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Part of Western Governors University

December 3, 2019

Career Development

10 best jobs after the military.

Silhouette of soldiers with packs on

Active duty military service is demanding and difficult work. Here at WGU, we’re extremely grateful for all those who are willing to defend our great country. While active duty military service is demanding, transitioning to a civilian lifestyle can be extremely difficult as well. Roughly ⅓ of veterans surveyed by Pew Research say they had a difficult transition back to being a civilian. And nearly half of veterans who have served in the time since September 11th, 2001 say their transition to being civilians was very difficult. Part of the difficulty in transitioning to a civilian lifestyle can be getting hired after a military career. The army or other military branches prepares you with vital and specific skills, but sometimes those skills don’t directly translate to employment in the mainstream workforce.

WGU strives to create degree programs that can help veterans get the education and skills they need to find employment in the mainstream workforce. Our military-friendly system helps veterans utilize their experience in their education, which translates to hiring potential. We offer completely online degree programs that can be done entirely on your schedule, from anywhere you’re stationed. We also offer low, flat-rate tuition with help for military members to make their degree even more affordable. 

If you’re a veteran who has served our country and are ready to transition into a civilian lifestyle, it’s important to know which kinds of careers could be a good fit for you. Learn how to prepare your resume for a potential employer, make sure you're a good hire, and that you have the training you need with our help. WGU offers degrees in many of these career paths that can help you be qualified and prepared to land that dream job.

1. Accountant.

Job description: Accountants are the financial wizards of an organization. Their duties can vary from running audits on a company’s financial statements, doing taxes, running payroll, and more.

Common job titles:

  • Accountant

  • Auditor

  • Payroll clerk

  • Certified public accountant (CPA)

  • Financial analyst

Median salary: The average salary for accountants is about $70,000 per year. This is a great average salary compared to the national average in the United States. Hiring for accountants is growing in large numbers. Accountants also have great room to grow in their profession, with potential for raises and promotions as they gain experience. 

Requirements: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting will be needed in order to qualify for this position. Becoming a CPA is often a great career move for accountants, and this will likely require both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Your military career can help you be qualified for an accounting job if you have attention to detail, are good at math, and understand complex financial situations.

2. Aviation.

Job description: Getting an aviation position can involve being a pilot or working in other aviation field as a mechanic or manager, all of which are great jobs after the military. Aviation positions involve working on or flying commercial airplanes, or managing airline budget and schedules. 

Common job titles:

  • Pilot

  • Aviation technician

  • Aircraft mechanic

  • Aviation manager

Median salary: The average annual salary can vary for aviation positions. For aerospace managers the average salary is around $115,000 per year. Pilots can make around $90,000 per year, and airplane mechanics make around $60,000 per year. All of these positions are great options after your military career.

Requirements: Most of these positions are easy to transition into if you’ve done aviation and aerospace work in the military. Employers will want to see aviation experience on your resume for them to consider hiring you. Your past experience can usually directly translate, though sometimes a few new certifications are needed to help you qualify for non-military aerospace work.

3. Computer information systems manager.

Job description: Computer information systems managers are in charge of all the computer activities for an organization. They identify what tech a company needs, and keep up on all the latest technology to make sure they can offer the best suggestions for an organization.

Common job titles:

  • Technical Services Manager

  • Information Systems Director

  • Information Systems Manager

  • IT Director

  • Chief Technology Officer

Median salary: The average salary for computer information systems managers is around $135,000 per year. This is well above the national average salary in the United States, which is around $56,000. 

Requirements: For this kind of position a Master’s degree in Information Technology Management or MBA in Information Technology Management will likely be needed to give you the credentials and technical skills you need to find success. Those who have a bachelor’s degree and technology experience in their military career will likely find they have a smooth transition into a computer information systems manager role, and employers will appreciate your skills.

4. Computer systems analyst.

Job description: A computer systems analyst is responsible for the function of an organization’s network and computer system. They run tests, fix problems, and upgrade computer systems when needed.

Common job titles:

  • Business systems analyst

  • Information systems analyst

  • Systems engineer

  • Computer systems consultant

Median salary: The average salary for a computer systems analyst is around $87,000 per year. This is extremely good pay, especially compared to the national average salary. Computer systems analysts can also expect regular raises as they gain experience within the field. 

Requirements: A Bachelor’s in Network Operations and Security or Cloud and Systems Administration will be beneficial for this job path. Additionally, if you’re aiming for a higher position in this field, a master’s degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance or Data Analytics can be extremely impactful. Experience in technology as part of your military background can be helpful to propel you forward on this path as well. 

5. CDL driver.

Job description: There is a constant need for professional truck drivers who know how to handle large equipment. CDL drivers take large semi-trucks on the road to transport goods across the country. 

