Medical & Healthcare Careers for Veterans

Jan 02, 2019

The medical industry may be a good choice for veterans' civilian careers. Medical jobs tend to be growing faster than average and may offer good benefits. Below are a number of choices.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Wage (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians $50,930 13% Experience with samples and lab testing in medicine or another field
EMTs and Paramedics $32,670 15% Experience as a combat medic in demanding trauma situations
Radiologic and MRI Technologists $58,960 13% Experience as a military radiologist
Physical Therapists $85,400 28% Experience with patients with severe physical trauma
Exercise Physiologists $47,340 13% Experience in physical training to high performance levels

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Civilian Medical Jobs for Military Veterans

Military veterans with active duty experience in medical treatment are valued in the civilian world for their high level of training and experience with trauma. In addition, they are also regarded as highly competent and professional. This may give veterans an advantage over other applicants.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Veterans with active duty experience in a medical lab will find these positions a good fit, but veterans with laboratory experience in other fields may want to consider training to become a medical technician as well.

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians test samples. These may be body tissues, blood, or other biological substances, which they collect. Technologists are also called medical laboratory scientists and are required to have a bachelor's degree. Technicians require an associate's degree, though there are also military programs offering training opportunities that result in a certificate.

EMTs and Paramedics

Combat medic veterans are often highly regarded in this career. One reason for this is that their military experience takes place in situations that are often far more demanding than a typical civilian setting.

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are first responders. They treat injured and sick people in emergency settings by providing first aid and stabilization. They also assess whether a patient requires transportation to an emergency hospital setting. This position requires postsecondary training and certification, though combat medics gain certification while enlisted.

Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Veterans with experience conducting X-rays and MRI scans may find good opportunities in this medical field. The positions within the military and in the civilian setting are very similar, allowing veterans to move almost seamlessly into their new positions.

Radiologic and MRI technologists perform scans on patients using x-ray machines and MRI devices. They must be able to work well with patients and communicate effectively. Their work requires knowledge of safety procedures and shielding procedures to limit radiation exposure in patients. This position requires an associate's degree, though training may be obtained through the military. State licensure or certification is also typically required for radiologic technologists.

Physical Therapists

Military physical therapists gain experience working with some of the most challenging trauma cases to be found. Their patients are often young, strong, and have full lives ahead, making the success of their work that much more vital.

Physical therapists are specialists in rehabilitation. They work with patients who have been injured or have suffered from a stroke or heart attack. Their goal is to help patients recover as completely as possible through guided physical therapy programs. There are military training programs for those who wish to become physical therapists. Typically, a doctorate and internship are required.

Exercise Physiologists

The military is known for superb physical fitness training programs. For veterans who are interested in physical fitness at an academic level and want to apply their knowledge to helping patients, this may be a good career choice.

Exercise physiologists devise exercise programs that are medically approved to help patients recover from chronic illness. Their programs may also focus on improving overall health and fitness in order to improve cardiovascular health, body fat ratios, endurance, and flexibility. This career requires an ability to work and communicate well with patients in an encouraging and effective manner. This career also requires a bachelor's degree.

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