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7 of the Best Civilian Careers for Veterans

7 of the Best Civilian Careers for Veterans

As you begin your transition out of active military service, you’ll need to start thinking about where you’d like to take your career. Fortunately, the military has likely provided you with skills that are in demand in the civilian sector. There are also many organizations and programs that help retiring veterans secure employment in certain fields.

Here are a few civilian careers you should consider as you plan for military retirement:

1. Banking

When taking inventory of your transferable skills—from leadership to working in high-pressure situations—you may find that your capabilities lend themselves well to a civilian career in banking. The financial services industry has countless opportunities for retiring service members in commercial banks, mortgage banks, credit unions, and investment and brokerage firms. Bank of America, for example, has special military recruiting personnel that help fill roles in such areas as human resources, retail banking, and sales.

You can also consider pursuing a career in nonprofit banking by working at a credit union. Organizations like the Navy Federal Credit Union, which is known for employing military spouses, is focusing more on adding skilled veterans to its workforce. USAA, an insurance and financial services company serving the military community, also recruits veterans and family members.

2. Firefighting

Your time in the military may have allowed you to hone the skills you need to thrive as a firefighter. Both the military and firefighting require people to work well on a team with others from different walks of life. The ability to follow orders and act in the best interest of the team are additional skills that both fields emphasize. And of course, both military personnel and firefighters work in high pressure situations and emergencies.

As a military veteran, you also understand the importance of hard work and commitment. This is vital in firefighting, because you’ll have to work in difficult conditions and keep pushing forward until your job is done.

3. Fitness

The military emphasizes the importance of physical fitness. Like many veterans before you, you may have even developed a passion for fitness during your service. As you transition back into civilian life, you can turn this hobby into a rewarding career.

Your leadership skills will serve you well in this line of work, allowing you to become an effective personal or group trainer. There are even some veteran-focused organizations that can help you obtain the certifications you need to get started in the world of fitness training. Otherwise, you could create an online fitness business, invent a fitness device, or even compete as an athlete on the professional level.  

4. Law Enforcement

A career in law enforcement is an ideal fit for many veterans. Not only does the police force share a similar hierarchy to the military, but it also asks you to call upon many of the skills and values you built during your years in active service. As a veteran, you have a deep understanding of the importance of teamwork. In law enforcement, you will need to function well within a team, follow orders but also think on your feet, and keep your fellow officers safe in the field.

Many people emerge from the military with a strong sense of discipline, which will also benefit your work in law enforcement. Taking personal responsibility and approaching every situation with a critical mind is vital in this line of work. In many cases, you’ll need to do so during stressful situations. This is another area in which your military training will benefit you.

Most importantly, many veterans who pursue careers in law enforcement do so because they want to continue serving others. You’ll have the chance to do just that by transitioning to a law enforcement career.

5. Cybersecurity

In every branch of the military, cybersecurity is a major priority. During your time in the service, you may have used computers that connected to highly classified weapons systems that required at least a basic knowledge of information security. Even if your role wasn’t centered around information technology, you have experience working in an environment that treated cybersecurity with great care. Many military roles also emphasize analytical and problem-solving skills, which are in demand in nearly every civilian industry.

In fact, cybersecurity roles are among some of the top jobs for veterans right now. However, you’ll need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree before embarking on your job search in this field.

6. Federal government

A civilian job in the federal government may be the most seamless career transition you can make. Depending on your military background, you may already possess many of the qualifications needed to secure a federal job. As a former service person, you also have access to Veterans’ Preference perks. In a highly competitive field like the federal government, this can give you a boost if you’re vying for the same position as civilian applicants with the same qualifications.

7. Technology

Chances are, you spent your time in the military working with technology in one form or another. Coupled with your problem-solving skills, this experience makes you an ideal fit for a career in the technology sector, where there are countless opportunities for veterans to thrive. Depending on your interests and skills, you could pursue work as a data scientist, mobile developer, or software developer.

If you want to join the technology field but aren’t sure where to begin, organizations like US Tech Vets can assist you during your transition. The organization works hand-in-hand with veterans to help them connect to employers and jobs in the tech industry.