Vocational Training Careers for Veterans

Jan 02, 2019

Vocational training helps the veteran transition into a new or continuing career in the civilian workforce by helping them become qualified to not only get hired but to be competent in their new job. Four of the five vocational training careers listed have a high 10-year job growth of 12% or more while three of the five exceed the annual 2016 median salary of $37,000 (per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). We will explore each career and describe the training required for each.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills
HVAC Technician $47,080 15% Finger and Hand Coordination, Mechanical Knowledge
Paramedic & Emergency Medical Technician $33,380 15% High Stress Tolerance, Problem Solving Skills
Pharmacy Technician $31,750 12% Detail Oriented, Math Skills
Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurse $45,030 12% Multi-tasking, Oral Communication, Compassion
Automotive Service Technician/Mechanic $39,550 6% Dexterity, Problem Solving Skills

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Vocational Training Careers for Veterans

Veterans bring important aspects of their military training to their new civilian careers. Careers such as HVAC technicians, pharmacy technicians, and nurses require the analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, stress tolerance, attention to detail, and the integrity that are ingrained in our service members. Self-control and controlled movements are traits also instilled in our service members throughout their military training that transition well into careers such as automotive service mechanics and paramedics.

HVAC Technician

HVAC technicians install, troubleshoot, and fix heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. HVAC technicians must be certified and in some states must be licensed.

An HVAC vocational training program usually takes 6 to 24 months and is available at a technical school or community college. There is a lot of on-the-job training typically received through a 3 to a 5-year apprenticeship program. Veterans tend to have the analytical thinking and problem-solving skills required to work in this career.

Paramedic & Emergency Medical Technician

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT) provide emergency care to the sick and injured. Prospective paramedics and EMTs must complete vocational training and in some cases, they must also obtain a license.

Entry into a vocational school or community college may require a high school diploma and a certificate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The vocational training program can be completed in one to two years. Veterans bring the required security and public safety awareness skills needed to effectively perform this job. Their military training also equips them with the self-control, dependability, and adaptability traits needed to excel in this job.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist the pharmacist with dispensing medication prescriptions. This career requires vocational training and some states also require that the prospective pharmacy technician take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam.

Most vocational training is available at vocational schools and community colleges. These programs award certificates in 1 year or less. Veterans are trained to pay close attention to details which is an asset when working as a pharmacy technician, especially when counting prescription pills.

Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurse

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care that includes administering medication, monitoring a patient's condition, changing bandages, and other tasks required to care for the ill, injured, and disabled. They may work in nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, and private residences.

Prospective LPNs and LVNs need to complete a state-approved program usually offered at community colleges and technical schools. The program is comprised of classroom and supervised clinical instruction. Upon completion of the program, prospective LPNs and LVNs must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination to obtain a license. Military training provides the high-stress tolerance, attention to detail, and integrity that's necessary to perform the duties involved in caring for patients.

Automotive Service Technician/Mechanic

Automotive service technicians and mechanics troubleshoot, inspect, and fix cars and trucks. Vocational training at a postsecondary institution in automotive service technology combines classroom and hands-on instruction.

Two years of experience followed by certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is required. ASE certifications can also be issued for 9 separate automobile specialty areas. Veterans have extensive military training in controlled movements where they are experienced in enhancing coordination between their arms and legs into multiple positions when working on automobiles. They also have the attention spans required to concentrate on their duties without being easily distracted.

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