7 Best Careers for Veterans in 2018

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You’ve served your country well, and now it’s time to serve your own interests with a job you’ll love. Finding great careers for veterans can be tricky business. One reason, you might think, is because some of what you learned in the military won’t directly apply to the civilian workforce.

You might be surprised at the similarities these careers for veterans have with your military job.

Even if hand-to-hand combat or parachute training isn’t listed in the job description, you can still find an illustrious career that will put some of your top skills and knowledge to work.

These seven careers for veterans pay well and are in high demand:

#1 – Truck Driver

careers for veterans

Despite the testing and development and public interest in driverless cars, the trucking industry still needs to move goods from Point A to Point B. With minimal training and a road test, you can earn a CDL license for way less than what you’d spend on a four-year degree.

Truck drivers are usually in high demand and offer flexible schedules, benefits, and other perks. You’ve also got your pick of hiring on with a trucking company or a private fleet. Your choice will help suit the lifestyle you want, whether you love life on the road or want to be home every night.

Expect to make about $40,000 or more per year (private fleets usually pay more).

#2 – Skilled Trades

careers for veterans woman carpenter

While high school graduates are lining up for college, the skilled trades are experiencing a major employment gap. Veterans searching for a generous income can get a degree in a trade, such as:

  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • HVAC
  • Mechanical
  • Electricians
  • Pipefitters
  • Carpenters

The education for these trades is generally well under the price of a four-year degree. Since the trades are in high demand, you could make a more lucrative income than university graduates with less school and less debt.

Depending on the trade you study, you could average between $40,000 to $60,000 per year.

 #3 – Educator

careers for veterans teacher

You may be surprised to see this on our list of careers for veterans but educating is a great opportunity for those who served. Teaching and mentoring is a huge part of military training. You can put those skills to work by becoming an educator. As a teacher, you can use your military experiences to bring subjects to life.

The US Department of Defense’s Troops to Teachers program helps to connect veterans with teaching positions, including financial assistance to complete educational and certification requirements.

Teacher salaries can vary by state and education but can earn between $21,000 and $55,000 or more per year.

#4 – Nurse

careers for veterans nurses

As a military veteran, you already have a passion for helping others. Caring for people comes with the job. Becoming a nurse can be a lucrative career, but it’s also a rewarding one that allows you to continue caring for others.

To be a nurse, you will need some formal education. The duration of nursing school depends on the level of care you want to provide. For example, you will need to complete four intense years of study to become an RN, while nurse practitioners require an additional three years of school plus one to two years of nursing experience.

Nurse practitioners are currently in demand, and job growth is expected to continue. The VA alone employs over 61,000 nurses, nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, and others. They also offer the VA Nursing Academy and the VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) program that hires about 50% of its participants.

Nurse practitioners can earn upwards of six figures each year, while RNs earn about $67,000 annually.

#5 – Operations Managers

careers for veterans manager

Military veterans are no strangers to managing people, resources, and tasks on a tight schedule. The duties can vary greatly between companies, but in general operations managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations and finding ways to improve them. Things like scheduling, ordering supplies, hiring and interviewing, inventory management, delegating, and coordinating with other departments may all come into play.

Operations managers can be called different things at different organizations: plant manager, store manager, production manager, operations director, general manager, and facility manager can share similar characteristics with each other.

They’ve led teams, developed strategies, and leveraged critical thinking and analytical skills all in a day’s work.

Source: A Veteran State of Affairs and Finding Career Success

This position relies heavily on leadership experience, organizational abilities, and attention to detail. In many cases, it will require a four-year degree or better, but this too will vary by company. Military experience could be a substitution for formal education requirements.

Depending on the company size and responsibilities, Operations Managers could earn close to six figures per year. This is one of the careers for veterans that is lucrative and has opportunities for advancement.

#6 – Sales

careers for veterans sales

Sales can be a lucrative career for anyone, but veterans may have an edge as successful selling requires good listening and persuasive skills. If you’re motivated, driven, and good at time management, you can have a profitable career in sales.

Becoming a successful sales representative doesn’t require any formal education. Rather, much of your training will be self-led or come straight from your employer. As the tech boom continues and competition increases between companies in the digital and physical worlds, good salespeople will always be in demand.

Some companies operate on a 100% commission-based pay, while others offer a base salary plus commission. Depending on what you’re selling, you could make between $40,000 and $60,000 or more per year.

#7 – Human Resources

careers for veterans human resources

If you’re a good judge of character, can assess abilities, and see how a person’s skills and personality can fit into a job’s requirements, you could be a highly successful human resources professional.

HR professionals are critical to a company’s success because they’re tasked with sourcing the best talents for the organization’s positions. In addition, they also usually juggle myriad other tasks, such as training, safety management, company benefits, vacation and sick leave, and related duties.

Regardless of the company, this position requires a heap of attention to detail, multitasking, and organization, all of which you likely have by having been in the military.

HR recruiters and specialists usually earn about $60,000, while top-level managers can earn six figures. A bachelor’s degree is usually a core requirement, but some companies will take nothing less than a Master’s.

Where Will Your New Career Take You?

No matter what career you choose, you can use your military training as a competitive advantage. It’s not enough to simply say you’re a veteran. Help the hiring manager connect how your unique experiences can be put to work in your new job. The better you can sell yourself, the better chance you have of landing the career you want.

Now that you’ve served and reviewed our top careers for veterans, check out our job board for available positions.


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