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Combat Engineers Civilian Jobs

Apr 13, 2018

Serving as a combat engineer gives one skills in building and wiring under intense conditions. These veterans are readily positioned for careers in the trades once they reenter civilian life.

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Military combat engineers work in the field during missions where the terrain is rough and strategic expertise is needed to achieve the desired outcomes. These service members may construct bridges or defensive structures, place and detonate explosives, and locate and remove enemy land mines. The training needed to perform these jobs gives these soldiers experience in the construction, building engineering, and building inspection industries, and can help them get into these careers when they return to civilian life.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary, 2017* Job Growth, 2016-2026* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Elevator Installer and Repairman $79,480 12% Ability to deal with heights and tight spaces, mechanical assembly and electrical wiring skills
Electrician $54,110 9% Electrical wiring skills
Carpenter $45,170 8% Construction and building skills, physical strength, ability to deal with heights and tight spaces
Construction and Building Inspector $59,090 10% Ability to deal with heights and tight spaces, experience in construction and engineering
Civil Engineer $84,770 11% Engineering skills, organizational skills

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Civilian Jobs for Combat Engineers

The engineering skills that combat engineers utilize primarily deal with creating structures for getting across difficult terrain and protecting oneself when under enemy fire. Combat engineers are also responsible for deploying explosives correctly and neutralizing enemy land mines. The skills translate well to jobs in the construction industry, which involve an eye for engineering, proficiency with power tools, and the ability to do hard manual labor for hours on end. Programs like Helmets to Hardhats help veterans transition into this field more easily.

Elevator Installer and Repairman

This job requires skills in assembling complex systems and electrical wiring. Working on elevators also means one must be comfortable with heights and tight spaces, as it is sometimes necessary to work within the elevator shaft. The hard manual labor and precarious work environment is something that most combat engineers should be used to. Elevator workers are also often responsible for installing, fixing, and maintaining escalators and moving walkways. Learning this industry is usually done on the job, and typically takes the form of an apprenticeship.

Electrician

Those in this industry are responsible for properly wiring the electricity in homes, businesses, and factories, and they must be ready to work outdoors as well as indoors. Combat engineering veterans' experience with wiring explosives can be quite helpful in this career. Individuals who choose to become electricians should also be prepared for the potential dangers, which include electrical shocks and burns, cuts, and falls. An electrician's license is required in most states, and training is either done through apprenticeship or a vocational school.

Carpenters

Carpenters are integral members of the team when it comes to building just about anything. Whether working on the interiors of homes or framing skyscrapers and bridges, carpenters are essential to building and installing all kinds of structures. In this job, a veteran combat engineer will be able to use the building skills that they learned in the field. Certification is not needed to enter this field, and individuals typically learn on the job. Carpenters have a very high rate of injury, and are often exposed to treacherous heights, utilize dangerous tools, and need to be able to lift heavy objects safely.

Construction and Building Inspector

This job involves checking in on buildings, both during and after construction, to ensure that they are in compliance with the building codes in the area. The knowledge and experience in construction and engineering one gains as a combat engineer position them well for this job. However, civilian experience in the trades is also helpful. This job does not require heavy lifting or the use of power tools, but it can involve climbing high ladders and crawling through tight spaces. The level of education needed for this job ranges from a high school diploma to a relevant college degree depending on the specific position and employer. Certification or licensure for these inspectors is required in most states.

Civil Engineer

Becoming a civil engineer requires an advanced understanding of engineering, particularly the construction of things like roads, dams, buildings, and grids. This is a career for combat engineers who have a thorough knowledge and interest in the creation, building, and maintenance of large-scale infrastructure. Civil engineers also need to be leaders, with great organizational skills, because they are the ones who design and oversee these projects. A bachelor's degree in civil engineering or civil engineering technology is necessary to enter this field, and most states require a license before one can offer services directly to the public.

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