15 Best Careers for Former Military [+How to Get Them]

4 min read
15 Best Careers for Former Military [+How to Get Them] - black woman in military uniform sitting at a desk typing a computer

There are certain skills that employers across industries consider incredibly valuable: leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, to name a few. Veterans often check all of those boxes and more, making for well-rounded and highly sought-after employees.

If you’re asking yourself what to do after the military, take some time first to reflect on your existing skill set. You’ll find that there are many different paths that all lead to a meaningful career, based on your current knowledge or a new passion.

Keep reading for an overview of some popular jobs after military service to inspire your search.

Jobs After Military Service That Require a Degree 

  1. Healthcare professional

Overview: There are many healthcare roles that veterans have direct experience with, especially under extreme pressure in hostile environments. Working as a civilian nurse, physician, healthcare technician or assistant, however, requires adaptation to procedures and protocols.

Job Requirements: Requirements vary depending on position, but an undergraduate degree is typically necessary. Licensing and certification requirements could also be required.

Median Salary: $77,760 

  1. Aviation Technician

Overview: Aviation technicians are responsible for all maintenance and repair of an aircraft, including addressing electrical issues, replacing defective parts, inspecting work and keeping detailed records of all services. The transition from the Air Force to civilian aviation technician can be relatively straightforward. 

Job Requirements: It is typical for workers in this field to earn a certification of completion from a Part 147 FAA-approved technician school. Technicians also often have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field.

Median Salary: $70,010

  1. Information Technology Specialist

Overview: An IT specialist provides support to individuals or organizations for a wide range of technology needs. Common responsibilities are maintaining computer networks, troubleshooting issues and ensuring constant availability of a system.

Job Requirements: Different IT positions will come with their own requirements, but at minimum, an associate’s degree is typically needed. In some cases, a high school diploma and relevant work experience will suffice.

Median Salary: $68,050 

  1. Logistician

Overview: A logistician is responsible for coordinating an organization’s supply chain system, which includes every step of moving a product from supplier to consumer. In this role it’s important to pay close attention to detail, from developing business relationships to understanding client needs.

Job Requirements:  A bachelor’s degree is commonly sought by employers, however, an associate’s degree may be acceptable in some instances. Industry certification is also valuable.

Median Salary: $77,520

  1. Business Administrator

Overview: Also referred to as an administrative services manager, this high-level role involves planning, directing and coordinating the daily operations of an organization. That often involves setting goals, deadlines and expectations.

Job Requirements: A bachelor’s degree and relevant experience are usually enough to earn a job as a business administrator. 

Median Salary: $103,330

  1. Civil Engineer

Overview: A civil engineer’s job involves planning, designing, implementing and overseeing a variety of building projects. Examples of projects that require efforts by a civil engineer include facilities, roads and sewage systems.

Job Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field is necessary for this work. Licensing requirements vary by state.

Median Salary: $89,940

  1. Fundraising Manager

Overview: The aptly named role of fundraising manager involves overseeing money raised on behalf of an organization or nonprofit. Fundraising managers take the lead on all fundraising efforts, including hosting events.

Job Requirements: A bachelor’s degree, and sometimes a master’s degree, are required to perform the duties of this position. Substantial experience is also often required.

Median Salary: $107,390

  1. Nonprofit Director

Overview: These nonprofit leaders are tasked with coordinating and overseeing programs that support a community. Efforts involve working with stakeholders and community members to get a sense of what is needed and how the nonprofit organization can implement a plan of action.

Job Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field is a requirement for many positions, while some also require a master’s degree.

Median Salary: $74,240

Jobs After Military Service That Do Not Require a Degree Career

  1. Law Enforcement

Overview: Police officers are tasked with maintaining law and order while ensuring the safety of communities. Among varying ranks, duties include patrolling, investigating, community outreach and timely response efforts.

Job Requirements: It is possible to become a police officer with credentials ranging from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most law enforcement officers graduate from a training academy before a probationary period with the department they will work for.

Median Salary: $69,160

  1. CDL Driver

Overview: A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, allows for the operation of heavy trucks, including tractor-trailers. Many CDL drivers make long-haul transports on trucks that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Job Requirements: Many have a high school diploma and have completed a professional training program in addition to earning a CDL.

Median Salary: $49,120

  1. Electrician

Overview: Installation, repair and maintenance of varying electrical systems are all part of an electrician’s work. These types of systems power lighting, appliances, energy distribution systems and much more.

Job Requirements: Many electricians complete technical schooling and an apprenticeship, during which they gain hands-on experience identical to what they will face on their own job sites. Many states have specific licensing requirements for electricians.

Median Salary: $60,240

  1. Construction Equipment Operator

Overview: These workers are entrusted with running heavy machinery, often used for substantial construction projects such as building bridges, roads and dams.

Job Requirements: Many construction equipment operators attend a vocational school, complete an apprenticeship or have other first-hand experience on a job site.

Median Salary: $51,050

  1. Machinery Mechanic 

Overview: Machinery mechanics are experts in repairing and maintaining industrial machinery and factory equipment. That can involve building, dismantling and evaluating different types of machinery.

Job Requirements: Employers often look for a high school diploma and specialized training via an apprenticeship or similar hands-on experience.

Median Salary: $59,470

  1. Real Estate Broker

Overview: Real estate brokers lead their clients in the process of buying and selling homes.

Job Requirements: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, along with real estate courses, a licensing exam and a state-specific broker exam.

Median Salary: $62,190

  1. Project Manager

Overview: Responsibilities include planning, budgeting and executing any type of project that a business or organization needs to achieve specific goals.

Job Requirements: While it is common for project managers to have a bachelor’s or more advanced degree, it is possible to earn this role through experience and taking on more responsibility at an organization while also earning specialized certifications.

Median Salary: $95,370

It’s important to note that salaries will vary depending on exact job responsibilities and other factors. However, investing in your education is one way to stand out from other applicants.

The University of San Diego offers online master’s degree programs, including an MS in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, that can be completed on your own time as you navigate the transition from military to civilian life and balance an existing job and home life.

USD’s MSNP program is especially popular with veterans who are committed to working toward making a social impact and serving the greater good.

Browse the free eBook, “Choosing an Online Master’s Degree,” to learn more about the possibilities ahead.