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Petty Officer First Class Shares Education Journey, Encourages Sailors to Utilize Education Benefits

09 May 2023

From Cheryl Dengler, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center

NORFOLK, Va. – A Sailor stationed at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads is sharing his off-duty education journey, and advising Sailors to take advantage of Tuition Assistance (TA) and other opportunities as soon as they are eligible.
Retail Services Specialist 1st Class Joseph Hintz received both an associate’s degree in General Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management from American Military University while serving in the Navy.

Hintz, who has been in the Navy for 15 years, did not start using his earned benefits until 2020 after a mentor spoke to him about preparing for the future.

“He talked to me about the benefits a college degree can have on post-military life,” said Hintz. “Additionally, as a prior recruiter, I regularly spoke to applicants about the Tuition Assistance program and decided that it was time for me to use this fantastic opportunity that the Navy provides.”

Hintz was surprised to learn how simple the TA application process was.

“Like most Sailors, I was nervous that it would be a complex and difficult process, but I found it to be quite the opposite,” said Hintz. “The staff at the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC) were always very helpful with any questions or concerns that I had along the way.”

For Hintz, the most challenging part of achieving his degree was balancing work with school.
“Managing college courses while working as an active duty Sailor definitely has its challenges,” said Hintz. “I began my path while on deployment and finished while at a shore command, so I have experienced many different aspects of the active-duty lifestyle.”
But Hintz offers suggestions to mitigate the challenge.
“It helps to have a supportive chain of command, but more importantly, a positive attitude and focused time management is a must,” said Hintz.
Hintz is a single father to three children who managed multiple courses while serving on active duty. He also offers the following advice advice to Sailors just starting out:
“Start as soon as you are eligible and figure out a path that works best for you,” said Hintz. “Everyone has different responsibilities while serving, but there are many types of educational opportunities available, so don’t let those reasons dissuade you.”
 “The educational opportunities are there to help you achieve personal growth and the results can be extremely rewarding,” said Hintz. “If it feels overwhelming, translate it into something similar to your responsibilities in the Navy, like obtaining a new qualification or an NEC.”

Hintz fully encourages Sailors to use their benefits as he says the rewards will help Sailors in their current career as well as in life after the military.

“I believe that this experience has allowed me to learn how to manage time more efficiently, as well as learn new techniques that the civilian sector uses within the supply and logistics world, that I can incorporate into my military profession,” said Hintz. “Post-Navy, having a degree allows for many opportunities that I otherwise would not have qualified for.”

For eligible Sailors interested in beginning their education journey, there are several ways to get started. Sailors can call the NCVEC via the MyNavy Career Center toll free at 1-833-330-MNCC, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Eastern time. To speak directly with a Navy college counselor when calling, select option 3 “Education & Training”, then option 1 “Navy College TA & Counseling.”

Sailors can also go to the Navy College Assistance Center via the Navy College Program website,, and click “Chat Now” to chat online with a Navy College education counselor.

Another option is to login to MyNavy Education and submit an inquiry through the Issue Tracker feature in the top right corner.

As part of the MyNavy HR Force Development team, the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) provides products and services that enable and enhance education, training, career development and personnel advancement throughout the Navy. Primary elements of the command include the Voluntary Education Department, the Navy Advancement Center and the Resources Management Department.

Additional information about NETPDC can be found at
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