There are some employers who just get it: If you want highly skilled, well-trained employees who work hard and learn fast, you want to employ ex-military personnel. Our military men and women have incredibly adaptable, translatable skills that make them very valuable to any industry.
What are some of the more popular careers for ex-military members who want to take what they’ve learned in the service and grow in the civilian world? Take a look at these five career paths that are not only in-demand even in today’s economy, but also offer service members an opportunity to continue growing and learning.
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics names computer scientists and database administrators among the “fastest growing occupations through 2014.” You would be hard pressed to name any successful business or organization that does not rely heavily on computer technology or data. The US Armed Forces uses some of the most technically advanced systems on the planet, which makes service members who have experience with IT part of an elite crew. Take this expertise into the civilian marketplace as an IT professional, whether as an entrepreneur, a certified contractor or a specialist.
Computer systems analysts, for example, are named by Economic Systems Modeling Specialists, Inc. as the fourth largest job opportunity in the country. Nearly 30,000 new jobs have been added in this field since 2010, and data indicates that the industry will continue to see growth. The biggest job opportunity, according to ESMSI, is in applications and systems software development, which has seen an addition of more than 70,000 jobs since 2010.
Law enforcement and military personnel seem to be cut from the same cloth. Both have a heart for service and an appetite to protect their community. Perhaps this is why veterans are offered hiring preferences with most police departments like bonus points on entrance exams, retirement perks, and even GI Bill benefits.
Plus, similar to the military, within law enforcement there are a number of specialized departments that offer professionals a chance to demonstrate specialized expertise.
How about a career that offers its professionals the chance to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, summers off, and the chance to earn extra income? Many veterans find immense satisfaction in the education field, particularly those who have science, technology, or math backgrounds. Think about it: Who is better suited to maintain order in the classroom, thrive under pressure and motivate young minds than our former military personnel?
There are also programs like DANTES Troops to Teachers that not only help train veterans and help them gain their teaching certification but also assist with placement in areas where the need for motivated, qualified teachers is greatest.
The American Dream at its finest: Owning and operating your own business. Once you’ve gained invaluable experience in the military, why not take what you’ve learned and live the dream?
Nearly 25% of all US veterans either seriously considers buying or starting their own business – or they actually do it, says SCORE, a nonprofit partner with the US Small Business Administration. They do this for good reason. Government regulation requires that a certain percentage of all federal government agencies must do business with a small, minority-owned or veteran-owned company.
Plus, if there’s anyone who has what it takes to navigate the stressful first years of business ownership, it’s military servicemembers. Not only do they have the discipline, they have had exposure to some of the finest examples of leadership (and possibly an example of how not to manage people), and they have access to some of the best entrepreneurial resources out there.
Civilian Public Service
It’s no surprise that many veterans opt to continue serving their country through civil service. The sense of altruism and public service that drives so many men and women to join the military in the first place is also what motivates many public servants to work in the hundreds if not thousands of federal agencies and organizations across the country.
EMSI ranked accounting, market research/marketing, and human resources among the top five job fields for 2013 – numbers 2, 3 and 4, respectively. And all of which, of course, are fields that can be found within the federal civil service.
Plus, some veterans qualify to receive special hiring preference when they apply for federal jobs.
Former members of the US military hold a number of highly desirable skills. This list is just the beginning of possibilities. With some additional education and training, even more doors can open to a huge array of potential second careers.