If you’re ex-military and looking to join the civilian workforce, you’re likely starting to consider which jobs for former military personnel would be best for you. The best jobs for ex-military span a wide range of areas, including business law, law enforcement, management, mechanical technicians, and healthcare support providers. Jobs for retired military officers generally favor management over assistant positions, but even if you weren’t an officer you can still find areas to work that resonate with your personal objectives.
The nation’s unemployment rate has continued to improve in recent years. Ironically, while economic opportunities are increasing, as a military veteran you may be facing more competition than ever for those new jobs. That’s because the number of people who have opted out of the workforce has reached an all-time high. As those people see more opportunity in the job market, they will come back to the workforce and compete with you for those new openings.
To have your best chance of success, it can really help to have specific training for the jobs you’re looking for. Receiving an education from an online or on-ground campus can boost your career opportunities and give you a competitive edge.
Vista College offers many programs that can help you make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce. Here are our top 10 job recommendations for ex-military personnel, which we support with specific programs aimed to make your transition a success.
1. Law Enforcement
If you’re a military veteran, you’re going to find yourself sought after for law enforcement positions. Police and sheriff’s offices know that you’re used to a chain of command, wearing a uniform, and responding to potential crises.
In 2014, President Obama put in place a “Vets to Cops” program, which grants money to agencies that hire post-911 veterans in law enforcement or emergency response positions. Billions of dollars are available. As an example, one sheriff’s office in Florida received almost $2 million in 2013 and 2014 to assist in hiring veterans.
Some veterans may find the transition to a police force to be more challenging than they expect. Police Magazine reports that veterans sometimes do poorly on police entrance exams or may have issues that are revealed during psychological screenings. But there several programs are available to assist ex-military with these challenges if needed.
CNN reported that the median annual pay for police offers in America was $56,980 in 2012. PayScale.com reports that police officers make between $30,490 and $81,300 per year. Also, there are cost of living adjustments to take into consideration. For example, police officers in San Francisco earn more because it’s an expensive city to live in.
A degree in criminal justice from Vista College can be a big help in making the transition from the military to civilian law enforcement. Coursework includes the following, all of which are all essential areas for law enforcement officers:
- Fundamentals of Criminal Law
- How Courtrooms Function
- Studies on Criminal Behavior
2. Information Technology Specialist or Manager
People with expertise in information technology are always in demand. If you’re ex-military and have experience with information technology (IT), either as a specialist or a manager, you’re going to be in even greater demand.
As many businesses grow, they find they need help with database management, networking, and technical support. Opportunities in these IT areas extend across all industries, so you don’t have to focus on any particular industry to be a valued IT employee.
Career Builder tallied the job postings for many categories and found that there were 35,788 average monthly unique postings for network and computer system administrator positions in 2014. There was also a from 2010-2014 and the median hourly rate of pay was $35.84. Based on a 160-hour work month, that’s on par with the pay grade for an O-3 (for example, an Army captain) with eight years in service or an O-4 (for example, an Army major) with five years. PayScale.com reports a typical salary range from $38,000 to $78,000 per year.
Vista College offers a Diploma in information technology as well as an associate’s degree. Our programs help you learn the following:
- How computer networks are constructed and managed
- How to fix problems that occur on networks and standalone computers
- How to provide technical support to others
- How to design the infrastructure that a company needs
3. Vocational/Practical Nurse
Many veterans have an aptitude for helping others and want to extend that aptitude into a career in nursing.
PayScale.com reports that the range of annual incomes for licensed vocational or practical nurses is about $30,600 to $53,800. The outlook for the need for more nurses is well above average. The great demand for vocational and practical nurses stems from the growing population of Baby Boomers who are now seniors and will need additional care in the next decade.
To become a vocational or practical nurse, you need to pass a state-approved program and get licensed. That usually takes about a year.
Vocational and practical nurses work under the supervision of another healthcare professional, typically a physician or a registered nurse. You’ll be responsible for providing care to patients, giving them medicine, assessing their conditions, and working generally to help patients with safety and injury prevention.
Vista College’s program offers a vocational/practical nurse Diploma. Our program gives you both classroom and laboratory experience, along with real-world case studies. You’ll learn about pharmacology, caring for newborns, pediatrics, and other aspects of nursing.
4. Medical Assistant
Ex-military can also look to bring their team spirit into employment as a medical assistant. The duties of a medical assistant focus more on administrative aid rather than helping patients directly.
PayScale.com shows that the median hourly wage for medical assistants is about $13, with a range from $10 to $17 per hour. Like nursing, the need for medical assistants is growing and is projected to rise rapidly over the next decade.
Part of the responsibility for medical assistants is helping patients with insurance forms, enabling them to feel comfortable in the physician’s office, and managing invoices and record keeping. Medical assistants may also help physicians by taking a patient’s vital signs, including blood pressure and body temperature.
Vista College’s program for medical assisting associate of applied science will teach you about medical terminology, anatomy, and the administrative procedures you’ll find in a medical setting. You’ll also learn about pharmacology, medical coding on laboratory forms, and how to manage a medical office. Your coursework leads directly to a training program in an on-the-job setting that can lead to a job offer.
5. Dental Assistant
Some ex-military personnel who would like to help others would rather not go into nursing. For those, there are still opportunities to assist in healthcare by working to help dentists with patient’s oral care.
