STEM Careers in the Military

Careers in STEM are available across all branches of the military. These occupations appeal to a broad base of skills, training, and interests in fields that are steadily growing both in military and civilian life.

The military offers abundant careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Overall, these types of jobs are in growing demand both in military and civilian life, and the military often provides training and experience. Careers in computers, medicine, research, security, and engineering all fall within the category of STEM. Continue reading to learn more about STEM careers in the military.

Career Comparison

Job Title Average Military Salary (2015)* Historical Military Job Growth (2013-2015)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Information Security Analysts $61,069 1,962-2,870 Problem-solving skills;
Analytical skills
Computer Network Architects $84,716 N/A-27 Interpersonal skills;
Leadership skills
Civil Engineers $87,932 2,558-3,663 Decision-making skills;
Math skills
Environmental Engineers $99,381 26-35 Problem-solving skills;
Interpersonal skills;
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics $48,350 25,220-21,915 Interpersonal skills;
Decision-making skills;
Physical strength
Medical Scientist $126,996 374-350 Observation skills;
Critical-thinking skills
Clinical Psychologist $120,199 247-205 Communication skills;


Relevance to Military Background

As in the civilian world, the military's need for professionals in technology, the sciences, math, and engineering continues to grow. Since many who enter the military may already have a degree or earn one during their time in service, this is an excellent match with STEM positions that often require those types of educational backgrounds. In addition, the military offers initial or advanced training in some of these professions.

Information Security Analyst

Due to the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks, information security analytics is a technology career in high demand both inside and outside of the military. Information security analysts plan and execute measures to protect an organization from cybercrime, monitor and investigate threats, and help an organization's employees understand and avoid attacks. This career suits those who enjoy highly analytical, detail-oriented work and are comfortable with computers. A bachelor's degree is usually required, and further training offered by the military includes using computers and peripheral equipment, coding and debugging, designing and testing computer systems, and use of programming languages.

Computer Network Architects

The modern military uses computers in almost every area of operation, which means the need for computer network architects, or network engineers, is greater than ever. This technology career requires extensive knowledge of software, hardware, and cybersecurity practices, as well as interpersonal communication and presentation skills. Computer network architect is a growing specialty within the military, particularly as the need for cloud-based infrastructure expands. The military offers classroom training for this career in project management, computer needs assessment, and contract management.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers in the military work around the world in both the public and private sector to build, operate, design, supervise, and maintain construction projects. These projects include bridges, water-supply systems, buildings, tunnels, roads, sewage-treatment systems, and more. Due to the complex nature of these projects, civil engineers typically specialize in a more narrow scope such as construction, geotechnical, structural, or transportation engineering. Regardless of their expertise, civil engineers are typically involved in a project from the planning phase, to permitting and cost analysis, all the way through to maintenance and repairs. They are also expected to communicate with relevant parties, often including the public, on topics such as bid proposals and environmental impact statements. The military does not offer any initial training in this occupation, and a bachelor's degree is required.

Environmental Engineers

In the military, environmental engineers strive to create safe, healthy working conditions and direct programs to reduce health hazards. They develop solutions to environmental issues utilizing the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry. Environmental engineers address problems both local, such as pollution control and improving recycling, and global, such as unsafe drinking water and climate change. Those in this field meet these challenges through investigations and scientific data analysis, then design and monitor projects in collaboration with other scientists, engineers, technicians, and experts. Environmental engineers often write and present reports on their work and frequently advise businesses and governments on how to address environmental problems. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is usually required.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

A career as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic requires scientific and technical expertise, combined with interpersonal and leadership skills. In the military, EMTs and paramedics work on bases, including ships, across the globe to respond to medical emergencies. EMTs and paramedics assess the severity of medical emergencies, perform diagnostic and minor medical procedures, and communicate a patient's status to physicians. They also maintain and repair equipment associated with their occupation such as defibrillators and electrocardiograms. Aside from medical and technical expertise, EMTs and paramedics comfort and reassure patients in high-stress situations. The military provides classroom and on-the-job training, as well as advanced courses.

Medical Scientist

The work of a medical scientist is dedicated to improving human health through scientific research. Medical scientists in the military work in laboratories, and sometimes conduct field work, investigating every aspect of disease: causes, treatments, and preventions. This can include pharmaceutical drug studies, tissue and cell analysis, and more. Medical scientists write articles on their findings for publication in scientific journals and present to audiences ranging from physicians and health departments to the general public. Due to the expansive nature of this work, medical scientists typically specialize in a specific area of research such as cancer, clinical pharmacology, immunochemistry, or toxicology. The military does not offer initial job training, but some advanced courses are available in certain specialties. These scientists commonly hold a graduate degree.

Clinical Psychologist

The military employs clinical psychologists to identify and treat psychological and emotional disorders of fellow service members and their families. In addition to working directly with patients, clinical psychologists also conduct scientific studies to increase understanding of such disorders, as well as general patterns of emotional and behavioral patterns. Clinical psychologists often write articles to share their scientific findings. Many clinical psychologists focus on specific populations such as children or the elderly, while others choose a more narrow specialty such as neuropsychology, developmental psychology, or forensic psychology. The military offers advanced courses in some specialties within the field, and a PhD is usually required.

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