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5 Highest-Paying Jobs for Military Vets

Nov 02, 2017

Military vets who are looking for civilian work should consider five of the highest-paying jobs related to security, aviation, engineering, and the medical field. Explore each career path to learn about job growth, salaries, and applicable military skills.

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Post-military job seekers can find five diverse careers listed in the chart below. Most of these occupations do not fall under the same industry, but they offer some of the highest salaries to military vets. Included are several factors that should be carefully considered before making a definite decision on one of these civilian professions.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Nurse Practitioner $100,910 36% Resourceful, communication, critical-thinking, detail-oriented, leadership, compassion
Security Managers $104,970 (managers, all other) 8% (managers, all other) Management, leadership, dependability, self-control, critical-thinking, decision-making, customer service
Aerospace Engineers $109,650 6% Analytical, critical-thinking, business-minded, problem-solving, flexibility, dependability
Air Traffic Controllers $122,410 3% Organizational, decision-making, communication, problem-solving, critical-thinking, flexibility, customer service
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $127,820 3% Communication, problem-solving, observational, critical-thinking, leadership, control precision, stress tolerance

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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5 Highest-Paying Jobs' Relevance to Military Background

These five career options are among the highest-paying opportunities for military veterans, offering median salaries that are more than $100,000. Many of them require similar attributes in communication, problem-solving, and leadership, though job duties and work activities vary. Veterans may have gained some related experience in these fields while enlisted or possibly developed an interest to be pursued at a time in the future.

Nurse Practitioner

Veterans may find that a high-paying job as a nurse practitioner is fitting to their military background. Not only are they found working in civilian medical clinics, but also at military hospitals. Their job usually pertains to providing care to sick patients, conducting exams, reviewing test results, diagnosing health conditions, administering medication, and giving advice on preventative actions. Most professionals in this job are assigned to certain groups of people, whether it be in a mental health institute or pediatric center. Overall, this career involves working with and monitoring patients who need specialty care. This advanced practice registered nurse position usually requires a master's degree.

Security Manager

A security manager's line of work is a high-paying option for vets who have previous management experience in the military. Workers who have this particular job title are known to monitor and supervise the functions of a security team. They are also hired to develop better safety policies and regulations for a particular organization. Some work duties may consist of securing properties, safeguarding people in facilities, investigating questionable activity, ensuring the safety of employees, and composing new security standards. Sometimes security managers are expected to handle disputes or emergency situations, and therefore should be dependable leaders on the job. Most of these positions require a bachelor's degree.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers are the brains behind creating new products related to missiles, spacecraft, satellites, and aircraft. Certain military vets, especially those from the air force, may find a connection with this particular career field, depending on their level of skills and expertise. This high-paying job focuses on developing, testing, and manufacturing aerospace inventions. Job tasks usually involve managing new projects, researching design materials, forming blueprints for designers, producing mathematical models, testing prototypes, investigating faulty equipment, and improving products. The technologies and equipment made by aerospace engineers are typically used in military defenses, aviation, and astronautics. Most of these professionals have a bachelor's degree in the field or in another area of engineering.

Air Traffic Controllers

Former service members interested in becoming an air traffic controller will need to be ready to monitor the movements of airplanes. Some veterans may be perfect for this role, especially if they've worked in a control tower while in the military. The main objective of this profession is to help aircraft keep a safe flying distance while in the sky. Operators normally keep pilots updated on weather conditions, supply route changes, make sure runways are safe for re-entries, and give pilots departure and arrival instructions. They're also expected to guide pilots through emergency landings and notify airport staff at the onset of an urgent situation. Controllers may have a bachelor's degree, progressive on-the-job experience, or a combination of the two.

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers must have certain skills that veterans may have acquired while in service. Workdays usually involve operating an aircraft to transport cargo, freight, and more commonly, passengers. While flying, tasks include following specific routes, using cockpit instruments, monitoring control panels, identifying warning signs, and keeping in contact with air traffic control for safe landing. For the most part, pilots work alongside other crew members to ensure a safe and secure flight. A bachelor's degree is usually required, along with specific licenses and certifications.

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