Veterans, who have been trained to perform vital duties in defense of our country, have a lot to offer potential employers, but sometimes it isn’t enough to make it in the civilian job market. After serving in the military, education offers the opportunity to take a step up the ladder and position oneself for a solid career.
Below are degrees that can help dedicated, motivated veterans gain the credentials and expertise that can carry them through the transition to civilian life and move onward and upward through the ranks back home.
1. Criminal Justice
A criminal justice degree, which clears the path to a position in law enforcement, adds even more value to the veteran who is looking for a career in as a police officer. Veterans, who are skilled with weapons and have already met physical standards are often sought out by police forces across the country for their expertise and discipline.
However, with a criminal justice degree they have an added advantage, and more opportunities for promotion and advanced positions. Criminal justice degrees add to the military training of veterans by instructing them in constitutional concepts, trial proceedings and criminal law, preparing them for a role in domestic peacekeeping.
For technically-minded veterans, engineering is a solid choice with great potential. Engineers are in high demand, and that demand is projected to grow over the next decade. Veterans who worked in technical positions in the armed forces often already have some of the fundamentals of engineering down before pursuing a degree, so an engineering degree is a natural choice for those with a knack for math and science. An added benefit of an engineering degree for veterans is that it opens the door to a great number of government positions, for which veterans are favored over other applicants. For those veterans who have what it takes, an engineering degree could be the key to rock-solid job security and a comfortable lifestyle.
Due to the nature of the military, health is essential to performing tasks, so all recruits are trained to some extent in healthcare, and some go on to specialize as medics or work in clinics. For veterans with this experience, or those who have a continuing interest in healthcare, nursing is a solid occupation choice. Nurses are in high demand, and are taking on more and more of the workload at hospitals. A nurse commands a respectable salary, and can find work with little trouble. Additionally, as in the military, there is a lot of room for specialization. Some nurses practice in a clinical setting, while others, such as flight nurses, care for injured patients in helicopters.
Because job opportunities for nurses are projected to be excellent for the foreseeable future, nursing makes a great fit for veterans, particularly those with medical experience and a desire to cure the sick.
4. Network Administration
As the armed forces have become increasingly technically sophisticated, it has been necessary to train more and more soldiers in computer-related tasks. Computer networks have become essential to both administration and battlefield tactical awareness, and our troops have come to rely on the secure, efficient and seamless exchange of information to maintain superiority over the enemy. Veterans who have experience and skill with networks, and a continuing interest in how they work, may be interested in working in the field of computer networking.
A degree in network administration will give them an edge in procuring network administration jobs, which are wide open to those with the requisite skills. Network administration pays well and network administrators are sorely needed by companies and government agencies across the US. Today and for the foreseeable future, network administration practically guarantees well-paid work.
5. Physical Therapy
Training and warfare can take a toll on soldiers, and physical therapy is one of the most valuable rehabilitative measures for wounded and injured soldiers. It is also a well-paid job with higher-than-average expected growth. Veterans, many of whom must deal with the effects of war and training themselves, have a natural appreciation for physical therapy, and may find themselves interested in becoming physical therapists themselves. Positions in both government and civilian clinics abound, and the pay is significantly better than the national average.
6. Computer Science
For those veterans who are really serious about computers, a computer science degree is a step on the way to a high-level career in programming or network/security administration. Starting salaries for computer science majors can be as high as six figures, so the bright, enterprising veteran who likes working with computers should consider this degree as a path to a rewarding, lucrative career. A degree in computer science is a great way to step directly into a career in software development, information technology or network administration, but it can also serve as a stepping stone to high level specialization in a particular field, or even into a career in academia.
Computer science majors have a wealth of opportunities after graduation, and may choose to go directly to work or to enhance their knowledge even further through more advanced study.
Resource: Top 10 Computer and IT Programs Online
7. Information Security
As with computer science and network administration, information security is a very lucrative job with more openings than can currently be filled. The still emergent nature of information technology and the vast amount of data flowing through the internet require a great deal of manpower to harness and protect. Cybersecurity is a big problem that also presents a big opportunity for those bright and motivated enough to position themselves as players in the field.
In fact, demand for security experts is so high that companies are looking abroad to find competent workers. Software companies, telecommunications companies, banks, government agencies and brick and mortar businesses with an online presence all require the services of security experts to protect themselves from security breaches, theft and cyberterrorism. The anarchic nature of the internet and the rapid pace of technological development require vigilance and careful attention on an ongoing basis, so those with information security degrees will have plenty of work to do, and can command a high salary.
Resource: Top 10 Computer and IT Programs Online
Some veterans may want to both involve themselves with the community and work with the young so as to serve in yet another capacity. Teaching offers that opportunity, and many veterans have what it takes to help guide children on the path to a fulfilling life. There is something satisfying about creating opportunities for kids, and teaching offers job security and the option of working anywhere from rural areas to inner cities.
Although teaching positions are open to most people with bachelor’s degrees, a teaching degree typically results in a higher starting salary, which translates to significantly higher earnings throughout a career, and more job choices. Fortunately, a teaching degree can be completed in as little as a year, and a number of federal programs provide grants and loans for aspiring teachers, as well as generous loan forgiveness schemes specifically for teachers.
9. Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic
Veterans trained as medics are already partially qualified to be EMTs, and obtaining a degree as an emergency medical technician, or a more advanced degree as a paramedic, further improves job prospects. This line of work involves physical strength and emotional stability, as well as the ability to quickly and accurately assess an emergency situation. Veterans with experience in combat zones are particularly well-qualified for the work. Often, being an EMT or paramedic can serve as the gateway to another career in medicine, such as a physician’s assistant, registered nurse, or even doctor. Training for a position as an EMT is a good way for a veteran to get a foot in the door in the medical profession.
10. Fire Engineering/Fire Science
As competition heats up for positions in fire departments, having a degree in fire science gives applicants a critical edge. Veterans, who are trained to deal with emergencies and physically fit, are often naturals as firefighters, but training and education enhance their standing in both hiring and advancement opportunities. More and more fire departments across the country are requiring some training prior to acceptance, and in some cases offer tuition reimbursement to those who complete fire engineering and fire science degrees.
Because certification as an executive fire officer from the National Fire Academy now requires at least a two-year fire engineering degree, and advancing past battalion chief a often requires a four-year fire science degree, veterans who are interested in firefighting as a career should strongly consider going to school to obtain a degree prior to joining a fire department.