When you serve in the military for a number of years, you develop a number of skills. But what happens when you leave the armed forces? You still need to support yourself and your family. But finding jobs after leaving the military can be tough, especially if you initially joined at a young age.
Fortunately, there are many jobs that are suitable for veterans, even without a degree or formal qualifications. There are many companies out there which offer high-paying civilian jobs. They span a range of industries, from customer service and construction to healthcare and technology.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the best careers for veterans. We’ll look at some of the highest paying jobs for those who have left the military, as well as examine what qualifications (if any) are required to get one of these roles. We’ll also go over some of the transferable skills needed for each job.
Types of Jobs and Careers for Military Veterans
If you’re ex-military, or if you’re planning to retire from the armed forces soon, and are considering your career options, read on. If you want to find out about medical jobs in the armed forces, you should visit this post. This guide will provide you with plenty of inspiration to drive your exciting new career change.
Become a Skilled Tradesman
Learning a trade is a fantastic way to open up a new career pathway after you’ve left the military. With a little training, veterans could become:
- An electrician
- A plumber
- A carpenter
- An auto mechanic
- A welder
Many veterans are used to working with their hands. In fact, many veterans already have some experience of working in these fields from their time in the military. If you were tasked with servicing military vehicles during your time in the forces, becoming an auto mechanic wouldn’t be such a huge transition. You would just be learning to apply your existing skills and knowledge in new ways.
There’s also a multitude of schemes for ex-servicemen and women to learn a trade and find a new job opportunity after they leave. Helmets to Hardhats is one such scheme, which helps veterans find apprenticeships in the construction industry – learning trades such as joinery and welding. There are also a huge number of vocational training schools which provide training courses in areas such as plumbing and carpentry.
You don’t need any other prior qualifications to pursue one of these career paths after you’ve left the military. Some schools or training providers may ask you to complete some basic tests to ensure you have the required education levels to complete the course – but these are no tougher than anything you might have faced during your time in the armed forces.
Hundreds of military veterans receive engineering training and education as part of their experience in the armed forces. The military is packed with talented engineers, who spend their days maintaining all the vital equipment that is used regularly.
But servicing equipment is not the only task that military engineers do. They’re also responsible for defensive and offensive duties, which can involve constructing fortifications, planting landmines, strategically demolishing enemy structures and clearing transportation routes.
Many companies looking for engineers are very keen to employ ex-servicemen. This is because they have a multitude of great qualities that make them valuable employees, including:
- The abilities to both lead and follow. Ex-military engineers understand the importance of stepping into leadership roles when necessary, but they also know how to follow instructions to the letter.
- Working in the military is all about building strong teams, with each team member fulfilling their duties to help progress towards a shared goal.
- Coaching and mentoring. Older veterans who have spent many years in the military have probably helped to coach and mentor their fair share of young recruits. This can be especially helpful in a workplace that takes on graduates.
Of course, the veterans who worked in engineering roles in the military will have a distinct advantage over those who performed different roles. But that doesn’t mean you need the experience to pursue this career route. Engineering jobs can be found in a huge range of sectors, and there are plenty of training opportunities out there to support veterans who want to give this career path a try.
Veterans Careers In Healthcare
The healthcare industry is one of the top areas of employment for veterans – especially those who had some form of medical training during their time of service. It’s thought that the transition to civilian work is slightly easier for those who worked in military medicine.
This is because the challenges faced are relatively similar. The jargon is the same, the procedures and protocols are very similar, and the federal standards for caring for patients are identical, whether you’re in a civilian hospital or a military one. There are also behind-the-scenes jobs that may be of interest to you.
However, even those who didn’t receive any training in the military can become fully qualified in a range of healthcare fields very quickly. You can become a Registered Nurse (RN) in as little as two years, and other courses can train you to become a paramedic or a phlebotomist in a matter of months.
Let’s take a look at some of those options in details:
Becoming A Registered Nurse
To become a Registered Nurse in the US, you need to undertake a minimum of two years’ training. During this training period, you’ll learn about the main duties and responsibilities of an RN. These include coordinating patient care, educating patients about particular health conditions, providing support to patients and their loved ones, performing and evaluating diagnostic tests and more.
If you were a medic or corpsmen in any of the armed forces, you may be able to gain admission to an accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, which usually takes just three semesters. These courses build on your existing knowledge and abilities to ensure you meet the standards required to become a civilian nurse.
You can find these courses all over the US – some of the best options are offered at Florida State University, Duquesne University, and the University of Kentucky.
From Military Veteran to Phlebotomist
Phlebotomy is an increasingly popular healthcare career path for retired servicemen. It involves collecting blood samples from patients for a variety of reasons, including testing, research and blood donations. Phlebotomists are also responsible for storing and transporting the samples, whether it’s to a blood bank, a laboratory or a testing facility.
In the US, anyone can train to become a phlebotomist, providing they have a high school diploma or equivalent. This means it’s a perfect position for anyone who joined the military straight after they graduated from high school.
To become a phlebotomist, you’ll need to complete an accredited training course. These are providing by technical and community colleges all over the US, as well as specialist medical training schools.
The length of these courses varies greatly. Some can be completed in a matter of weeks. Others are completed over the course of a year, and some of have other training elements thrown in – EKG training is a popular sister subject for those studying phlebotomy.
Once you’ve completed your training course, you may need to become certified. There are four states where certification and licensure are mandatory – California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington. In all other states, certification is not required but is strongly recommended.
