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Top 4 High-Growth Careers
That Value Military Skills
Transitioning from military life back to a civilian one comes with some challenges. These include reconnecting with family and friends, creating new routines, and finding housing, However, many veterans report that finding a job is the biggest hurdle they encounter.
In the past, it was hard for many service members to adapt to civilian jobs because employers didn't understand how their military training and experience could translate to their organizations. But that's all changing.
While it's true some employers still aren't sure how military skills apply, hiring trends show many are willing to learn. If you're looking to transition to a civilian job, here are four high-growth careers where employers value military skills.
1. Government Contractor
Depending on where you plan to live, you could pursue working for the government in a new capacity. Many government agencies outsource work to the private sector. The U.S. Department of Defense is one of the biggest customers of these contractors, so chances are you can find a good fit, especially if you've held a security clearance while on active duty. Companies are eager to hire candidates who have been previously cleared. Additionally, if you've worked in intelligence in any capacity, you know it’s is a very in-demand skill set that contractors seek.
If you plan to live in the Washington, D.C. area or near a military base in another state, there are usually many businesses in the vicinity supporting government operations. It's common for ex-military members to find a civilian job comparable to their military one — sometimes even finding themselves working in the same circles as they did when they were active duty.
Qualifications: This will depend upon your military experience and what type of job/company you're applying to; a college degree definitely doesn't hurt.
2. Cybersecurity Consultant
The tech industry is growing exponentially, and cybersecurity is at the top of the list. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's expected this industry will see a 28 percent growth through 2026. The cybersecurity field deals with sensitive information, requiring discretion, a willingness to follow protocol, and the ability to pay close attention to detail; consequently, veterans are widely viewed as a perfect fit. With the kind of high-level attacks that hackers are engaging in currently, some have said that battlefield experience translates well to the "battlefield of security."
Qualifications: A bachelor's degree and less than five years’ work in a related occupation is typical. However, if you don't possess these, don't worry; you can increase your skills by getting certified. There is such a shortage in this industry, former service members typically are highly sought out to fill vacancies.
3. Truck DriverIf you've found that you enjoy moving around while on active duty, driving a truck might be a great choice for your next career move. According to Military.com, there is a significant shortage of truckers for many industries. Other forecasts note this shortage will increase by 2025, making trucking a potentially very lucrative career choice.
The job requires a lot of stamina and self-discipline, both of which the military instils in its members. One of the greatest benefits is that truck drivers travel the country, which can satisfy a vet’s need for movement.
Qualifications: A state-issued driver's license that is clean and a CDL (commercial driving license). If you don't have one, you'll need to get one. A certification to operate heavy equipment further broadens your job options while increasing the value of your résumé.
4. Healthcare technicianThe healthcare field is growing so rapidly, you can practically hand-pick a job in this field. The overall industry, which is inclusive of all healthcare-related jobs, is anticipated to grow close to 20 percent, which is much faster than average. Certain jobs within this category will be growing even faster.
If you've served in a medical unit, you'll easily qualify for many of the top healthcare jobs in demand. Many healthcare employers want to hire veterans because of the soft skills they've gained through their military careers, such as communication, organization and punctuality, and their ability to adapt and improvise, think on their feet and make strong decisions. These are all necessary skills when working directly with patients, especially in situations that require workers to make lifesaving decisions.
Qualifications: The skills needed to qualify for a job in the healthcare industry vary drastically depending on your chosen job. If you want to be an RN, you'll need a bachelor's in nursing or a certificate from an accredited nursing school. If you have less experience but want to get your foot in the door, you can look to becoming a home health aide. For this job, you'll need a high school diploma (or equivalent) and on-the-job training. Having CPR certification will also give you a boost.
These are four of the largest high-growth career fields in which the employers value military skills. If none of these catches your attention, consider the fields of disaster recovery (check out the FEMA online courses to boost credentials), construction, logistics and operations, law enforcement, private security, or aircraft maintenance.
Tips for Transition
Making the leap into a civilian career is easier if you know the right places to seek assistance, regardless of the industry you want to pursue. Here are a few tips:
- After you follow through with the Transition Assistance Program, be sure to see what services are available to you. If you need retraining or other assistance, there is help to be found.
- Explore the Veterans Employment Center website.
- Use an online military translator to help you write a new résumé that translates military acronyms and jargon into civilian language that describes your skills and knowledge.
- Network and attend military job fairs.
- Look into education benefits for veterans and/or pursuing college credit for military training.
Characterizing the recent positive response to hiring ex-military members, many employers are proactively seeking candidates like you to fill their vacant positions. They are quickly learning it makes good business sense to hire former military due to their values and strong work ethic. It may seem like you'll have trouble finding a job, but once you identify and pursue jobs in your preferred niche, things will begin to fall into place.
About the Author
Brad Miller is a Marine Corps veteran who served two combat deployments in Afghanistan. He comes from a military family with a long tradition of service. He and his brother created The Military Guide as a “straight shooters handbook” to provide helpful resources to service men and women at every stage of their military careers – from those first timid steps into the recruiter’s office, to walking proudly off base with a DD-214 as a newly minted veteran, and beyond.