For veterans, making the transition back to the civilian world can be challenging. They’re faced with a new system, often one that is much less structured, and bosses with different leadership styles.
Add in the fact that many of them have work experience, but no college degree, and it makes the job hunting process more difficult. According to Military.com, many veterans have problems translating their military skills to the private sector, while some employers may subscribe to stereotypes about veterans being too formal or disciplined.
Keeping those things in mind, veterans should look for career counseling to help them enter the civilian workforce and pay attention to job trends. Some jobs may be better suited for skills they developed while serving, and some may require additional education. Job seekers are encouraged to do their own independent research, as requirements may vary from state to state.
Here are some of the top jobs for veterans, according to a 2017 report from GI Jobs:
Accountant and Auditor
According to the BLS, accountants netted an average salary of $68,150 as of May 2016. This field is expected to grow 10% by 2026, which is faster than average. Accountants and auditors are primarily responsible for creating and checking an organization’s financial records. They also evaluate those records and financial operations to make sure the company is running smoothly. Attention to detail is important in accounting, as well as in most military positions, so this skill would come in handy.
This position typically requires a bachelor’s degree, and some companies also require certification within specific accounting areas.
Service Technician and Mechanic
Some veterans may already have experience working with automobiles, so transferring into this role may be easier with experience. As of May 2016, mechanics made $38,470 on average. The field is projected to grow 6% by 2026, which is as fast as average, according to the BLS. Many techs and mechanics work with computers to diagnose issues with cars, but also need to work with their hands to replace parts.
Most employers require techs and mechanics to be industry certified, as well as complete a postsecondary program.
The need for software developers is projected to grow 24% by 2026, meaning the demand for this field is strong. Software developers create computer programs and applications, as well as the operating systems for various devices. They brought in around $102,280 per year as of May 2016. This position requires previous experience and a strong working knowledge of computers.
Software developers usually need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer information systems, and some employers may ask for further education as well.
Computer Systems Analyst
Working in this position necessitates well-developed analytical skills, as the main responsibility is to study and analyze an organization’s computer systems. They use knowledge of business and IT to find the best possible solutions. In this role, expect to earn an average of $87,220. This job should grow by 9% by 2026, mainly because of an increase in cloud computing and healthcare IT usage.
To become a computer systems analyst, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science is usually required.
Human Resources Manager
A human resources manager plans and organizes the administrative functions within a company, which may involve recruiting new staff and working with executive management teams. The field is expected to grow 9% by 2026, which is about the average rate. An HR manager pulls in an average salary of $106,910.
Cybersecurity analysts protect websites and networks from cyber threats such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, hacks and viruses. They prevent attacks with their knowledge on databases, hardware, firewalls, encryption and networks. The demand for cybersecurity analysts is huge – according to the BLS, employment is projected to grow 28% through 2026. On average, cybersecurity analysts earn $96,040 annually.
Cybersecurity analyst positions typically require a bachelor degree. Some also have an advanced degree such as an MBA or an MSIT degree. Government agencies need professionals with expertise in cybersecurity, so this field can be a great fit for those with military experience.
Electricians are responsible for installing and maintaining the power and lighting systems in homes and businesses. They do a lot of interior and exterior work, and may have unconventional hours based on need. As construction projects and updates continue to expand, the need for electricians will grow as well – the BLS projects a 9% growth rate by 2026. On average, electricians earn $52,720 annually.
Through apprenticeships, most electricians learn the skills needed, but some choose to attend technical school. A license may also be required.
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver
As a truck driver, expect to pull in around $41,340 yearly. Truck drivers move goods and supplies across the country. Many drivers are away from home for weeks at a time, but the occupation is predicted to grow by 6% by 2026 as supply chains continue to grow and evolve.
To become a heavy and tractor-trailer driver, a high school diploma is usually required as well as attending a professional truck driving school. Additionally, drivers need to have a commercial driver’s license.
Aircraft and Avionics Technician
As an aircraft technician, the main responsibility is to repair aircraft and keep up to date on all scheduled maintenance. This area is expected to grow 5% by 2026, as there will be needs to replace workers who retire or move to other fields. As of May 2016, they made an average annual salary of $60,170.
These workers are typically asked to learn at a Federal Aviation Administration-approved school, or military training may also be accepted, depending on the employer.