Transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce can be both exciting and challenging. While some veterans choose jobs after military retirement that align with their military specialties, there’s a world of opportunity in less-obvious roles that harness the valuable soft skills you cultivate over your years of service. Careers for veterans exist in sectors ranging from technology to education, and everything in between.
In this article, we explore some of the best jobs for veterans that tap into their leadership, adaptability, discipline, and teamwork. We include lists of the highest-paying opportunities, careers for veterans that don’t require a degree, and even the most promising remote options.
Top High-Paying Jobs for Veterans
Some of the highest-paying jobs for veterans earn well over six figures, and depending on your specialty within the military, you might already be more qualified than you realize. While some careers featured on this list require a bachelor’s degree, others are achievable in less than two years of study. Here are the highest-paying vet jobs.
- Average salary: $148,900
Commercial pilot is one of the highest-paying jobs for veterans and an excellent choice, for both practical and aspirational reasons. If you have experience as a military pilot, you are likely well on your way to meeting the minimum flight hour requirements for various commercial pilot licenses and certifications. You can also use GI Bill benefits to pay for additional training.
Air Traffic Controller
- Average salary: $132,250
Air traffic controllers are responsible for ensuring the safe and orderly flow of air traffic in and around airports. This career is an excellent choice for veterans due to the parallels with military service, such as the need for precision, quick decision-making under pressure, and strong communication skills. It’s also one of the highest-paying vet jobs that doesn’t require a four-year degree.
Computer Systems Analyst
- Average salary: $102,240
A computer systems analyst is responsible for assessing an organization’s computer systems and processes to improve efficiency and functionality. They analyze user requirements and then identify software and hardware upgrades that will enhance operations.
Many military roles involve operating and maintaining advanced equipment and systems, providing hands-on experience with technology. This technical proficiency sets you up well for various IT jobs, particularly those that require hardware and software troubleshooting or system administration.
- Average salary: $96,310
If your experience in the military involved operating or maintaining complex machinery, you might want to consider becoming a mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer designs, analyzes, and develops mechanical systems and devices, including consumer products and industrial machinery.
The role requires a bachelor’s degree, so you might need to return to school. However, you will already have hands-on technical skills, experience performing under pressure, and impressive teamwork skills, which are all highly relevant in mechanical engineering. Engineer is one of the highest-paying jobs for veterans, so your efforts will be rewarded.
- Average salary: $81,220
Many veterans find that the training and experiences they have had involving patient care serve them well in a career as a registered nurse. The ability to follow protocols and a strong sense of duty and discipline are also key traits in a nurse. You will need to attain the proper licensing and education, but GI Bill benefits will help cover the cost of your training.
Jobs for Veterans Without a Degree
You might be surprised to learn how many of the best jobs for retired military personnel do not require a college degree. These days, there is a wide selection of careers in fields like technology, healthcare, and public safety that are accessible to anyone with a high school diploma. Below, we discuss top jobs for veterans with no degree requirement.
Average salary: $80,730
You can master the tools and technologies you need to perform well as a developer in less than a year by attending a coding bootcamp. Many employers are more concerned with what a web developer can do than their educational history, so not having a degree shouldn’t be a major hindrance. You can also work as a freelance web developer.
- Average salary: $69,160
Becoming a police officer is a natural career choice for many veterans due to their existing discipline, sense of duty, leadership abilities, and experience handling high-pressure situations. In fact, police officer is one of the best jobs for retired military because many departments prioritize hiring veterans for their extensive training.
In most places in the US, all you need to become a police officer is a high school diploma and to complete a police academy training program, which takes less than one year. You will also need to pass a series of required background checks.
- Average salary: $51,680
To become a firefighter in the US, candidates typically need a high school diploma and EMT certification. You’ll also have to complete rigorous training at a fire academy. Firefighter is a top job for veterans due to their courage, discipline, and exceptional teamwork skills. Keep in mind that it is a very physically demanding job, and you need to pass fitness tests as well as written exams.
- Average salary: $47,540
Welders use various welding techniques to join metal pieces together in construction, manufacturing, and repair processes. People searching for jobs after military service with no degree requirements often have great luck with trade careers like this because of their experience with heavy machinery. Additionally, the training process is very straightforward and can usually be covered using GI Bill benefits.
- Average salary: $39,410
Becoming a paramedic is one of the best jobs for retired military personnel due to its alignment with the skills and experiences gained during service. The structured and mission-driven nature of paramedicine mirrors the military environment, offering a seamless transition and a continued opportunity to serve the community while ensuring job stability and career fulfillment.
Best Remote Jobs for Veterans
It is not uncommon for veterans to prefer careers that allow them to work from home, as they tend to offer increased flexibility and can be more accessible to those with a disability. Take a look at our list of the best remote jobs for veterans.
