The American Legion opened registration on July 1 for its first virtual New Service Officer (NSO) School, an online training program that will be available on a monthly basis.
NSO School, developed by the Legion’s training partner Bergmann & Moore (B&M), LLC is intended for Legionnaires who have recently become accredited as legal representatives by VA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) – or are in the process of becoming accredited.
“We saw a need for more frequent training that would benefit American Legion service officers who may not have much experience,” said Marty Callaghan, deputy director of claims services for The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division in Washington, D.C. “This New Service Officer School is now available as a training option for the leadership in American Legion departments.”
Legionnaires interested in becoming VA-accredited representatives and enrolling in NSO School should contact their American Legion departments.
“We get many inquiries from Legionnaires who want to volunteer as service officers and ask for some kind of formal training,” Callaghan said. “Our virtual NSO School helps to fill this need. It provides top-notch training to aspiring service officers who may be accredited but still don’t have much experience.”
The American Legion’s legacy training program, Department Service Officer (DSO) School, is held twice a year and geared toward service officers with substantial experience. NSO School will be offered every month except for when the legacy DSO school convenes in March and December, and will follow the same monthly schedule:
• Days 1 through 10: School registration period
• Days 11 through 24: Virtual NSO School in session (self-paced, available 24/7)
• Day 25 through end of month: B&M issues certificates of completion/distributes lesson materials to graduates
Callaghan emphasized that candidates for NSO School must be nominated by American Legion department adjutants or department service officers.
“Those who are interested in serving our veterans as accredited service officers need to contact the Legion department leadership in their respective states. Whoever the departments sign up for NSO School will get an email from Bergmann & Moore, explaining how to register for the course.”
Students enrolled in the school have only three requirements:
1. They must have laptop or desktop computers — tablets and phones will not work.
2. Computers must have access to the Internet and have Google Chrome installed.
3. Computers must be equipped with speakers and/or headphones.
“This New Service Officer School should be seen as a complement to the extensive training already provided by our Legion departments and also by VA,” Callaghan said. “It provides a solid introduction to the world of service officers, is free of charge, and can be completed in any computer-friendly location.”
The school is made up of 15 lessons that cover a variety of topics including standards of conduct, presumptive service connection, chronic conditions and the evaluation of Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations. Students must score at least 70 percent on a 20 question exam in order to receive their certificates of completion. The text is open book and students get three attempts to pass it.