Veterans face many challenges while serving our country and all too often return home to face new challenges transitioning back into the workforce.
Here’s the good news:
- Veterans have training that translates well into civilian jobs.
- Veterans have important qualities that employers look for in job candidates.
- There are many organizations devoted to helping veterans prepare for re-entering the workforce.
Leaving the military after years of service can be both a refreshing and a disconcerting change for our nation’s veterans. They often miss the structure the military provides and find themselves competing in a tight job market with no direction. They may have learned valuable skills while serving but lack the civilian certification for those skills that employers often require.
[Put your military discipline to work with a career in legal services.]
Fortunately, employers in many industries recognize the exceptional qualities that veterans have to offer, including leadership skills, resourcefulness, and a can-do attitude for getting the job done right. There are many organizations on both the state and federal level that specialize in preparing veterans for the workplace, as well as in helping them earn college degrees. There are also tuition assistance programs available for military service members and their families to go back to school.
[Find military-friendly online college degree programs.]
These 10 jobs are well matched to the skills that veterans gain during active duty and offer a smooth transition into civilian employment.
1. Software Developer
Software developers create computer programs. Some software developers work on the applications that allow users to perform specific tasks on the computer, while others develop the underlying systems used to run devices and networks.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $93,350
- Education You’ll Need: bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer-programming skills
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Information technology plays an important role in today’s military. Many veterans have IT experience that is highly valued in the corporate world, and there are companies offering training programs to help veterans transition into that workforce. Jobs for software developers are projected to grow at a rate of 22 percent, which is much faster than the average job-growth rate.
2. Construction Manager
Construction managers oversee the planning, budget, schedule, and execution of construction projects from concept to completion.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $82,790
- Education You’ll Need: At a minimum, a high school diploma and on-the-job experience is necessary. Employers may prefer candidates who have bachelor’s degrees in the fields of construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering, as well as related experience or certifications.
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: An improving economy is increasing the demand for construction managers. The industry is recruiting candidates from various fields, including the Army Corps of Engineers. Jobs for construction managers are projected to grow at a rate of 16 percent, a faster-than-average rate of job growth.
3. Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate the supportive services within an organization. Responsibilities vary but may include duties such as record keeping as well as planning and maintaining facilities.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $81,080
- Education You’ll Need: Education requirements vary, but related work experience is required to be a manager.
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Jobs for administrative managers require team building and oversight qualities that make them a great fit for veterans who are trained problem solvers. Jobs for administrative managers are projected to grow at a rate of 12 percent, an average job-growth rate.
4. Training and Development Manager
Training and development managers plan and supervise organizational programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees. This position is needed in almost every industry and may also require overseeing a staff of training and development specialists.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $95,400
- Education You’ll Need: bachelor’s or master’s degree and related work experience
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Problem-solving and crisis management are two qualities fostered by the military that will translate well into careers for veterans as training and development managers. Companies who hire training and development managers also prize the leadership qualities and strong work ethic that veterans bring with them. Jobs for training and development managers are projected to grow at a rate of 11 percent.
[Need to add to your education credentials? Find scholarships for the military.]
5. Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver
Tractor-trailer drivers load and haul cargo over city, state, and national routes. Tractor-trailer drivers generally operate heavy-duty trucks with capacities over 26,000 pounds per gross vehicle weight. They are responsible for inspecting their vehicles, maintaining records, and mapping routes.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $38,200
- Education You’ll Need: high school diploma or G.E.D. and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Many US trucking companies have jobs for veterans who are skilled drivers. Recent legislation will help veterans fill new job openings by easing licensing restrictions for service members who have moved frequently and may not be eligible to receive state certification. Jobs for tractor-trailer truck drivers are projected to grow at a rate of 11 percent, which is an average job-growth rate.
6. Telecommunications Technician
Telecommunications technicians are responsible setting up and maintaining communications equipment, including telephone and Internet access equipment and lines.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $54,530
- Education You’ll Need: Education in electronics and computer technology is necessary, but requirements vary from post-secondary to bachelor’s degree to industry certification, depending on the complexity of the work being done.
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: The military deals with the most sophisticated telecommunications equipment on the planet. As telecommunications technicians, veterans who install and maintain this gear bring valuable insight and knowledge to the position. Jobs for telecommunications technicians are projected to grow at a rate of 4 percent.
7. Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers coordinate, plan, and direct the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $89,190
- Education You’ll Need: bachelor’s degree with 2–5 years of related experience
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: The push to increase manufacturing and boost our economy overlaps with many veterans’ outreach and re-employment programs. The Get Skills to Work Coalition, for instance, is specifically designed to help prepare veterans for jobs in industrial production. Job growth for industrial production managers is projected to stay at the same rate, with little increase or decrease in overall demand.
Entrepreneurs provide innovative solutions across many industries by starting new small businesses that offer products and services that fill a need in society.
- How Much You’ll Earn: varies
- Education You’ll Need: An understanding of business concepts is helpful, but there are no specific education requirements to be a successful entrepreneur.
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Many veterans can take the skills they’ve learned in the military and apply them to their own businesses. There are state and federal programs, including those managed by the Small Business Association, that can offer assistance to veterans in training, starting, and funding their businesses.
[Want more support to get your business off the ground? Try an entrepreneurship course.]
9. Train Engineer and Operator
Train engineers and operators are responsible for the mechanical condition of the trains they operate. They must inspect and document issues with trains and operate the trains’ locomotives while travelling between stations.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $52,400
- Education You’ll Need: high school diploma or G.E.D. and on-the-job training
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Commercial and freight train companies were among the first pledges to commit to the Joining Forces Initiative—a White House–sponsored program “dedicated to connecting our servicemen and women, veterans, and military spouses with the resources they need to find jobs at home.” Experience working with heavy equipment also gives veterans an advantage when applying for jobs as train engineers and operators. Job growth for train engineers and operators is projected to decrease by 3 percent.
10. Industrial Engineering Technician
Industrial engineering technicians plan ways to effectively use personnel, materials, and machines in factories, stores, hospitals, repair shops, and offices. As assistants to industrial engineers, they help prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.
- How Much You’ll Earn: $50,980
- Education You’ll Need: associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate from a vocational or technical school
- Why It’s Good for Veterans: Many of the nation’s top energy companies have expressed interest in working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide jobs for veterans. These companies are attracted by veterans’ insights about efficiency as well as exposure to heavy equipment operation and other training. Jobs for industrial engineering technicians are projected to decline by 3 percent by 2022.
(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)