By Caroline Levchuck
The US military is arguably the best-trained workforce in the world, and personnel who leave military service have skills that translate to virtually any career. Here's a look at five popular jobs that give the men and women who've served our country an opportunity to make a difference and move up.
Information Technology Specialist
Former members of the military have worked with some of the most advanced technology in the world. They can use that hands-on experience in a civilian capacity as an IT professional.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer support specialist jobs will grow by 110,000 between 2010 and 2020. In addition to enjoying a demand for your services, you can also exercise your entrepreneurial side as an IT specialist and become a certified contractor.
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Former military personnel hold a special place in the heart of police department recruiters across the US. The qualities of a great police officer are virtually identical to those of a great soldier: Both have a desire to serve their country and community and protect people and their rights. A career as a law-enforcement professional may appeal to those with military service because there are a variety of departments and specialties to pursue, not unlike the military.
Because vets are in such high demand, many police departments offer hiring perks, including extra points on the entrance exam, an age deduction from the maximum age limit, GI Bill benefits, retirement perks and more.
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Math or Science Teacher
Former military personnel with technology backgrounds can make wonderful teachers, as they are familiar with maintaining order and instilling a sense of pride in others. And being a teacher has other rewards: generous vacation time (including summers off), opportunities to earn extra income through tutoring or by teaching additional classes, and coaching.
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Civilian Public Service
People who have served in the military may be drawn to continue their career in public service. In fact, certain veterans will receive hiring preference over civilians when applying for federal jobs. You can find out more by visiting the Office of Personnel Management.
"Not coincidentally, many people who leave the service head to Washington, DC," says John Challenger, of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a global outplacement firm. "There's a large community of military personnel there as well as opportunity." In fact, 16 percent of federal jobs are based there. "There's a bond there that's similar to those of fraternities or sororities, and that bond can be very valuable in a job search," he adds.
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According to SCORE, a nonprofit partner with the US Small Business Administration that dispenses free business advice, almost one in four US veterans buys or launches a new business or is seriously considering it.
Many ex-military members thrive through discipline. It's also a quality that every business owner needs for her company to survive its first few years and become a viable operation.
From franchising to starting a business from scratch, there are many ways for military personnel to pursue entrepreneurship. Visit SCORE and The Entrepreneur Authority to learn about additional opportunities and resources just for veterans.
The above list is just a start. People who have served in the military have a vast array of transferable skills they can leverage to continue careers in their chosen fields.