The U.S. Army is increasingly looking to virtual and distance education to allow noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to fulfill their educational requirements. In the current operational environment, the Army has transitioned many of its professional military education courses to the distance learning domain. The concern is that there still exists a disparity in graduation rates between resident (on campus) and distance learners. Students attending the distance version of the Sergeants Major Course (SMC) are often unprepared for the rigors and unique obstacles of distance education. This places them at a greater risk of failing than their counterparts in the resident course. This article will examine the research on distance education and determine the highest probable factors for failure or success, allowing students and institutions to adequately prepare for these challenges. If prepared properly, U.S. Army Soldiers can succeed no matter their physical location.