- Average salary: $124,200
A software developer is responsible for designing, coding, testing, and maintaining computer software applications and systems. You can get the training you need to become a software developer by attending a coding bootcamp, enrolling in online classes, or signing up for a degree program.
Software developer is one of the most high-paying jobs for veterans, even at the entry level, and this field is becoming increasingly accessible to those who prefer to work from home. According to the 2023 Stack Overflow Survey, 41 percent of developers work completely remotely and 42 percent have a hybrid format.
Cyber Security Analyst
- Average salary: $112,000
A remote cyber security analyst keeps an organization’s computer systems safe from security threats. They analyze vulnerabilities and implement measures to protect against breaches. It is one of the best remote jobs for veterans because it requires strong ethical values and exceptional attention to detail.
Additionally, depending on your military specialty, you might already have technical skills and experience in network administration or information systems management. BLS predicts that cyber security analysts have a job outlook of 32 percent, which is exceptionally high. This means you should have plenty of opportunities to progress in your career.
Remote Project Manager
- Average salary: $95,370
Project managers can find work in countless industries, as they are responsible for planning, executing, and overseeing new projects. A military career provides individuals with the leadership, adaptability, and organizational skills needed in a project manager position. Veterans also tend to have extensive experience with time and resource management.
- Average salary: $77,520
A logistician is a professional responsible for coordinating and optimizing the flow of goods, services, and information within a supply chain. It’s an excellent career for veterans due to their strong organizational skills, attention to detail, ability to work under pressure, and experience in managing resources efficiently.
Medical Records Specialist
- Average salary: $47,180
One of the best remote jobs for veterans is a medical records specialist because just about any of your responsibilities can be tackled remotely. People in this position are responsible for managing and organizing patient medical records and ensuring their accuracy and security. Qualifications usually include certification or an associate degree in a related field.
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Medical records specialist is also one of the best jobs for disabled veterans, not just because it can be carried out online. It is a field that offers flexible work schedules, which means you can work at a time that best suits your needs. You can also work part-time.
Companies That Hire Veterans
While veterans can find work at any company, some businesses are especially enthusiastic about hiring people who have served. Some organizations have designated programs designed to help veterans find careers after the military, including apprenticeships, training programs, and other forms of mentorship and career coaching. Here are some companies to check out if you want to start a new career after military retirement.
- Amazon. Amazon has a dedicated military recruitment program called “Amazon Warriors” that supports veterans and military spouses during their transition into the Amazon workforce. You can also find numerous Amazon apprenticeships targeted specifically at veterans.
- Boeing. Boeing is dedicated to providing careers for veterans and has 29 Veteran Engagement Team Chapters. Its company website also reports that 14.6% of its US workforce is made up of veterans.
- JP Morgan Chase & Co. JP Morgan Chase established its “Military and Veterans Affairs” program to provide employment opportunities, support, and career development for veterans. The company has hired over 16,000 veterans and service members since 2011.
- Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo’s “Veteran Employment Transition Program” is an 8-week training program that features on-the-job training and career coaching. It is designed to enable high-performing veterans to quickly transition into mid- and senior-level Wells Fargo Careers.
How Do I Choose a Career After the Military?
Choosing a career after the military can be a significant transition. Start by assessing your skills, interests, and long-term goals. Research industries that align with your strengths and consider the best jobs for veterans that match your experience. Gaining the training you need to start a new career might seem daunting, but remember there are several resources available to help.
If technology and software development interest you, consider attending a coding bootcamp for veterans for very affordable skills training. Make sure you take advantage of career counseling services, networking events, and veteran-specific job placement programs. Ultimately, the key to finding a job after military retirement is aligning your skills with opportunities that value your military experience and provide a path to a fulfilling post-service career.
Best Jobs for Veterans FAQ
Some of the best jobs for disabled veterans include online tutor, proofreader, medical records clerk, and social media manager. Usually, the best jobs for disabled veterans are remote, but this will depend on your unique situation and needs.
Veterans tend to thrive in part-time jobs with flexible hours that utilize their previous experience, including security guard, fitness trainer, tutor, and life coach/mentor. You can also work as a consultant if your previous employment or time in service has left you with expertise in fields like management, logistics, or cyber security.
Some of the best sites posting careers for veterans include RecruitMilitary, HireVeterans.com, Hire Heroes USA, and the AARP job board. You can also find information about job opportunities on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Disabled veterans looking for self-employment opportunities often thrive in the tech sector as freelancers. You can freelance work in web development, graphic design, technical copywriting, and digital marketing. Other disabled veterans are entrepreneurs, translators, virtual assistants, or consultants.
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