By Alida Moore, PayScale.com
When a member of the military transitions from active duty to civilian life, what job opportunities are available? How can veterans best use the skills they attained during their military service in a civilian career?
Often, many of the skills and responsibilities that come with military service are readily transferable to an office job. “People in the military attain valuable skills in information technology and leadership. They take that knowledge to the private sector,” says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at online salary database PayScale.com. “The win for many veterans is that the jobs that require those skills typically pay well.”
Based on information from veterans who responded to the PayScale salary survey, PayScale put together a list of eight jobs paying more than $70,000 a year that could be great for a veteran looking for a new career in the private sector. All typically require a bachelor’s degree.
Median Annual Salary: $98,100
Efficiency is one of the trademarks of the military. Military personnel learn to perform in the most efficient and effective ways possible, ensuring tasks are completed and missions are successful. In a similar fashion, a management consultant identifies a client’s inefficiencies and creates a plan for solving them.
Find management consultant jobs.
IT Program Manager
Median Annual Salary: $96,300
Commanding officers commonly order their troops to learn the job of the person above them. Then, if someone is injured in battle, others can quickly step up and make decisions. In the civilian world, an IT program manager is responsible for understanding the jobs of every person on her team -- from coding to designing -- to ensure that a project is completed successfully and on time.
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Aviation/Aerospace Program Manager
Median Annual Salary: $84,300
This career could be well-suited for a veteran with aviation experience. An aviation/aerospace program manager oversees projects from start to finish, through design, research, integration and testing. Organizational skills are a must.
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IT Project Manager
Median Annual Salary: $81,000
An IT project manager ensures that the various pieces of a technology project are executed on time and with no mistakes. The project manager is responsible for keeping team members on task. This could be an ideal career for a veteran who led a unit or worked with complex technology on base or in the field -- experience that would require precision, organization and effective leadership.
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Business Development Manager
Median Annual Salary: $77,100
One of the key traits of an effective member of the military is leadership. Having the ability to command the respect of fellow service personnel, while strategizing for missions, can lead to many private-sector careers, including ones in business development. A business development manager formulates a strategy to grow a business and inspires others to follow.
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Median Annual Salary: $73,100
If you’re retiring from the military but would like to continue serving your country, consider a career as an intelligence analyst. Often working for the FBI, intelligence analysts are tasked with protecting America’s national security. They keep the country safe from attacks by analyzing the intelligence collected in field offices and identifying credible threats.
Find intelligence analyst jobs.
Median Annual Salary: $72,800
For veterans whose time in the military was spent developing weapons, researching and improving navigation systems, or creating test standards for electrical systems, a private-sector job as an electrical engineer is a logical next step. Veterans can find work at engineering firms, government agencies or public utilities.
Find electrical engineer jobs.
Median Annual Salary: $70,800
Strong problem solvers are one of the military’s greatest assets. Combine that skill with the ability to understand computer programming and mathematical concepts, and you could have a fine career as a software developer.
Find software developer jobs.
Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience and include all bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Veterans are PayScale survey respondents who reported that their job five years ago was as an active service member in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard.
Learn more about military careers.