Veterans who have a background in engineering have a wide variety of employment opportunities once they complete their service. Below are several relevant and lucrative careers for those who have served in the military as civil engineers or associated positions and are entering the civilian workforce.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Applicable Military Skills/Traits|
|Civil Engineer||$83,540||11%||Building, repairing, and maintaining buildings, roads, and other pieces of infrastructure.|
|Construction Manager||$89,300||11%||Managing a team as an officer and supervising projects from start to end.|
|Environmental Engineer||$84,890||8%||Understanding of environmental regulations, surveying and inspecting construction sites and designing environmental protection projects.|
|Mechanical Engineer||$84,190||9%||Repairing or maintaining military vehicles and other mechanical equipment.|
|Civil Engineering Technician||$49,980||9%||Assisting civil engineers in designing, implementing, and maintaining infrastructure or construction projects.|
Sources: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Civil Engineering Jobs for Veterans
Experience building, repairing, or maintaining airfields, roads, buildings, bridges, or water treatment plants while deployed can translate to the skills needed for a civilian job in civil engineering. Military civil engineers must learn how to analyze and implement plans, estimate construction costs, and inspect construction sites to ensure safety and adherence to codes and regulations. Many of these skills are also necessary to get a job as a civil engineer, technician, or construction manager in the civilian world.
Civil engineers design, build, or maintain infrastructure projects including, but not limited to, roads, buildings, dams, bridges, and water and sewage treatment systems. Most civil engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program, and a Professional Engineering (PE) license is needed to offer services to the public. To obtain a PE license, one needs to fulfill work experience requirements and pass exams. The experience required to get a full license can be gained through the military if the experience is equivalent to what one would do in the public sector. Some, more advanced positions, also require a graduate degree.
Construction managers plan, manage, and supervise construction projects from beginning to end. In the public sector, they typically work with civil engineers and architects to coordinate and supervise the construction of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, roads, memorials, and other structures. Experience managing a team as a military officer can prepare you to supervise a team in the public sector. Building or overseeing the construction of structures or systems will also give you the hands-on knowledge that's required to get a job as a construction manager. Businesses typically look for people with a combination of experience and a bachelor's degree in construction management, civil engineering, or related field.
Environmental engineers use the principles of science and engineering to create solutions to environmental problems. This could include improving waste disposal systems, creating fresh drinking water, or developing methods for environmental sustainability. If you had to inspect construction sites or develop better waste disposal systems while in the military, it could give you the applicable experience you need in the public sector. Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program. While a PE license isn't required for entry-level positions, environmental engineers should eventually get one if they want to work independently.
Mechanical engineers design, construct, and maintain mechanical devices like tools, engines, and machines. Experience repairing and maintaining military vehicles and tools will give you knowledge and experience that you can use as a mechanical engineer. Most employers require an ABET-accredited bachelor's or higher degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. While a PE license is required for higher-level functions and to lead a team, one typically doesn't need a license for an entry-level job.
Civil Engineering Technician
Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers in the design, planning, and construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. Military experience working with an engineer in the construction or management of bridges, utilities, or infrastructure projects can translate to useful experience in the civilian sector. As a civilian, technicians will either work in an office, helping civil engineers design and plan projects, or will be out in the field, testing and evaluating the sites. Unlike other engineering positions that require advanced degrees, an associate's degree is required to become a civil engineering technician.