14 Jobs That Are a Good Fit for Veterans

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Military experience is a resume booster all its own. From the unique pressures of combat situations to the basic discipline required of even the newest private, those who’ve been in service have developed special skills that are useful in numerous civilian career fields.

Translating one’s military skills to a civilian career can be direct. If you’ve worked as a computer programmer in the Marines, for example, it’s clear that kind of knowledge will help you land a similar job back home. But other jobs rely on less self-evident skills. The hard work and perseverance required in a military career can be tough to explain in a line on a resume, but those skills can help you navigate challenges in various careers.

Following is a look at just some of the jobs in which skills honed in the military can be a real asset. Data on median pay and projected job-growth rates are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Firefighter

firefighter putting out a house fire
Jackan / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $49,620 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 5%

Firefighters, like military personnel, need to be physically fit and willing to put themselves at risk in emergency situations. And there’s help out there for veterans interested in this career.

The nonprofit group Troops to Firefighters helps train, counsel and place veterans in these vital jobs. And additional programs, such as California’s Veterans Fire Corps and Montana’s Veterans Green Corps (which is currently assessing whether to continue), assist vets who want to pursue work fighting wildland fires.

Emergency dispatcher

Mircea Moira / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $40,660 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 6%

Police, fire and ambulance dispatchers, like military service members, must keep calm under pressure and communicate clearly and authoritatively. And there’s help available to interested veterans.

Troops to Firefighters, the same nonprofit that helps veterans find work as firefighters, has a program aimed at helping vets in some states become certified 911 operators in just three weeks.

Police officer or detective

Policeman standing in front of patrol car.
John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $63,380 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 5%

Much as military personnel serve their country under difficult and sometimes life-threatening circumstances, so too do police officers and detectives.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police notes that veterans who’ve served as military police or security forces have an especially applicable skill set, but other vets are also well-suited to the law enforcement field.

And, once again, there’s help out there. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, operates Vets to Cops, a hiring program for military veterans.

To learn more about how much you could earn in this line of work, check out “Here’s How Much the Police Make in All 50 States.”

Security guard or gaming surveillance officer

Andrey_Popo / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $28,530 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 4%

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property.

Security guards work everywhere from shopping malls to hospitals, and gaming surveillance officers work in casino settings. The energy industry also needs security workers, and the Center for Energy Workforce Developent’s Troops to Energy Jobs initiative helps vets transition from active service to jobs in that field.

EMT or paramedic

LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $34,320 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 7%

Military medics deal with everything from broken bones to blast injuries. Yet the civilian world doesn’t always make it easy for vets to transition into medical jobs.

Emergency medical news site EMS1.com reported last year that colleges aren’t sure how to interpret medical experience from military transcripts, and state EMS offices have their own requirements that vets must meet. But there are organizations, including Virginia’s Military Medics and Corpsmen Program, that help smooth the path.

Licensed practical or vocational nurse

nurse
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $46,240 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 11%

Health care is a common type of occupation for active-duty enlisted personnel, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so transitioning to a civilian job as a licensed practical or vocational nurse is a natural change.

Some health care organizations, such as HCA Healthcare, focus specifically on veteran recruitment. And it’s not just vets they’re looking to hire: HCA has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign as a founding coalition member.

IT jobs

Computer programmers
nd3000 / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $86,320 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 12%

The military is more reliant on computers than ever, and those who’ve honed their information technology skills in the service can expect to transfer them to private-sector jobs.

In both the military and civilian world, computer and information technology occupations vary, from computer support specialists to database administrators to information security analyst positions. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Cisco and other big-name tech companies have special programs focused on recruiting veterans, spouses and dependents.

Medical assistant

VGstockstudio / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $33,610 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 23%

Check out that 23% projected growth rate for medical assistant jobs! Workers in these positions perform administrative and clinical tasks in health care settings, and some are even able to enter the occupation with a high school diploma, picking up the skills needed through on-the-job training.

As with other medical positions, a good place to start is with health care organizations, such as HCA Healthcare, which focus specifically on veteran recruitment.

Teacher

Teacher in a classroom
India Picture / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $60,320 per year for high school teachers; $57,980 for kindergarten and elementary school teachers

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028
: 4% for high school teachers; 3% for kindergarten and elementary school teachers

This familiar bumper sticker slogan gets it right: “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” And, with the right training, leadership and communications skills learned in the military can translate into a teaching position.

Numerous programs exist to help veterans step in front of their own classrooms, including Troops to Teachers and Teach for America’s Military Veterans Initiative.

To learn more about how much you could earn in this line of work, check out “Here’s How Much Teachers Are Paid in Every State.”

Food preparation or serving jobs

Waitress
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $23,730 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 8%

The chow may be better once you’re out of the military, but someone still has to prepare and serve it, and that work doesn’t change much from military base to trendy bistro.

Plus, the flexible hours that food preparation jobs offer may allow veterans and their families to shift their schedules to care for children or attend school.

Material-moving machine operator

sculpies / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $35,850 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 4%

The military, like the civilian world, will always have a need for those who are capable of moving people and items from one place to another.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the most common military occupations is transportation and material-handling, service members who transport military personnel and cargo. Specific jobs in that field, like cargo specialist, may include work similar to the civilian job of material-moving machine operators.

Truck driver

welcomia / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $43,680 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 5%

Truck drivers keep the engines of commerce humming, delivering everything from car parts to groceries. And while the vehicles may be different, driving skills sharpened in the military are directly useful back in civilian jobs.

Troops Into Transportation seeks to train veterans to qualify for their commercial driving licenses and get out on the road.

Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment mechanic and installer

JP WALLET / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $47,610 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: 13%

The projected need for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment mechanics and installers over the next decade is in the double digits. Veterans who worked in mechanical-repair positions while in the service should find their skills translate well to these jobs.

But even without that background, training programs at technical and trade schools and community colleges can help prepare you. The Troops to Trades program helps veterans train for and find work in this industry, too.

Automotive service technician or mechanic

4 PM production / Shutterstock.com

Median annual pay as of 2018: $40,710 per year

Projected job growth rate from 2018 to 2028: minus 1%

Many military jobs involve work as a vehicle or machinery mechanic. Although, in the civilian world, employees are more likely to work on a Toyota than a tank, the skills learned in military service should transfer well to positions as automotive service technicians and mechanics.

General Motors, for one, offers free web-based training to qualified veterans who are interested in technical or non-technical jobs at GM car dealerships.

Do you know of other job opportunities for veterans? Leave your tips in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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