About Career After Military

One of the toughest challenges faced by any veteran reentering civilian life is translating a robust number of military skills into a traditional job. This can be a pretty involved process, especially because many jobs require advanced degrees and training that, while offered by the military, are never quite certified and made official. Luckily, there are a number of great industries that are easily compatible with military experience; these jobs often require at least a bachelor’s degree, but those with experience in the military often have an advanced knowledge of things like project and personnel management, catapulting them to the top of the resumé stack.

Helicopter or Airline Pilot

All that time in the United States Air Force might pay off in the form of a lucrative job flying commercial airplanes or helicopters. While both industries have experienced a downturn in the number of passengers in recent years, the market for skilled and highly qualified pilots is still quite large. Veterans of the United States Army will also find success in this field, so long as they’ve gone through the proper training while enlisted with that branch of the military.

(For more information, see Job Profile: Airline Pilot.)

While flying aircraft within the United States military is often a big part of the qualification process for a commercial pilot opening, commercial airlines do require a specific commercial pilot license, or CPL. This is administered by the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, and is crucial to the hiring process. Even so, most military pilots will be a shoo-in for this particular certification; the average salary for a commercial airline or helicopter pilots is around $60,000 annually, making it a worthwhile venture.

Management Consultant

There’s simply no doubt about the capacity of any military veteran to be an effective manager. In fact, effective management of time, resources, information, and personnel, is a crucial part of being successful in battle. That’s especially true for higher-ranking military officials with considerable experience prior to their transition back into civilian life. Major companies know this and, while they’ll require at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or management for most jobs, they also consider military experience to be a relevant qualification for their job openings.

Military veterans seeking a management position, or a position as a management consultant position, should put their existing business degree to good use, or spend a little time acquiring a four-year degree in this field. Combined with their military experience, veterans entering this field can expect to earn around $53,000 per year.

Information Technology Fields

Even as the term “economic uncertainty” continues to dominate headlines about the state of the American economy, the information technology field continues to grow at a relatively fast pace. That’s because, even as the economy goes through rough times, new technologies like smartphone proliferation and social networking are requiring systems managers, knowledgeable IT staff, and helpful support teams, to guide them toward success.

Outside of private employers, the United States military is one of the largest employers of information technology professionals. They’re in charge of keeping the military’s vast electronic systems and information-connected workstations online, even in the must tense conditions at home and abroad. The military’s requirements for these positions are roughly the same as any employer’s, as most IT professionals in the military are required to have a formal education and a degree in their field. Where more experience is required, the military will provide the necessary training.

On the civilian side of things, private employers respect the knowledge, expertise, and additional training, required to thrive in a military-based IT position. That puts veterans ahead of the pack when it comes to finding and securing a position in this growing field. Because of the nature of this job, combined with a veteran’s military experience, the salary for IT professionals starts around $50,000 annually and escalates to more than $90,000 per year when the position involves project or information management.

Construction Project Managers

If anyone knows a thing or two about heavy equipment and project management, it’s America’s veterans. Their time with major military equipment and heavy machinery puts them at the front of the line when securing a construction job in the civilian world. In fact, many military veterans are mostly considered for project management positions within existing public or private construction jobs. And while the job itself might not be the most glamorous, the salary is more than enough to ease the financial concerns of today’s veterans.

With relevant military experience, and some knowledge of business and project management, qualified veterans who enter construction project management can expect to earn an average of $66,000 annually. That’s higher than the per-capita American wage, and it’s a great way to put on-the-ground skills to work outside of the military’s ecosystem.

Emergency Response Personnel

The commitment to being prompt, efficient, and inherently helpful, sets many military veterans up for a rewarding and fast-paced career in emergency management. Whether that means they become firemen, ambulance technicians, or paramedics, patients benefit when they’re served by individuals with a thorough military experience. That’s a fact that seems to be well-known by emergency response companies. When combined, this industry is one of the top 20 biggest employers of military veterans. With an annual average salary of just under $42,000, this position provides a pretty healthy yearly income. No specific collegiate experience is required, though certain training and certifications will need to be secured for positions in the paramedic or fire response fields.

Plenty of Great Opportunities for Today’s Veterans

The transition back into civilian life should be more rewarding than challenging. Luckily, a number of great industries make it easy for veterans to secure a career as a civilian that uniquely uses the skills they acquired as a member of the United States military. Whether that job involves responding to major emergencies, managing people or projects, or even making sure that major computer systems stay online, there’s no denying that the unique skills learned in the military make a job candidate more experienced and capable.

Additional Resources

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