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program partners with training programs to get unemployed veterans started in health care.

10. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair

Several potential jobs for unemployed veterans fall into the category of installation, maintenance, and repair. These jobs are typically the easiest to find training programs for, as hands-on training offers the best preparation for them.

Examples of careers in this industry include farm equipment mechanics, aircraft mechanics, machine maintenance workers, and wind turbine service technicians. Mechanics for automobiles, radio equipment, recreational vehicles, and HVAC systems also fall into this category.

11. Law

While lawyers require intense educational training and credentials, other legal occupations have entry-level positions that are available with the right training. Paralegals, mediators, and legal assistants are a few examples.

VRRAP benefits allow paralegal and other legal occupation certification through programs at American National University, Central Penn College, and Atlanta Technical College, to name a few.

12. Life, Physical, and Social Sciences

Unemployed veterans seeking a life, physical, or social science career can rely on their VRRAP education benefits to prepare them for a career. Some careers in this category include chemists, forensic service technicians, food scientists, and soil and plant scientists.

Several technical training centers have programs available that meet VRRAP benefits standards. You’ll receive hands-on learning experiences that prepare you for in-demand careers in these science fields through these vocational centers.

13. Management

Construction managers, human resources managers, financial managers, and other executives can get the training they need to head departments or companies through VRRAP.

VRRAP benefits may cover associate programs in management, business administration, marketing, and other business-focused fields. Some programs offer more general management studies, while others are topic-specific, such as childcare administration or sales management.

14. Personal Care Services

Personal care services cover jobs such as hairdressers, skincare specialists, and makeup artists. Many training programs for these careers last anywhere from several weeks to a few months, allowing veterans to receive hands-on training without a lot of time commitment before transitioning to their new careers.

In some cases, veterans may be able to train for these jobs while also securing a paying job in the field to earn money while completing their education.

15. Production

Molders, factory workers, and water and wastewater plant treatment specialists are a few occupations in the production industry. These jobs often start as entry-level, but as workers gain more training and experience, they can advance to lead supervisors or managerial positions.

Manufacturing and production training programs usually cover safety, equipment usage and repair, maintenance, and manufacturing process topics. Trainees may also learn how to work productively to increase efficiency at their job sites.

16. Protective Services

Protective service occupations serve their communities. Fire inspectors, firefighters, and fire investigators are a few jobs you may be able to train for through VRRAP.

Firefighting and other fire-related jobs are usually available with a postsecondary non-degree certificate. Each state has specific requirements to pursue these jobs, so check with your state’s emergency medical services agency for more information about training programs.

17. Sales

Sales representatives are in-demand in various industries, including insurance, healthcare, retail, and automotive. Veterans interested in becoming sales representatives can use VRRAP benefits to improve their communication, marketing, and customer satisfaction skills. Many of these training programs prepare learners for entry-level sales positions, but experience and excellent job performance can advance workers to senior-level positions.

18. Transportation Services

Transportation services include jobs that transport materials or goods through various transportation methods. Airline pilot training, ship engineer training, and heavy truck driver training are examples of programs you could pursue through VRRAP.

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program gives unemployed veterans education benefits to return to the workforce in an in-demand career. These education benefits are specifically for veterans who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, veterans must not be rated as totally disabled, cannot be receiving unemployment compensation or CARES Act benefits, and may not be eligible for GI Bill benefits.

These education benefits allow veterans to pursue non-college degrees or a training or certificate program to get back to work in a short amount of time. Several industries are available for veterans to choose from, including manufacturing, healthcare support, and social science careers.

How do you apply for VRRAP benefits? Sign in to your existing or account to fill out the application online. In most cases, the VA will determine your eligibility and, if eligible, approve your benefits within 30 days of applying.

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  1. My benefits ended Jan. 11, 2020. Will I be eligible for 13 week extension and if so how do I claim in N.J.?

    1. John,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  2. I have been trying to apply for unemployment,on-line and by phone, for several days. My first attempt was on the day that I was required by last name. I truly understand that there is going to be an extremely large,either by phone or on-line,influs of applicants to complete this process. Following the prompts do not seem to work since I am guided to another section that does not pertain to applying. I am extremely frustrated. I need to complete my unemployment claim. May you please tell me what I need to do?

    1. Edna,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

    1. I am not sure how it works in your state. We suggest you visit the Unemployment Office’s website and learn more about it under the FAQs section.

  3. I am confused, my Illinois unemployment was accepted on March 29th, but I don’t call to certify for benefits until Monday, March 13th. I thought they were waiving the waiting week. Now I have to wait almost 3 weeks for any kind of financial relief? Do I not get the 600 for the care plan? if I do when will that be here? will it be direct deposit? Please help me.

    1. Jennifer,

      Please try finding answers online since there might be limited phone support due to the shortage of staffing. You can use the “Resources” or “FAQs” section of the website.

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