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The U.S. 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 US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer scientists and database administrators are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations. 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. Search for IT jobs.
Former military personnel hold a special place in the heart of police department recruiters across the U.S. 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 in law-enforcement may appeal to those with military service due to its similarities with military structure and practices.
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.
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.
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 company from scratch, there are many ways for military personnel to pursue entrepreneurship. Visit score.org and SBA to learn about additional opportunities and resources just for veterans.
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.
The above list is just a start. People who have served in the military have a vast array of transferable skills that they can leverage to continue careers in their chosen fields.