Best Federal Jobs for Veterans

Jan 02, 2019

It's easy for a veteran to find a well-paying career with great job security in the federal government. This article looks at several government jobs that are particularly good fits for vets.

It's hard to beat a government job when it comes to pay, job security, and the chance to make an impact. Federal jobs are especially attractive to veterans; vets are already used to working for the government, and their service means they likely have a skillset that will help them stand out from the pack. Furthermore, veterans may qualify for preference when applying for federal positions depending on experience.

If you're a veteran looking to continue serving your country with a career working for the government, follow along as we look at five different government jobs and how they rank in terms of pay, education needed, and military skills used.

Job Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (% from 2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Air Traffic Controller $122,410 3% Air Force experience, technical expertise
Park Ranger $60,610 (conservation scientists and foresters) 6% (conservation scientists and foresters) Working outdoors, land management
Federal Police Officer $61,600 (police and detectives) 7% (police and detectives) Preventative action, justice and defense
Marine Cargo Supervisor $54,870 (water transportation workers) 8% (water transportation workers) Navy experience, leadership
Archivist $50,500 14% Organization, preservation

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Federal Jobs for Veterans

These federal jobs could appeal to different veterans, whether they're looking for something similar to military life or hoping to work with the skills they learned while serving. Whether they want to continue to protect people and places that need protection or further a more technical skillset, there's something for everyone in the government sphere.

Air Traffic Controller

Air Force vets who want to continue working in aviation will find a lot to like in a career as an air traffic controller. The Federal Aviation Administration heavily regulates the training and credentialing of air traffic controllers; it's also the main employer of these professionals.

Air traffic controllers make sure that all aircraft can take off and land in a safe and orderly fashion. They also help guide pilots in the air to keep airways open. For a veteran with a more technical mind and an interest in safety, a position as an air traffic controller will provide a lucrative career that will always keep them busy. The only problem with the position is the question of growth: the field is competitive and can be tough to get a foothold into. Once in place though, it pays well enough that a vet who lands the job should be set.

Park Ranger

For a veteran who enjoys the great outdoors, a career as a park ranger in a federal park might be just the position they were looking for. Park rangers assist in the conservation of protected areas, investigate any complaints or violations of park standards, and generally protect the flora and fauna under their jurisdiction. A park ranger may also have to work with tourist and visitor groups, dispensing historical and conservation information. This position could benefit veterans who suffer from PTSD and prefer to work out in the open instead of being cooped up inside.

Federal Police Officer

Federal police officers serve and protect federal government-owned facilities, properties, highways, and military properties. They may work to enforce fish and game laws on federal nature reserves. Alternatively, they may work as border control agents or inside federal prisons. Time in the armed forces instills in vets a sense of duty and justice, and a great government job to nurture that feeling is law enforcement. Furthermore, tactical military experience translates well to responsibilities like security protocol, arm safety, and calm thinking in the face of emergency situations. Life in the military provides experience that fits well with a career as an officer, so it would be an easy move for a veteran looking for a job soon after discharge. Unlike local and state law enforcement officers, federal police officers usually only have jurisdiction to enforce federal laws.

Marine Cargo Supervisor

The federal government relies on water transportation to ship goods to defense agencies via the Military Sea Transport Service. If a vet is looking for a job directing others, working in the federal marine cargo industry could be a good fit. A marine cargo supervisor oversees the loading, unloading, and shipping of cargo across bodies of water. For this position, a strong sense of leadership and management is needed, which can foster a sense of camaraderie with your workers like that found in the armed forces. This position is especially attractive to Navy vets looking to continue working by the water, as they likely have plenty of experience loading and unloading cargo onto boats.


Of course, not all veterans are looking for careers full of physical labor. As military life typically instills a sense of organization into its vets, a career as a government archivist could be an interesting position for those looking for quiet mental labor. An archivist is tasked with documenting and preserving items of historical value, including but not limited to public records, historical documents, and artifacts. The federal government relies on archivists to preserve information and evidence of value across agencies for uses ranging from legal court proceedings to historical enjoyment. A career as an archivist may require additional education, but the organization and order gained from military experience would be a big help in getting a head start into the world of historical preservation.

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