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Correspondence Course Review

I'm not sure how many on are trying to eek out their existence in the IRR, or supplement their point count in the SelRes. Either way, I've done quite a few courses over the years, and I thought it might be helpful to post a review of some them. I just finished the Educational Services Officer course, and since it's fresh in my mind, I'll start there. Please understand that this is subjective, but hopefully it will help people pick courses that will work for them, since some can be quite painful.

Title: Educational Services Officer
Type: Correspondence Course (ie, not NKO course)
First, I've found that I actually prefer the NETC courses to the NKO. I print out the PDF's (4 pages to a printed page) and then I can keep the packet with me and work on it as I commute on the train, watch the kids soccer game, or other little moments of time.
Retirement Points: 6
Questions: approx 180 (3 sets of about 60)
Comments: This is one of the better courses I've taken; it covers the methods the Navy uses to promote further education, as well a significant chunk on enlisted advancement. As a JO, I was probably told much of this information, but I think JOs are so busy that it never sticks. Now, I really found this helpful. I'd helped out with enlisted advancements in the reserves before, but most of my knowledge was learned through my own screw-ups and apply those lessons to the next guy. I thought this course was well organized and actually very helpful, and it was one of my quicker 6-pts I've earned.
How Tedious? I'd hoped to have an honest to goodness format, but I'm just to busy to spend that prep time before actually posting. So, to answer the question, this one was definitely one of the less tedious exams. The questions were logical, and I was able to answer most them, AND RETAIN THE KNOWLEDGE after just skimming the text. Wait until I get to some of the Basic Math courses--then you'll know tedious!

I invite others to post their opinions of the courses as well, and I want to remind everybody that I'm sure it's not hard for BUPERS to google this topic, so let's keep clean and ethical.
The next course is "Occupational Stress blah blah", via NKO. This was one of the less painful courses on NKO, and most of it was really common sense.
Retirement Points: 1 (but actually 7)
I can't say that this course was actually useful to me, since most of it was common sense, but it also wasn't worthless. The best thing about this course is that there are SEVEN iterations of it, each worth a point. So once you struggle through "Operational Stress for Junior Saliors", you move on to OS for 2nd Class POs, for CPOs, for JOs, etc... I forget the exact titles, but it's a good way to get a quick seven points!


... facility for offence.
This is a great post! I am one of those eeking out an existence in the IRR. At first I was SELRES and the Training Officer for my unit (an NRF ship). Since I had to come up with lesson topics that would help the enlisted guys in my unit get their ESWS pin (those that never got it while Active Duty that is) I started mining the ratings manuals for training topics. That was how I discovered the NETC courses.

When I left the SELRES and went IRR (do to time, job, familiy, etc. obligations) I started taking these courses (in addition to NKO courses).

I have taken:

Engineering Aid

Blueprint Reading
Naval Space
Radar Principles

I am a Black Shoe so all of the rating manuals added to my SWO knowledge considerably. To put it in perspective, think about when you earned your pin. You had to learn the broad strokes of all the diverse rating topics that were asked of you during your board. With these correspondence courses, you now focus in on each topic at the weeds level. That was what it was like for me when I took these courses. I liked them because it made me feel like I was "keeping my edge" while in the IRR.

For the engineering ones, however, you must be comfortable with the theories and equipment discussed. The remaining (non rating) courses are geared towards the technical types (I am an engineer on the civilian side). Again, you must be comfortable with these topics.

I too would print them out 4 per page (double-sided) and carry them with me. I travel frequently and its a great time waster on the airplane. Their retirement points vary from 4 to 35 points ! The more retirement points, the more Assignments (up to 12 of around 75 questions each) that will be required to complete (but they are all open book).


... facility for offence.
Another set of correspondence courses that I recommend are the 3 courses required for the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I.

These are given by the Naval War College and there are 3 ways to take the courses: CD-based, Web-enabled, and Seminar.

- CD-based means everything is sent to in a box. It contains all the books you need to read as well as a CD with the course on it. It is meant for use for those without a reliable access to the internet (someone on deployment). You then send in your assignments for grading.
- The web-enabled version gets you a box of books to read plus access to the website where you can submit your assignments and participate in discussions.
- The seminar version includes scheduled classes that you must attend in person on a weekly basis (usually at a large base) in addition to all the reading and assigments.

You must sign up for any of the three types and for each individual class. The classes are:

National Security Decision Making (NSDM)
Strategy and War (S&W)
Joint Maritime Operations (JMO)

This is the preferred sequence but you can go out of it if your schedule does not fit the Naval War College's. Each course, however, is offered each Quarter so this should not be a problem.

Each class requires reading the assigned material (2-10 hours per week depending on whether you are just scanning or trying to soak everything in) as well as, on average, a 3-5 page essay due every month. Online discussions (message boards) may also be required.

Completion of each class earns you 48 retirement points per class! Taking the courses back-to back-to back takes around 18 months. You can double up if you want to shorten the time (but more reading!) or take breaks between courses to spread it out even more.

National Security Decision Making covers a review of management techniques (to get along with other people), understanding organizational behavior, as well as our nations current policy regarding security, strategy, global perspective, and overall focus.

