Many veterans returning to the U.S. from stints overseas have years of job experience under their belts, yet they feel daunted by the challenges of making the transition into the civilian workforce. Often they’ve put in five, ten or more years in the field but they don’t have college degrees. While they may have driven heavy equipment, supervised troops, worked as medics or programmed computers, they’re not sure how to apply those skills in the civilian world.
According to Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com, a career information and job listing website owned by Adicio, a company that makes classified advertising software, as many as 100 veterans send emails to CareerCast each month asking for help with their job searches. What CareerCast has found: Most veterans are more qualified than they realize for well-paying jobs, ranging from software engineer (median salary $85,400) to industrial engineering technician ($50,900). At the same time, says Lee, many employers don’t realize that vets are great job candidates. “There’s a real perception among employers that veterans are difficult to hire,” he says. But the contrary is the case, he insists. Veterans are often more qualified than civilians if they are matched with the right jobs.
To help job-seeking veterans zero in on appropriate jobs and to alert potential employers to the roles veterans are most likely to fill successfully, CareerCast put together a list of the 10 best jobs for veterans. In compiling it, CareerCast drew on data from its annual best and worst jobs listing, which ranks 200 jobs according to more than 100 criteria. It also did its own evaluation of skills and experience vets are likely to bring to a job and tried to match that with fields where there is high demand, like emergency medical technician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for EMTs will increase by 23% between 2012 and 2022, among the strongest growth rates for any profession. But while there will be plenty of work for EMTs, the pay is relatively low, according to the BLS, with median compensation of just $31,000.