Upon leaving the military, many veterans report feelings of aimlessness or frustration as they determine the best next steps for their career. Thankfully, veterans can harness their impressive resumes and range of experiences to gain highly rewarding positions in a broad range of environments.
Whether you favor working in criminal justice or health and human services, you hold great potential. Don’t be afraid to highlight your military experience as you pursue one of these excellent career paths:
Few people are better suited to emergency management than veterans, who often possess extensive experience in emergency or combat situations. Emergency management directors prepare and execute procedures for a variety of catastrophes, from natural disasters to terrorist incidents. They regularly review emergency plans and revise if necessary. Many are responsible for the financial elements of emergency relief, applying for federal funding and reporting on allocated funds.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency management directors earn an average of $70,500 per year, although extensive education and experience are required to secure work in this competitive field.
Many military officials eventually transition into law enforcement. They become police officers, probation officers, detectives, and security guards. Salary and job outlook varies significantly based on the law enforcement path veterans choose. Those who pursue work in probation earn a median annual salary of $50,160, while police officers earn a median $61,600 per year. Detectives and investigators earn the most, with the BLS reporting annual median pay of $78,120 as of May 2016.
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Nursing may be an excellent fit for those who feel they’ve lost their purpose upon returning home from combat. Eager to serve, veterans enjoy the varied workdays of nurses, who, rather than working conventional 9-to-5 hours, work longer, but less frequent shifts. Most spend ample time on their feet, with no two shifts ever exactly alike. Earning potential is excellent, with the BLS reporting a median salary of $68,450 for registered nurses and far more for nurse practitioners.
Information systems is an excellent option for anybody who obtained IT training during their military tenure. Salaries can be exceedingly high for those with their bachelor’s degree, especially if they boast military experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an annual median salary of $135,800 in 2016, plus an impressive job growth rate of 15 percent (average growth rate is 7% for all occupations). These highly-paid employees analyze existing technology infrastructure, recommend improvements, promote network security initiatives, and negotiate directly with vendors.
Veterans often possess extensive leadership experience, along with clear attention to detail, honed through years of training and immersion in high-stakes situations. Their skills are highly appreciated in the fast-paced world of finance, where they, in turn, appreciate being challenged on a continual basis. Many use their unique experience to pursue careers in international finance, although others are satisfied to serve the local community as financial planners or analysts.
The BLS highlights annual median earnings of $81,760 for financial analysts and $90,530 per year for personal financial advisors. Both career paths enjoy exceptional growth rates, with personal financial advising boasting a 30 percent job outlook between 2014 and 2024.
Veterans boast extensive training and experience in a variety of environments and fields. Their natural desire to serve makes them well-suited for a diverse range of professions. Although many succeed in law enforcement and emergency management, others enjoy a smooth transition into nursing or information systems. No matter your preferred career path, you’re bound to make your mark as a post-military professional.