Strategy and War covers historical examples of operations to discuss the principals of war.

Joint Maritime Operations covers planning an operation with the final assignments leading up to the creation of an OPLAN and OPORD.

Once complete you are given a JPME I designation in your Service Recor. This will allow you to be a CO of a Joint Unit (it is a mandatory requirement). It is also the first step towards earning a Joint Staff Officer (JSO) designation.

Last note (and since we are talking about Courses to take): prior to signing up for the JPME courses from the Naval War College you can take the NPME course via NKO. There are 7 modules and require a total investment 0f (50-100 hours) to take. They do not contribute to the JSO designation but give you a good preview of what you will see in JPME.

The NKO courses add up to 35 points.
Thanks atmahan! Do you know if you have to do anything special to get retirement points for the JPME class? I actually signed up for the JPME CD course years ago, and it looked interesting to me, but after getting Clauswitz and Sun Tzu, I didn't want to get involved until I got my annual points taken care of. I had heard you could get points for them, but never really figured out, or how many. It's 48pts for each module?

Anyway, this review is for a relatively quick 7 points--actually 1pt, 7 times.

Title: Occupational Stress (for bluejacket, PO, CPO, JO, mid-level, CO, Flag, and whatever else)
Pts: 1 reserve retirement point (but there are 7 courses, that are basically the same)
Description: this course was one that you could definitely skim and get 90% of the answers through common sense.
Useful? No, atmahan brought up a good point, that some of the courses really are useful/interesting. This one was neither, and I don't think that I learned anything consequential from it. I've gotten caught in some quagmire-like NKO courses though, so I have to give it this one for being quick and common sensical (not a word, but you know what I mean).


... facility for offence.
Each time you complete a JPME course, the Naval War College will mail you a Letter of Completion a few weeks later. The letter will state how many points you earned (48 per class). You then have to send in the letter to PERS-912 for the ponts to appear in your ARPR/ASOSH report. After you complete the third course you will also receive a diploma for JPME I. This one needs to be sent to PERS-313.
Here's one that I thought would be easy, but holy crap was it a bear!
14 pts (I think)
Correspondence Course
Useful: Nyet

I figured that this course would be geared toward the high school drop-out who enlisted in the Navy. Maybe it was, but for one thing it was written in like 1935! One section was dedicated to the use of a slide-rule! Much of the course involved estimations, which you couldn't use a calculator for (since that would give you an exact answer). I thought it was confusing and tedious!

On thing I did learn on this course though is that you can basically write off certain tests if you do well enough on the others. I want to say I got in the 90s on the first 5 tests, but then hit a chapter that was really tough (maybe it was the sliderule chapter? I can't remember). Anyway, I just went through and hit "C" for all the answers. For retirement points, they just look at your TOTAL score, so I did the math and figured out I'd be fine unless I failed the course with anything less than like a 20%.


Well-Known Member
MarineNet courses also count for credit... Problem is - some of them require a proctor. My goal is 75 pts/year until I retire (my retirement plans are also based on this number). Last year, when the squadron deployed and I didn't go (new job), I reached into my bag of tricks... If you can find a proctor - Math for Marines is a key one on MarineNet. I didn't even go through the course, just took the test. Got a 94%. It's a class geared towards enlisted Marines with no college math under their belt, yet ANYONE can take it. If you've had College Algebra & understand it - I highly recommend it. It gets you 5 retirement points.

JTAC Primer is one I also did (never mind that I teach JTACs at EWTGLANT), and netted me another 5 points - no proctor required.
You can bag points by doing Defense Acquisition University (DAU) online courses...if you're interested PM me and I can email a CNRFC Letter which provides point values for the DAU courses.
MarineNet courses also count for credit... ..., yet ANYONE can take it. If you've had College Algebra & understand it - I highly recommend it. It gets you 5 retirement points.

JTAC Primer is one I also did (never mind that I teach JTACs at EWTGLANT), and netted me another 5 points - no proctor required.
Any idea if Navy folk can get MarineNet access? Thanks for the info!
Basic Photography: 15 retirement points

This is sort of the classical "mixed bag" of correspondence courses; I had recently gotten my hand on an SLR camera, so I found a lot of the techniques and terminology of photography really interesting in this course. But, like so many of these courses, it seems like this one was written in 1947. There was a lot, I mean A LOT of this course dedicated to film development, film chemistry, how to store film, how to process and develop film, and how to dispose of those chemicals. That part was pretty tedious, since today it's just about all digital. Despite that, I'd say this course isn't too bad for 15 points (about half your year 35pt year right there!). If you don't like the sciences, stay away. One good thing though, is that all the answers are in the text provided (it seems like the new, improved courses expect you to go beyond the training materials provided with the course).
Captivity: 6 pts

I think most people will agree: SERE school was probably the BEST course I've ever been to. You learn a lot about yourself and gain a particular respect for those who have been POWs. So, since this board is populated by mostly aviators, this was a pretty quick and easy 6 points for somebody who went through SERE, and it brought back that certain something that math, photography, and Sound Powered Phone Talker couldn't quite muster.