Life After Service – Careers Well-Suited to Ex-Military Personnel

By  //  November 4, 2020

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Retiring from any profession is often difficult, however, it’s claimed by many service people that leaving the military is one of the greatest life changes anyone can endure.

While there are similarities between most everyday jobs (i.e. going to an office or living a structured routine), in the military, your job is your life – and vice versa. Indeed, very often your life depends on your job.

Ex-military personnel often find it difficult to reintegrate with civilian life. Certainly, most would agree it takes considerable time to adapt to having so little structure and routine.

Thankfully, organizations like Consultants for America’s Veterans can offer help to veterans transitioning from military to civilian life – everything from claims and appeals advice to, in particular, career advice.

Finding a job that feels comfortable can be very challenging for many ex-service people. Nonetheless, there some roles that seem particularly well-suited to those who have served in the military – jobs that often also utilize previously-learned skills.

A career in law enforcement

Perhaps the easiest job for ex-military to integrate into is working in law enforcement. Being familiar with working in a chain of command, being used to wearing a uniform and the ability to keep a cool head in emergencies makes veterans ideal candidates for police and law enforcement work.

While training on the job is common, you might also consider taking a course in criminal justice to get a better understanding of the law. In 2019, the average salary of a police officer in the USA was $56,900 (starting at $33,300 and potentially rising to a top wage of $97,214).

Psychology or mental health counseling

Very often veterans receive mental health counseling through their time in the military or after leaving to help them deal with the trauma of battle. Experiencing the benefits of psychological support can make individuals more empathetic listeners and more capable of sharing the care they received.

Moreover, veterans often find moving into military counseling can be a way to still stay connected with the service while also giving back to their fellow service people. Salaries vary considerably and will be determined by experience and training. In almost all cases, further training will be required (speak to an advisor).

General management

Managing people takes strong communication and motivational skills – exactly the type of people-management abilities many individuals develop through time spent in the military.

Also, management takes effective leadership – the ability to identify and address potential weaknesses in a team while also fostering growth and development. For these reasons, vets often find they adapt well to managerial positions.


While it’s very common for military nurses to move into civilian nursing, there is also a surprisingly high percentage of other, untrained ex-service people who look to this sector when they leave service.

Again, many abilities learned in military service are immediately transferable – an attention to detail, ability to lead and motivate, a sense of empathy and caring and strong communication skills.

IT security

While on the surface, IT security might seem an unlikely career choice, in fact many of the skills learned through military training are extremely transferable to IT systems and security. A strong sense of order, the assessment and management of risks, crisis response tactics and possibly even cryptography are highly desirable skills in the IT industry.

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