Common job titles:

  • Long haul driver

  • Delivery driver

  • Log truck driver

  • Semi truck driver

  • Truck Driver

Median salary: The average salary for CDL drivers is around $40,000 per year. While this isn’t a particularly high salary, it is a good, solid job opportunity that can result in steady income and raises down the road. 

Requirements: To become a driver you’ll have to have a high school diploma or GED, as well as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This is usually a great option for many vets who have experience driving large vehicles and working with machinery. 

6. Human resources manager.

Job description: Human resource managers are in charge of the hiring and firing for an organization. They usually also are in charge of employee benefits, team-building events, policies and procedures, etc. They are often involved if there is an issue between coworkers and help make the organization work well.

Common job titles:

  • Human resources director

  • Employee benefit manager

  • Human resources vice president

  • Employee relations manager

Median salary: The average salary for human resource managers is $106,000 per year, which is much higher than the national average salary in the United States. This kind of position is needed in organizations across all industries so there are always plenty of opportunities, as well as opportunities for raises and promotions.

Requirements: Earning a Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management, or a Master's in Management and Leadership can be extremely helpful in this career path. Your bachelor’s degree will give you the basic knowledge you need in human resources, benefits, communication, and more. Additionally a master’s degree can give you that extra training that can help you be qualified for higher positions in the HR path. Many vets find that their experience in communication and dealing with difficult situations help them be prepared for a career in HR.

7. Management consultant.

Job description: Management consultants work with organizations to help them identify best business practices. They go over all the elements of an organization from finances to operations and help ensure that everything is being done in the most efficient and productive way. 

Common job titles:

  • Business consultant

  • Business analyst

  • Financial consultant

  • Administrative consultant

Median salary: The average yearly salary for management consultants is $111,000 per year. This is much higher than the national average and is a great option for vets. Management consultant salaries can vary based on their location, the industry they’re in, and the size of the organization.

Requirements: It’s fairly common to have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) if you want to become a management consultant. This degree can help you have the knowledge and skills you need to find success in the business realm by giving you communication, leadership, and business know-how. Your management experience in the military can also help you be prepared for this career path.

8. Software applications developer.

Job description: Software applications developers fix or improve computer programs. This can be desktop or mobile applications for your phone. They also develop apps that are used on a wide variety of electronic devices. 

Common job titles:

  • Application developer

  • Software developer

  • Software architect

  • Application engineer

Median salary: The average salary for software application developers is over $100,000 per year, which is much higher than the national average of $56,000 per year for salaries. Employees can expect to earn even more as they get more software experience, and begin working on larger more complex projects.

Requirements: A degree in IT is usually required for someone who wants to pursue software development. A Bachelor’s degree in Software Development can be vital for helping you learn about IT basics, software scripting and programming, and more. The technical skills you need and the credentials a degree gives you both go a long way in showing an employer you have what is needed to be successful. Experience working with software and IT in the military will be extremely helpful as you pursue this career path. 

9. Computer hardware engineer.

Job description: Computer hardware engineers work with the physical hardware associated with computers and technology. They help make sure an organization has all the correct computer hardware, that it’s set up and installed properly, and that it’s functioning well. They also keep updated on computer hardware trends to ensure the organization has the top equipment. 

Common job titles:

  • Field service engineer

  • Hardware engineer

  • Network engineer

  • Systems engineer

  • Systems integration engineer

Median salary: The average salary for computer hardware engineers is around $115,000, almost triple the national average salary in the United States. This is a high paying position due to the specific knowledge and skills needed to work with the technology. 

Requirements: A degree in IT will likely be helpful if you want to become a computer hardware engineer. An IT degree will give you an overview of all the hardware you may encounter, and can help you be knowledge about how it works and what it is needed for in any organization. Many vets have experience in IT and working with technology that can help them pursue this career.

10. Web developer.

Job description: Web developer use coding languages to build and design websites for clients. This can be on the web team of a specific organization, or as a freelance web developer working for unique clients. 

Common job titles:

  • Web designer

  • Web master

  • Website designer

Median salary: Web developers can expect an annual salary of over $65,000. This will largely depend on the kinds of clients they are designing websites for. Their salary will largely depend on the complexity of the website, the size of the organization, and more. 

Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science can get you ready for this position by teaching you many of the coding languages you need to know in order to be effective. A degree will give you programming and scripting knowledge, as well as communication and management skills that will be critical to your success. Many military veterans have experience in coding or programming that can be hugely beneficial for them if they want to become a web developer.

If you’re a vet interested in one of these career paths, consider WGU as the online university to help you get qualified. You can utilize your GI Bill education benefits to help you financially, as well as our scholarship opportunities. There are also plenty of resources you can utilize to help you transition back to civilian life, from job boards to career mentorship. We want you to find success in your life after the military, so take the chance and get started with WGU today.

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