Veterans are often well-suited to the job of a phlebotomist. A good phlebotomist is willing to be hands-on with patients and is able to follow instructions and procedures very closely.
Phlebotomists must be great at working independently when necessary, but they must also possess good teamworking skills, depending on the environment they’re working in. Good organizational skills are also a must – and many people in the military have spent years being methodically organized as part of their role.
Can Veterans Become Paramedics?
A paramedic (or an Emergency Medical Technician) is a medic who provides emergency treatment and arranges the transport of patients to the nearest hospital. They arrive in ambulances which contain basic medical equipment, and their jobs are extremely fast-paced and demanding. For veterans who are accustomed to working in high-pressure environments, this can be an ideal career path.
The pathway to becoming a paramedic is very simple. First, you need to complete EMT Basic Training. You can find these courses offered at technical and community colleges all over the country. They can take between six months and two years to complete, depending on the school itself. This basic training will provide you with the basics you need to handle emergency situations and safely treat patients before transporting them.
Once you finish your initial training, you may need to pass a licensing exam and pass a background check. You’ll then be a qualified EMT. You can either try to find work as an EMT or expand your skills even further with an Advanced EMT course. These tend to involve much more coursework and cover more advanced topics.
Finally, you have the option of completing a further two-year program to become a paramedic. These are the most rigorous training courses available, and once completed, you’ll be able to provide the highest level of care to patients in emergency scenarios.
As you can imagine, many veterans like the idea of pursuing a career as a paramedic or an EMT. The skills required to be in the armed forces are very similar to those required to be a paramedic. You need the ability to think and act fast, as well as staying calm and following procedure in an emergency.
Law Enforcement Jobs for Ex-Servicemen
The world of law enforcement is perhaps one of the most natural transitions for those going from military to civilian life. Many veterans joined the forces in order to keep their families, communities, and country safe. It makes sense to move into a new career which is based on those same values.
These positions can include:
- Police officer
- Security guard
- Criminal or private investigator
- Parole or probation officer
Some of these roles require very basic training. The requirements to be a security guard will vary depending on the state you’re living in. Some states required no training at all to become an unarmed security guard, while others require that you complete a short course to provide your abilities.
Becoming a police officer, an investigator or a parole officer can be slightly more complicated, with more requirements for each role. As well as having a high school diploma and meeting any other state-level minimum requirements, you’ll need to pass the law enforcement entrance exam and graduate from the police academy.
Naturally, many veterans see this as a perfect opportunity for them. They already have the fitness levels and ability to follow orders that are critical in the world of law enforcement. Many also have licenses to carry firearms and are already trained to use them appropriately. This makes ex-servicemen perfect candidates for roles as police officers.
Many veterans don’t want to stop serving their country just because they’ve retired from the armed forces. If your job in the military involves analyzing data or working with intelligence, you could pursue a career as a civilian intelligence analyst. This is a high-paid role, and very demanding, but perfect for those who are retiring from field work and want to spend more time in one place, analyzing the intelligence rather than collecting it.
For some employers, a Bachelor’s degree is required to apply for this role. But many will happily consider those who have significant experience in a similar role,
Jobs in Peaceful Settings
For veterans who have been in combat zones or other traumatic environments seek more peaceful, relaxing jobs that involve working outdoors or with animals. Many ex-military servicemen and women suffer from PTSD, which is not helped by spending all day in an office or working in stressful situations.
Rather than pursuing careers in law enforcement or medicine, many veterans prefer the idea of working as some of the following:
- Landscapers or gardeners
- Boat riggers
- Groundskeepers or park rangers
- Dog trainers
- Veterinary technicians
- Animal shelter volunteers
Many of these positions are very well paid – with the obvious exception of the voluntary one, which is most suited to those who don’t need to support themselves with their paycheck.
Perhaps best of all, most of these positions don’t involve any extensive training at all. To become a veterinary technician, you will need to complete a relevant educational course, but if you’re interested in becoming a gardener or a groundskeeper, you won’t need to go back into education to do so. Simply start applying for the jobs, and wait for the opportunity to prove yourself at the interview stage.
The military is renowned for its efficiency. That means veterans are uniquely placed to be able to offer advice on boosting efficiency in a multitude of areas, making them perfect candidates for business consultancy roles.
Management consultants come into businesses and help to identify the inefficiencies in how a business is run. For veterans who were in leadership roles in the military and don’t want to let their management skills go to waste, this type of role is ideal.
What Are the Best Jobs for Veterans?
Finding a job as a veteran can be challenging. The transition from being in the military to working in a civilian environment is tough, but finding the right job can make it much easier.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of opportunities out there for dedicated veterans ready to move onto something new. Whether you choose to pursue a career in healthcare or as a skilled tradesman, there is a multitude of educational courses and training opportunities you can take to make a real success of your new career.
Of course, some career paths are more suited to veterans than others. For example, working in the emergency services makes a lot of sense for veterans who are accustomed to high-pressure environments. Becoming a paramedic or a police officer certainly appeals to the ex-servicemen and women who want to put their ability to work well in stressful situations to good use.
Then there are the career paths which are a step away from military work. Phlebotomy is a world away from working in a combat zone – you’ll often be working in blood donation centers and visiting elderly care facilities to take samples. Working with animals or as a groundskeeper is also a great way to leave the traumas of life in the military behind.
The bottom line is that there are many opportunities and pathways for veterans to follow when seeking a new career. Be sure to carry out plenty of research to ensure you choose the one that suits you best.
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