Microsoft Expands U.S. Military Certification Outreach Program

Military men and women at attention

In 2015, Microsoft launched a program for men and women transitioning out of military service to pursue certification. The program keeps soldiers on an effort-intensive, full-time 18-week timetable over their last months on active duty at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.


Recently, Microsoft has been expanding its offerings, as well as adding to the list of bases at which such training is available. The program is now described as an exclusive arrangement with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, though Joint Base Lewis McChord is a partnership with Saint Martin's University.


Candidates who pursue MSSA training at Embry Riddle bases may be pleased to understand that program completion can also lead to associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Technical Management through that same institution. The name of this program is MSSA, which stands for Microsoft Software and Systems Academy.


Currently, two specializations are available: one for Server and Cloud Administrators, the other for Cloud Applications Developers. Here's a list of what's currently available (links are to Embry-Riddle campuses physically present on those bases):


? Camp Pendleton (CA): Server and Cloud Administrator
? Fort Campbell (KY): Server and Cloud Administrator
? Fort Benning (GA): Cloud Applications Developer
? Fort Bragg (NC): Cloud Applications Developer


The following bases will come online for MSSA in 2017:


? San Diego (CA) (Starting January 2017): Cloud Applications Developer
? Fort Bliss (TX) (Starting mid-to-late 2017): Program(s) TBD (keep checking in for announcements and inception dates)
? Fort Carson (CO) (Starting mid-to-late 2017): Program(s) TBD (keep checking in for announcements and inception dates)


The Microsoft MSSA page also mention plans to add Marine Corps bases at Quantico (VA) and Camp Lejeune (NC), and Naval facilities and nearby campuses in Jacksonville (FL) and San Diego (CA).


MSSA Pilot Program Results


In a recent infographic, Microsoft describes the placements and outcomes for graduates from the handful of cohorts who've already completed the program. So far, participants from all four major branches of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) have graduated.


Ed T Figure 1 8 26 2016


Of those who've attempted the courses, 90 percent have graduated, and 84 percent are working in the IT industry, including placements at Microsoft itself, CenturyLink, Expedia, Amazon, Tableau and other high-tech firms. On average, program graduates earn more than $70,000 per annum, and tend to fill such job roles as sales support, software engineer, and service engineer.


Given the current and planned expansions of MSSA program locations, one can only assume that the results are quite positive for separating service members, and will benefit an increasing number of applicants and graduates going forward.


Military personnel interested in learning more about MSSA or obtaining more information about this program should contact their Base Education centers. If they aren't stationed at a base where MSSA Is available, they can inquire with Education Counselors or Transition center representatives to connect with their Regional Skills Program Manager instead.


Additional information is also available from the MSSA Operations team via email at


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.