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Some veterans might worry that military service will work against them on a resume, but in many cases, the opposite is true. While the military teaches highly specialized skills that may not translate to all professions, it also teaches many that are perfect for fields such as law enforcement or security. A career in criminal justice, for instance, is closely related to many military roles and might be the perfect second career for you.

In order to have the best chance at finding your dream job, however, you’ll need to earn an applicable degree. The good news is that in the modern age there are more options than ever before when it comes to getting a bachelor’s degree and giving yourself that leg up in a civilian career.

Which Jobs Are Available?

There are quite a few job possibilities in fields related to criminal justice. For instance, you might go into public safety or the police force, or work as a probation officer or in a correctional facility to help people get their lives back on track. Some veterans with criminal justice degrees choose to work as private detectives, forensic investigators, FBI or CIA agents, postal inspectors or customs enforcement agents. Those who like to protect people and natural resources may be interested in careers such as fish and game warden, security guard or state trooper.

Do I Have Transferable Skills?

The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. People who have spent time in the military are already well-adjusted to the regimented life required in fields such as police work or security, and are comfortable with the chain of command. Moreover, they are already familiar with the odd hours required for those who work shifts, as is required both in the military and in law enforcement or investigative jobs. Most military personnel are also good at reading people and have excellent split-second decision-making skills, crucial for so many of the jobs listed above.

Download your Military Service Member’s Guide to learn how your military
experience and benefits could help with a college degree online.

Is It Hard to Re-Enter Civilian Life or Workforce?

Yes and no. Many veterans find that the pressures of civilian life are lower, because the life-and-death stakes that affect so many military members are no longer there. However, any kind of adjustment period is difficult, and some former military members struggle to adjust to the more laid-back pace of civilian life.

On the other hand, re-entering the workforce may be a breeze. Employers are very interested in veterans, and according to CareerBuilder, 46 percent of them are more likely to consider applications from veterans than those who have never spent time in the military.

Is a Criminal Justice Degree Right for Me?

The question of whether or not a criminal justice degree will meet your goals and make you happy is one only you can truly answer. The broad response, however, is that those who wish to protect and serve in any capacity might find more fulfillment pursuing a career in criminal justice. Those who want to help people, keep neighborhoods and cities safe, and make a difference will benefit greatly from this degree.