Veterans’ Guide to Careers After the Military

Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be scary yet exciting. Our guide provides resources and tips to help veterans land a civilian job.

October 19, 2021

Veterans’ Guide to Careers After the Military

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Moving from military to civilian life can be challenging. Luckily, many organizations help veterans start careers after the military. When researching careers for veterans, individuals should consider factors such as desired pay and interests.

This guide can help veterans form a career plan. Read on to learn how to select the right college and how to land a civilian job.

How to Choose a College and Degree After the Military

Veterans should first consider their desired major. Not every school offers every major type. Some veterans may choose a major similar to their military specialty. Others may pursue unrelated majors. Veterans who pursue a degree in fields like criminal justice or nursing can apply the technical knowledge and leadership skills they gained during their time in the military.

Veterans can refer to their Military Occupational Specialty Code to determine what types of careers for veterans align with their military job duties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers information on job duties and salaries.

Before selecting a college, veterans should consider learning formats. Students who want flexibility should explore online programs. Online learners can attend schools without relocating.

When choosing a school, prospective students should look for accreditation. Schools with regional accreditation receive regular quality assessments from agencies selected by the U.S. Department of Higher Education.

Veterans can access GI Bill® benefits to help pay for their education. Individuals who complete their military service honorably can receive free or reduced tuition at many accredited schools. Veterans should contact a prospective school's admissions department for details.

School Spotlight

Some schools offer more resources for veterans. The schools below go the extra mile to help military veterans transition to civilian life.

Normandale runs a veterans' resource center. Many of the center's workers are veterans themselves. These professionals help veterans complete their application and submit the FAFSA. Veterans can also access information on the Transition Assistance Program. The College provides veterans and their family members with extra aid. Dependents of veterans with disability ratings may qualify for the California Veteran Waiver. The College also lists links to government sites for veteran benefits. UF allows veterans to continue to enroll in coursework despite delays in the ArmyIgnitED payment rollouts. School staff works directly with the Army to pay soldiers' bills.

Translating Military Skills to Civilian Jobs

Veterans develop many skills during their active duty. They can apply these skills directly to specific jobs. This section explains which military jobs align with civilian positions. Keep in mind these careers and degrees are suggestions. Veterans can pursue nearly any type of degree and career.

Army Jobs

Navy Jobs

Air Force Jobs

Marine Jobs

Coast Guard Jobs

How to Land a Civilian Job

Veterans can take steps to position themselves for success in the job market. This section offers some suggestions on how to earn a civilian job.

All veterans should apply for Verification of Military Experience. This document outlines veterans' reported training. It also translates their service occupations to civilian terms. Each military branch runs a Credentialing Opportunities Online site. This site outlines how to fill any gaps between military training and civilian credentialing requirements. Some colleges offer quizzes or questionnaires to help connect veterans with a career path. Students with undecided majors can also request an academic advisor. Advisors suggest possible majors so learners can make decisions with confidence. Veterans can receive help through transition and care management teams. Case managers coordinate care activities and help veterans navigate the Veteran Assistance System. Veterans can apply for internships or job shadowing programs. They may benefit by connecting with organizations early. Veterans should develop skills beyond their military skills. For example, most civilian jobs require computer knowledge. Veterans may consider learning how to use software such as Adobe Suite. Veterans may benefit by updating their interviewing and resume-writing skills. Many schools, local libraries, and career centers offer help with resume creation. They also conduct mock interviews.

Companies That Hire Vets

The Veteran Jobs Mission connects veterans with companies that want to hire people who have served the U.S. The mission began with 11 companies that committed to hiring 100,000 veterans. The site now lists 200 companies committed to hiring one million veterans. See below for three businesses that hire vets.

This multinational company aims to hire as many veterans as possible to defend freedom and ensure world safety. BAE Systems attends several military outreach and recruitment events each year. Veterans comprise nearly 15% of Boeing's workforce. Since 2010, the company has hired more than 13,500 veterans. Military professionals with secret or top-secret security clearance receive opportunities for even more positions. This business also donates to veteran recovery and rehabilitation programs. This global security and aerospace company offers careers for veterans. Former military professionals can apply for positions in areas such as aeronautics and missiles. Lockheed Martin also publishes articles and discussions to help veterans get jobs.

Job Placement Programs for Veterans

The four programs below help veterans find fulfilling careers after the military.

The organization helps veterans find jobs in the construction industry. Veterans can explore federally approved apprenticeship training programs. These programs cost nothing for veterans. Active-duty service members hoping to transition back to civilian life can also apply for assistance. The government-run website lists hiring programs for veterans. The site includes information about the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act. Veterans can also enroll in a VA training program. Veterans with disabilities or individuals who want to enter the healthcare field may qualify for additional assistance. The organization hosts weekly intake and career exploration workshops for veterans. The group aims to connect injured military service members and disabled civilians with jobs. Veterans submit an application to receive help from a career counselor. Warriors to Work is part of the Wounded Warrior Project. The program offers career transition and development resources for individuals who become injured on active duty. Veterans can receive career counseling and job placement assistance. They can also receive tips on salary negotiation and the interview process.

Additional Resources for Veterans

College Campus Resources

The VSOC program works with 104 schools across the U.S. The program provides outreach resources and benefits for veterans and qualified dependents to transition from military to college life. SUNY Oneonta provides this tool detailing how course credits transfer from one New York institution to another. Students can use this tool to make informed decisions when planning their degrees. Most states offer some form of veteran resource center. The Community College of Philadelphia's program provides resources such as peer group discussions and transitional workshops.

Career Resources

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers employment programs for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Participants can take tracks to learn new skills. They can also learn how to return to a previous job or find a new job. Resources also exist for small-business owners and dependent family members. The service matches veterans with employers. Veterans can access job boards, periodicals, and job fairs. The site connects veterans with relevant careers. Veterans can browse information such as job outlook and typical wages. They can also review recommended education.

Programs and Organizations for Veterans

Military members, military spouses, and veterans can access HOH tools to find jobs. The organization hosts in-person and online networking events and workshops. The group also offers fellowship programs. The USO serves over 4.9 million service members. The group provides transitional resources for those ending their service, allowing them to begin their next chapter. The group helps veterans with its Trusted Military Organizations list. Veterans Advantage holds these organizations in high regard and guarantees that they take care of veterans seeking careers after the military.

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