All the military veterans must suffer through colleges, universities, and online degree mills, it's no small wonder that vets are confused about where to spend their time or money: on a degree or a certification. So, which is better: a college degree or an industry certification?
Well, it depends on the employer, the job, and the requirements. In general, degrees are better than certifications. But if your degree is one of these generic degrees in General Studies and the certification in question is a Microsoft Certified Engineer (MCSE), then the opposite is true.
From my experience as a military job search counselor, going back to college can prolong your job hunt distress. The degree won't guarantee you a job after you graduate. It's better to market your core job skills first. These are the basic skills you have that sit behind your actual job task skills.
For instance, if you supervised a team of workers, your core skills are supervision. Then, look for jobs outside of your industry that is similar to your old job. Find the best job you can. Once you are employed, then go back to college and seek re-training programs that will update those stagnant skills.
Mid-career veterans (8-15 years of experience) typically have a lot of job skills that would interest an employer anyway. And if you are not seeking a product design position, where a degree would be necessary, obtaining industry-specific certifications that an employer would find useful, is preferred.