What Jobs in Engineering Are Best for Former Military?

EngineerWhen transitioning back into civilian life, the first thing that many veterans do is consider the jobs in engineering that are best for former military members. Though it might seem hard to translate the unique skills learned in military service to a more traditional, civilian job, the truth is that there are many opportunities for veterans to put those skills to work in challenging occupations throughout the economy. Thanks to the fast growth of engineering jobs, the lack of qualified engineering graduates, and an overall shortage of highly qualified engineers at all levels, veterans with an engineering background are both in high demand and considered highly qualified for quite a few engineering jobs across several industries.

Aerospace Engineering

Get ready to stop saying, “it’s not rocket science.” In this case, it actually is rocket science. Aerospace engineering is a great fit for today’s veterans, especially those who might be retiring from the Air Force or another branch of service where they frequently used engineering skills to solve complex mechanical problems in airplanes and other highly specialized equipment. There are quite a few levels of experience and compensation within aerospace engineering, but the typical military member can expect to earn at least a low six-figure salary in most cases. Their unique education and experience is exactly what most employers are looking for.

Nuclear Engineer

Many members of the military actually spend a great deal of time overseeing nuclear programs, whether it’s enforcing provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and destroying weapons, or safeguard missile silos and nuclear facilities that remain from the Cold War. As a result, they’re considered highly qualified entry-level candidates in nuclear engineering positions across the country. Nuclear engineering jobs typically only hire for entry-level positions directly from the military, since the job is so different from nuclear security and destruction. A four-year degree in the field is often required as well. Even so, this represents a great way to get in on the “ground floor” of a growing engineering occupation and build a long career that advances the science of nuclear technology across more than just weaponry.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is a key focus of many military positions, which often focus on preparedness for a potential chemical weapon attack either at home or overseas. Many military members to choose to pair their military chemical engineering training with an undergraduate program in the field, typically taking advantage of tuition reimbursement programs and the growing number of online degrees in the engineering field. After returning to civilian life, veterans can utilize the combination of their chemical engineering degree and practical military experience to land an entry-level or mid-level position in this field. With average salaries starting at just under $75,000 annually, this is a lucrative way to transition back into a civilian occupation.

Engineering Management

Few skills are taught as competently in the military as management. Whether it’s management of personnel, time, skills, or deadlines, veterans often bring a natural tendency toward efficiency and great leadership to any workplace after they return to civilian life. For this reason, engineering management jobs are certainly within reach. In addition to military experience, veterans will likely need a graduate degree in either engineering or business administration if they wish to be competitive with other candidates.

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Four Great Choices for Today’s Veterans

Finding a job after leaving the military can be a daunting task, but the good news is that there are plenty of engineering options for veterans with the right combination of education and military experience, according to Military.com. The wide array of excellent jobs in engineering that are best for former military range from entry-level nuclear engineering roles to high-level management, based on their length of service and their overall educational attainment.