Good Civilian Jobs for Combat Veterans

How Valuable Military Experience is in the Job Market

Good Jobs for Vets

If you served in a combat position in the armed forces, you’re probably sick of everyone telling you just how valuable your military experience is in the civilian job market. In this article, we’re going to go over some good job options that utilize the experience you obtained while serving in the armed forces. It’s important not to discount the things other than combat that you gained experience in even if you were a grunt – discipline, organization, teamwork, leadership, project management, coordination, etc. How can you use those things to your advantage? Let’s talk about it. But first, a quick note.

 

Combat Veterans are Different from POGs

A grunt has a completely different career and employment prospects than anyone serving in any other capacity in the military. This makes them difficult to connect with for many employment agencies because it’s difficult for them to know how their job skills translate into the civilian world. These differences are not weaknesses; they’re just differences, and it’s important to recognize that. If you look on your military experience as an asset, you’ll begin to see how it can be used in many other capacities. You’ve got two main options as you look at a civilian career: choose a career that falls relatively well in-line with what you did in the service, or go to school for an unrelated career path and work that way. Either way is totally fine, and we’ll talk about jobs and career options for either one.

 

Careers that Work Well With Your Experience

It may be a cliche, but civilian law enforcement is a fantastic career choice for combat veterans. This is true for a number of reasons, and they’re all good ones. You have virtually all of the skills you need to be a great police officer already, and once you go to the police academy you’ll be a shoe-in for most departments because of your military experience. Everything from keeping your boots polished to report writing you have down. What many combat veterans don’t realize is that pulling people over and writing traffic tickets is hardly the end of the career path in civilian law enforcement. You can get on security details for public figures, you can get on SWAT, you can become a detective, you can go state law enforcement or federal, and you’ll go far if you remember the things you’ve learned from your military career. Civilian law enforcement embodies a number of great careers for combat veterans.

 

Choosing an Unrelated Career

Chances are good, though, that law enforcement isn’t your thing. What then? Well, you’ve got the GI bill and years of good work experience behind you. You’ll probably want to go to college and work a job until you get your degree. It can be very beneficial to find an entry-level job in your field of choice so when you graduate you not only have a degree but also 4+ years experience in the field but if you’re not able to find a job in your field yet, you can also look at becoming a security guard. Security guarding is a lot like law enforcement in that it utilizes many of the same skills you learned in the military. Specifically armed security positions are always looking for ex-military or off-duty police officers. Whether armed or unarmed, the security company hiring will often pay for your certification, which makes it a great starting point for many combat veterans. While working as a security guard or as an entry level position in your career field, you can work get your degree using the GI Bill and graduate ready to have a lucrative career in whatever you wanted. At least in theory.

 

Other Considerations

Law enforcement is hardly the only realm in which your skills will come in handy, but it is definitely the closest match. Any job on the planet will value your organization skills and discipline that you’ve developed through your military service, and those are assets which shouldn’t be discounted. Many employers look for veterans because they know they are good at working as a team or individually as needed, and that they will not shirk their work. Military veterans are known as being hard workers, and that’s because of their experience.

 

What Sort of Jobs Do Veterans Excel At? The Top 10 Part 2

The troubles that veterans have translating their military experience over their career into civilian jobs and civilian terms is not a new one, but that makes it no less difficult to figure out for a veteran just after discharge. Most veterans have years of experience under their belts, and are very qualified for a large number of jobs, but can have a hard time making the transition to a civilian career. It’s not uncommon for a veteran to have up to 10 years experience in a certain field but have not degree in it. Many veterans shoulder more responsibility in their military career than any of their degree-bearing civilian counterparts, but have a difficult time applying their skills in the civilian job market.

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CareerCast.com, a website that provides detailed career information and job listings has found that most veterans are far more qualified than they realize, and can get very well-paying jobs. Tony Lee, the publisher of CareerCast.com, says that as many as 100 veterans a month send emails to CareerCast looking for help with their job search. While most veterans have no idea how qualified they are for great jobs, most employers also don’t realize just how great of candidates many veterans are. According to Lee, “There’s a real perception among employers that veterans are very difficult to hire,” but the opposite is true; when matched with the correct jobs, veterans are often even more qualified than civilians.

CareerCast has put together a list of what it considers to be the 10 best jobs for veterans to look for. They made this list in an effort to help veterans that are seeking jobs find one that works for them and that they will successfully fill and be able to move up from. CareerCast used the resources and data already at its disposal to compile the list, drawing from their annual best and worst job listing (which ranks 200 jobs on 100 different criteria). CareerCast then evaluated the skills and experience that vets are statistically likely to bring to a job and try to match those skills with in-demand jobs. One thing you’ll notice as you read the list, is that four of the ten jobs have the word “manager” in them. That is because veterans often have leadership experience that dwarfs a fresh civilian college grad.

The first job listed is an Administrative Services Manager. An ASM is much like a Chief Operating Officer on a lower level. An ASM deals heads up the facilities management group, allocates office space, often oversees the mail department, schedules the use of materials, and does many other things related to the facilities. A veteran is often a good fit for this job because veterans bring significant team building experience and oversight qualities. CareerCast considers this job to be a natural fit for most veterans, and has an average annual median salary of $81,080, which makes it definitely sufficient to provide a decent life for a veteran and his or her family.

Job number 2 on the list is Construction Program Manager. CareerCast describes this job as follows: “An improvement in construction prospects around the nation coincides with increased demand for veteran hiring. The construction industry has been near the forefront of that push, recruiting construction program managers from such sources as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the implementation of the Final Rule for companies that accept government contracts will open further opportunities to veterans with disabilities in the construction industry.” A Construction Program Manager is responsible for overseeing workers at a construction site. He or she will read blueprints, order materials, supervise the overall construction and demolition, and is directly responsible for hiring, firing, and training workers as needed. The median annual salary for this job: $82,790, a very respectable living.

The third job on the list is an Emergency Medical Technician (more commonly known as an EMT). While an EMT only has an average annual salary of $31,020, it’s the type of job that most veterans thrive in, and does provide opportunities to advance. Even better, more than half of states offer a Military Skills Waiver Test for certification, so often a veteran does not even need to go through the hoops of certification. EMT jobs are fast-paced, high-pressure jobs, and a veteran’s discipline augments a veteran’s experience and training in regards to healthcare support. See Part 2 for the last seven jobs.

 

 

We Want You – Companies Hiring Veterans

In the last 5 years the rates of unemployment have slightly decreased, but are remaining fairly high. There are 264,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans that are looking for employment and there are many companies out there with program specifically setup to hire veterans. The infographic below provides an overview and information on these programs.

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We Want You - Companies Hiring Veterans by Low VA Rates
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