Careers for Former Navy Seals

Jul 29, 2018

See how ex-Navy SEALs can put their training and expertise to work in the civilian world. Get detailed job descriptions, salary information, and job growth statistics.

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Navy SEALs are used to being pushed to their physical and mental limits, carrying out duties with small teams in crisis situations and hostile environments. Learn about some of the civilian career options that former Navy SEALs may thrive in due to their unique and extensive training.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Commercial Diver $47,210 11%, faster than average Diving expertise, physical fitness, critical thinking
Fitness Trainer $39,210 (fitness trainers and aerobics instructors) 10%, faster than average (fitness trainers and aerobics instructors) Physical fitness, organizational skills, attention to detail
Emergency Medical Technician $33,380 (EMTs and paramedics) 15%, much faster than average (EMTs and paramedics) Emergency response, physical fitness, team work
Security Guard $26,900 6%, as fast as average Weapon use, emergency response, protection services
Emergency Management Director $72,760 8%, as fast as average Leadership, crisis and risk management, communication

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Relevance to Military Background

Navy SEALs step in to complete tasks that are beyond the abilities of typical military forces. They must be comfortable working in highly stressful, challenging situations in any number of environmental conditions. There are a number of civilian careers for which the extensive training of an ex-SEAL may be useful or required. These jobs may be within industries that, for example, require the ability to stay calm in emergency situations, work as a member of a team to carry out protocol, or perform physically demanding duties.

Commercial Diver

Anyone wishing to become a commercial diver will need to undergo the required diving training and certification procedures. Former Navy SEALs will already have diving experience, whether it's through mandatory Basic Underwater Demolition training or more advanced deep sea diving training opportunities. Commercial divers can be employed for any number of underwater tasks, including installing, inspecting or repairing underwater infrastructure, using tools or welding equipment, salvaging, or conducting experiments. For all diving work, commercial divers need to know and practice safety precautions, work with others under water or above water, and work outdoors in a variety of environmental conditions. Navy SEALs gain experience in all of these areas, and should be comfortable analyzing and making decisions while under water.

Fitness Trainer

Navy SEALs are in top physical condition and undergo physical fitness training and assessment on a regular basis. For ex-SEALs who enjoy remaining in good shape and interacting with people constantly, making the transition to civilian fitness trainer is logical. Fitness trainers motivate and instruct clients in exercise to help them gain strength or cardiovascular ability, improve their health, or train for other athletic activities. Trainers could work as a personal coach for individuals or teach group classes. They might specialize in one type of fitness like yoga, spinning or weight lifting. It might also benefit fitness trainers to have experience or certification in first aid, planning or management and be able to keep clients motivated and disciplined.

Emergency Medical Technician

The role of Navy SEALs and emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, overlap in that both are physically strenuous and stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations. Navy SEALs are trained in first aid, but to become an EMT they will need to complete a training course and pass certification exams. EMTs care for sick or injured patients in out-of-hospital settings, most often responding to emergency calls. The work entails medical assessment and treatment, but it is also crucial that EMTs are able to do so in all environments, act quickly and efficiently, and work with other team members to minimize delays and safety concerns. Former Navy SEALs should have ample experience in such a demanding, stressful role.

Security Guard

Security guards are hired to protect other people or their property against illegal activity. The specific roles of security guards are varied, but they can be involved in anything from monitoring CCTV, patrolling areas, looking for unusual activity, or responding to emergencies. With state registration usually required, some even carry weapons, for which an ex-SEAL will have experience. Ex-Navy SEALs may enjoy security guard positions that entail more covert action or physically strenuous duties, in line with SEAL duties like capturing personnel or information, carrying out missions against specific targets, and reconnaissance work.

Emergency Management Director

One job of a Navy SEAL is to respond in complex crises to help bring the situation under control. Similarly, emergency management directors are the ones who prepare plans for dealing with disaster situations and lead the response when disasters occur. They can work for private or public institutions and manage the response for natural disasters or other types of emergencies. A SEAL who has traveled around the world and has followed and/or developed protocols to respond to different crisis situations could be very well suited to an emergency management position. The position would involve developing and improving those protocols, as well as heading up the command center or coordinating with other response units to prioritize necessary actions and minimize damage. A bachelor's degree and state certification may be required.

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