Most Common Post-Military Jobs

By Bridget Quigg, PayScale

Where can veterans find work? The answer to this question is on many people's minds this Veterans Day. Between the announcement that all U.S. troops stationed in Iraq for the war should be home by 2012, and the recent signing of the federal employer tax credit for hiring veterans, the government and employers are focused on getting our military men and women quickly integrated into the civilian workforce. 

Veterans have the potential to be outstanding employees. They receive training that civilians do not in leadership, project management, teamwork, goal setting and more. Besides that, they have specific job skills that can boost employer’s profits in IT, healthcare, construction, logistics, transportation and other industries.

We here at PayScale decided to help out by digging into our database to create a list of the most popular and best-paid jobs that veterans choose just after their discharge. These are the jobs where post-military workers most commonly end up.

We thank everyone who has served our country in the military. We will continue to seek ways to support your in your civilian job search.

1. Program manager, aviation ($91,300) – Members of all service branches have the opportunity to work in aviation. If you managed aircraft maintenance or aircraft construction in the military, you can do it for a private aircraft company, too.

2. IT program manager ($81,100) – Combat, logistics, intelligence and communications all rely on state-of-the-art technology. "The military is an excellent training organization for technology," says Louise Kursmark, author of "Expert Resumes for Military-to-Civilian Career Transitions."

3. Business process/management consultant ($78,900) – Anyone who knows how to manage and move people at the scale that the military does has a lot to offer the private business world.

4. Government program manager ($70,600) – Look for companies seeking government contracts. "Government contractors really value the inside experience many military personnel have," Kursmark says. "If they have knowledge of technical systems or weapons systems, they should emphasize that on their resume."

5. Intelligence analyst ($69,200) – With years of practice sorting through large volumes of information about enemy activity, a veteran can find work at the CIA, Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. There are also opportunities to work for corporations on military contracts, says Al Lee, former director of quantitative analysis at PayScale.

6. Project manager, construction ($68,300) – From bridges to roads and housing, the military builds a lot of structures. Civilian construction companies are looking for strong leaders with a track record of finishing projects in budget and on-time.

7. Pilot, corporate jet ($63,600) – The military gives first-rate pilot training to thousands of its members. Keep in mind that sometimes pay from flying corporate jets can be higher than that from major airlines, says Kursmark.

8. Registered nurse ($57,900) – U.S. military hospitals dot the globe and provide a work place for military personnel with a wide variety of medical job skills.

9. Human resources manager ($57,700) – HR managers who come out of a military setting have helped people manage stress and strain of working in the military, and follow the rules about hiring, pay and benefits. They could offer great insights into a private, corporate environment.

10. Police or sheriff's patrol officer ($46,800) – According to PayScale’s research, police officer is the job that former military personnel are most likely to choose after they get out of the service. "It's closest to being in the military in terms of the activities," Lee says.

Source: All salary data is from The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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