Mike Gritton grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and decided to the join the armed forces during his freshman year of college at the University of Louisville. With the responsibility of raising a family, Gritton began looking for full time employment. Seeking employment for Government Nuclear Power training, he would later find out that the training was only for members of the Navy. Undeterred, Gritton enlisted in the Navy to continue pursuing his career. It was through this precedent training that Gritton would form his career path as a National Board commissioned Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspector.
Gritton spent 9 years on active duty and left as an Electrician’s Mate First Class, EM1 (SS), (E-6). Ten years later, he enlisted in the Navy Reserves and served in the Seabees (Naval Construction Forces) for 12+ years. I retired as a Senior Chief Utilitiesman, UTCS (SCW/SS), (E-8).
Before enlisting with the Navy, Gritton wanted to pursue an engineering degree. “After I joined the Navy, I had always wanted to complete a degree to bolster my future civilian career possibilities,” he said. While on active duty, he was able to take classes and CLEP tests to continue working toward his degree during his first command at the nuclear submarine USS Flying Fish SSN 673. However, Gritton left the Navy in 1990 and his time would then become dedicated to raising his children. He explained his “new civilian career took the rest of my time which added to delaying my degree goal.”
Gritton enlisted in the Navy Reserves in April 2001 and in discovered in 2007 that senior enlisted leaders would be required to complete an associate’s degree to continue their career advancement in the Reserves. During his 12 year enlistment in the Reserves, Gritton’s training as Chief Petty Officer helped him learn how to prioritize his time for meeting goals and deadlines as much of the Navy’s general military training could be done online, which also helped to familiarize him with distance learning and online courses.
From there, he inquired about Excelsior’s Associate in Applied Science in Technical Studies degree program. Finding a school that would accept Gritton’s acquired military credits, college credits and CLEP exam scores was tough but Excelsior did their best to accommodate his academic needs. “Online and distance learning allowed me to complete my degree because of its flexibility for my schedule and my family’s needs,” said Gritton. He graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Technical Studies with a concentration in Nuclear Studies degree and maintained a 4.0 GPA during his academic career.
“Completion of my degree has broadened my skill competencies and helped to re-enforce continuing [my] education in the nuclear inspection field,” explains Gritton. “Equally, completing my degree was an important personal goal that I wanted to achieve for my parents and my children.”
As a Fleet Reserve Association member, he recommends that “all service members and veterans take Excelsior’s CCS-112 Success Strategies for Military and Veterans class; it is a wealth of knowledge for making the most of your military benefits and training while gaining knowledge and skills for career planning.” The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) is a veteran partner of the College. Members of the FRA receive significant savings on Excelsior College tuition while receiving maximum transfer of prior college credits and credits for approved military and corporate training working toward degree completion.
Gritton admits that there were many benefits to being a member of one of Excelsior College’s veteran partners. He shared, “the partnership between Excelsior and the FRA allowed me to get discounted tuition and a free evaluation of my college credit, CLEP exams and military training all in one place and to determine which course of study to pursue.”