When Dominick Magliaro was 17 years old, he had a GED and not many options for earning a living. Fast forward to today and he is a two-time college graduate with a successful career in occupational safety and health. But how did he get here?
Like many, Dominick turned to the military for direction. For him, it was the Air Force.
“I joined the Air Force due to necessity,” he said. “However, I enjoyed my 20 years in the Air Force as a nuclear weapons specialist. I was able to live in Europe and visit many places I would not have been able to without being in the Air Force.”
Shortly after enlisting, Dominick learned the opportunity to enroll in college still wasn’t an option for him just yet.
“I became discouraged when I was 19 and applied to college at my first duty assignment and found out that TA would not cover the classes I needed as prerequisites.”
As time went on, Dominick found his passion for safety and was determined to do whatever it took to get his degree.
“I really had no idea what I wanted to do post-military retirement until I was in my thirties,” he said. “I was assigned as an explosive safety manager, and this sparked my interest in safety as a post-military career. I searched occupational safety and health degree programs, and CSU’s program fit my needs while I was stationed overseas.”
Hesitant about applying to school again, Dominick found his place at CSU where his education was covered by the Air Force Tuition Assistance.
“If not for the ease of enrollment and acceptance of military TA from CSU, I may have never earned my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “The occupational safety and health degree programs from Columbia Southern University have allowed me to achieve safety credentials based upon my level of education and experience.”
Dominick finished his time in the Air Force all while pursuing his degree. Despite the late hours studying, he always had his mind set on completing the mission both at work and school.
“I remember working 8-to-12-hour days in the Air Force and then study my CSU classes online until 11p.m.,” he said. “I always wanted to get my master’s before retiring from the Air Force. To achieve this goal, I had to max out my TA every year and take every class I could afford. I knew I would have to work hard and stay up late to complete my coursework as the Air Force mission was demanding at times.”
Dominick graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2018 and completed his master’s degree in 2020, both in occupational safety and health. He now works as an environmental health and safety manager for The University of South Carolina Aiken Campus.
“The job is great. I get to interact with students and staff often and I provide CPR/AED training for students, faculty and staff. I also develop written safety plans, training and evaluate effectiveness of plans. I provide air sampling for indoor air quality, manage fire and life safety programs and work with contractors and maintenance to ensure all fire and life safety systems are serviceable.”
Looking back, Dominick says it was his military experienced coupled with his CSU education that ensured him with many job opportunities he once never had before.
“CSU has provided me with both a foundational and advanced knowledge of occupational safety and health techniques,” he said. “I was awarded two safety credentials through my degree programs, the BCSP and GSP and the IHMM and ASHM. I have also been hired in two technical jobs after completion of my degree program, one of which came with a six-figure salary.”
“After looking back at where I started with a GED, I believe anyone can earn a bachelor’s degree with the right motivation and a little direction.”
To learn more about military tuition assistance, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Military.
That’s awesome…great accomplishment!
I’m confused the Air Force took a GED? I tried and they showed me the no GED policy. So, I joined another service I retired from.
Hi Michael! I would recommend reaching out to your advisor for more information.