Dental assistants have many responsibilities, including helping with patient care, taking x-rays, scheduling appointments for clients, and keeping patient records. PayScale.com reports that dental assistants have a median hourly wage of about $14, with a range from $10 to $20 per hour. The prospects for employment are projected to grow faster than average.
Vista College’s dental assistant Diploma program takes less than one year and includes both classroom and real-world instruction. You can expect to learn the following:
- How to ensure the safety and sterility of dental equipment
- How to keep patient records
- How to instruct patients on their oral hygiene
- Information on preventive dentistry
- Information on dental radiography
- Ways to help prevent dental infections
6. Veterinary Technician
For many, a career working with animals is one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable. Ex-military personnel can turn a love for animals into a career by focusing on being a veterinary technician.
Veterinary technicians do everything in the veterinarian’s office “except diagnose, prescribe, and do surgery,” said Julie Legred, veterinary technician and interim executive director of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.
PayScale.com shows that veterinary technologists and technicians have a median hourly wage of $13, but it ranges from $9 to $18 per hour. Texas and Florida have some of the highest rates of employment for veterinary technicians in the country, while Washington DC and Alaska offer the highest annual average wages.
If you like caring for animals and working with public health officials, a veterinary technician position may be right for you. Vista College’s veterinary technology associate of applied science program will teach you about veterinary pharmacology, anesthesia, surgery, anatomy, and more. Technologists usually hold four-year degrees while technicians hold two-year degrees.
An aptitude in math and science will be very helpful in this career path because you’ll need to calculate drug dosages and help interpret laboratory results.
7. Business Administration
Ex-military personnel often want take their in-service knowledge directly into the corporate world, but it helps to have a firm foundation about how businesses operate. Vista College’s Diploma in business administration provides you with a broad introduction to many areas of business operations.
You’ll learn about business law and finance, computer systems, the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite of programs, as well as management skills. The Diploma program takes less than a year to complete, and it prepares you for an entry-level position.
The average pay scales for different entry positions in business vary depending on the job responsibilities. As one example, Salary.com indicates that an entry-level business development associate has a median annual income of $58,864. PayScale.com shows that the range of annual salaries this position is from $34,000 to $84,000. Many other business-related opportunities have similar entry-level median incomes. If you take on this job, you can expect to be responsible the following:
- Developing business contacts
- Prospecting new customers
- Creating and executing effective presentations.
8. Business Management
Ex-military often have strong management skills and are looking to advance quickly from entry-level positions. Rather than being limited to entry-level positions, Vista College also offers a .
This program prepares students for all entry-level management positions and educates them about business theory and practice in the real world. The program identifies how to develop your civilian career and even start and grow your own business.
We provide expert instructors, so you can rely on their real-world expertise to gain vital information about human resource management, law, computer information systems, and even production and operations in an industrial setting.
People with business management degrees are employed in various occupations. Some of these include human resources, management, logistics, retail sales, and systems analysis. PayScale.com reports that the range of annual salaries for business managers is from $35,000 to $100,000. The prospects for more jobs in this area are very strong over the next decade.
To provide another example, national statistics also show that the median annual pay for logistics managers is about $72,780. The prospects for more jobs in this area are also very strong over the next decade.
9. HVAC Associate Degree
Ex-military with experience in machinery often have experience working with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. As the American economy recovers, there’s going to be a projected increased demand for people who can recommend, install, and repair HVAC equipment.
We hardly think about it, but homes, schools, government buildings, office buildings, hospitals, military facilities, and more all rely on HVAC systems to maintain a comfortable environment for the people who work or learn in those buildings. All of these systems need HVAC-trained personnel to keep them operating.
Payscale.com reports that the range of pay for HVAC technicians is from $24,000 to $56,000. At Vista College, students in the HVAC associate degree program learn how to install, service, and maintain HVAC systems in a variety of applications. You’ll learn basic refrigeration, electricity and magnetism, and the details of how HVAC systems work. The program takes less than one year to complete.
10. Electrical Mechanic
Veterans often have an aptitude for fixing electric systems, particularly in harsh conditions. Those skills can translate into a career as an electrical mechanic.
Electrical technicians need to know how to read blueprints and circuit diagrams, and how to repair and replace electrical components, such as circuits and fuse boxes.
At Vista College, the electrical mechanic associates degree provides the information you need including an overview of electrical circuitry, commercial and residential wiring, and other aspects of electric service. The program requires about 40 weeks of full-time instruction. You’ll benefit from experienced instructors in small classrooms that provide individualized training.
Salary Expert reports that electrical mechanics make an average annual salary ranging from about $25,000 to just under $50,000. Electrical mechanics in New York tend to make more than those in Florida.
Get Your Career on Track with Vista College
Today’s economy offers many opportunities for jobs for retired military. The opportunities are greater for those with an education. You may also qualify for financial aid so that you can focus on the educational programs that will give you a leg up on your competition. Plus, you will not worry about working part-time while attending school.
Employers like to hire ex-military, but they also appreciate that there’s a transition from the regimented structure of the military to what’s found in most companies and professional offices in the civilian world. Learning directly from people with business experience can help you prepare for that transition and the flexibility it demands. It also helps you educate prospective employers about your skills, talents, and experience.
Vista College is here to help support you as you seek a job after the military. Learn more about the specifics for each of the programs we offer, and seek help in choosing which one is best for you.
We offer programs running every 5 weeks with a short waiting time for your enrollment. Our small class sizes and hands-on instruction help you accelerate your learning. Most of our programs train you to start a new career in less than a year, and you will learn from experienced instructors with real-world insights.