Finding a financially rewarding career post-military can be a challenge. The first step in that journey is a college degree. There are many pathways to help you turn your dreams into a successful civilian career, but choosing the right degree for your skills and training will take some planning.
The good news is that there are many support systems in place to help veterans like you find the right degree. Colleges and the VA are great resources and can help you earn a college degree with great earnings potential.
Pathways to a Degree Post-Military
When its time to transition into a civilian lifestyle and explore your career options, it’s essential to know what kinds of careers could be a good fit for you. Once you have made that decision, you’ll want to explore the pathways to a degree program that will make that career goal a reality. A college degree post-military is the best step in making your dream of a great paying job possible. Many colleges will turn your military experience and training into college credits that you can apply towards your degree.
Where can I go to get help in getting my degree?
Your GI Bill: All branches of the service offer active-duty tuition assistance to help you on your path to an engineering degree, plus The Forever GI Bill and the Post-911 GI Bill are there for you after you get out. Also, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) scholarships were created to encourage veterans like you to pursue fields (like engineering) that often require more resources than the 36 months of benefits the Post-9/11 GI Bill allocates. Check out this article on the GI Bill Stem Extension to find out more.
Other Tuition Help: There are also many federal and state scholarships (such as FAFSA) out there to help you with financial assistance to help you pursue your post-military dream job. There are also other forms of Veterans Affairs benefits and military discounts offered by colleges and universities to help you on your way to earning a college degree.
How do I know if a school is veteran friendly?
If you are interested in an engineering degree, you’ll want to find military friendly schools that will support you all the way to graduation. So, what makes a school military friendly?
They should have:
- signed the VA Principles of Excellence.
- a chapter of the Student Veterans of America.
- a full-time veteran’s counselor.
- campus clubs or associations for veterans.
- accept Credit for Military Experience and CLEP Exams.
Your future has never been brighter! There are many opportunities for veterans like you to snag a high-paying job after you leave the military. Let’s take a look at some of the best degree programs that may provide you with great career earnings potential.
Computer Science/Information Technology Degrees for Veterans
The modern-day military member has grown up around computers, and that focus is rooted in almost every military job. Even if you hadn’t realized it, you’ve been developing a basic understanding of computers since you played your first video game or bought your first laptop or smartphone. While you were in the service, your computer skills probably got better every day; you may even have been involved in IT-related work while you served. So a career in computer science or information technology (IT) is a real option to you post-military.
A degree in Computer Science or Information Technology can open many doors to high-paying jobs in the tech field. There are many majors in the computer field to choose from based on your interests and skills. To help you decide the best path to a computer science/IT degree for you, we have compiled a list of degrees that are the best options for veterans.
Computer Science Degree
A Computer Science degree will give you the skills you’ll need to pursue a career in coding or computer programming. You’ll get a good understanding of the concepts involved in creating computer programs and applications. Computer science is a broad field that covers many interrelated areas like programming, networking, and IT. A Computer Science degree can open pathways to several high-paying jobs like a software developer, computer engineer, web developer, or information security analyst.
Information Technology Degree
A degree in Information Technology can lead to a career in cybersecurity, programming, software development, or many other tech-focused fields. As an IT major, you’ll learn computer science, business, and communications. As you progress in your degree, you can choose to focus on a specialty like web development or digital communications. As the world becomes more and more dependent on technology, IT professionals are in great demand and are being rewarded with highly competitive salaries.
Computer Information Systems Degree
A degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS) is focused more on the business side on things as opposed to a Computer Science degree that’s more involved with programming and applications. As a CIS professional, you are involved with how to manage IT systems that best suits the needs of a business. You’ll help public, private, and government organizations with business applications programming, web/mobile development, and business database design.
It’s possible to get into the field of cybersecurity with an associate’s degree, but most jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity. As a Cybersecurity major, your coursework will involve programming and statistics, as well as classes in ethics and computer forensics. This will prepare you with the technical and analytical skills you’ll need for a successful career in cybersecurity.
Computer Science/IT Job Opportunities for Veterans
As an IT consultant, you would advise your clients in the planning, design, installation, and usage of information technology systems. You would help them to meet their business goals, solve problems, or improve the structure and effectiveness of their IT systems. You could also be involved in the company’s sales and business development, finding new clients, and networking with business associates. The average IT consultant’s salary is $78,829
Your Computer Science degree could also have you specializing as a cybersecurity consultant or information security specialist. With our economy so reliant on computers as a way of doing business, maintaining cybersecurity is more important than ever. Your role would be to focus on understanding the security risks of information or data. You could also work as a computer forensics investigator to battle the increasing phenomenon of cybercrime. The average security consultant’s salary is $86,354.
Information Systems Manager
As an information systems manager, you would be responsible for the secure and effective operation of computer systems within a company. You would work with a team to maintain the IT infrastructure within an organization. You would also perform systems installation, ensure systems are backed-up, buy hardware/software, set up access for users, ensure data security, and provide IT support/advice for users. The average information systems manager’s salary is $83,537.
If you worked as a database administrator, you would be responsible for maintaining the performance, integrity, and security of a database. Depending on your role in an organization, you could be involved in the maintenance or development of the database. You would also make sure that the data stays consistent, is easily accessible, secure, and can be recovered in an emergency. The average database administrator’s salary is $73,918.
A Computer Science degree could open up great and exciting jobs as a multimedia programmer. You can use your creativity and technical skills to develop multimedia features like text, sound, graphics, digital photography, 2D/3D modeling, animation, and video. You would work hand in hand with the designers to make the vision come to life through computer codes or scripts. The average multimedia programmer’s salary is $75,000.
As a systems analyst, you would use computer systems to design new IT solutions, as well as modifying and improving current systems. You would come up with ways to integrate new features or enhancements into currents systems to improve the efficiency and productivity of a company. The average systems analyst’s salary is $65,917.
One of the fastest-growing careers in the computer science field is games development As a developer, you would create games for PCs, games consoles, social/online games, arcade games, tablets, and smartphones. Depending on your talents, you could be involved in either designing a game, by creating the art, animation, and storyboarding, or using programming languages to code the games. The Average software developer for games salary is $64,530.
Your degree in Computer Science will set you up to succeed as a web developer. In this job, you’ll use coding languages to build and design websites for clients. You would work as part of a web development team for a company or hire yourself out as a freelance web developer. The average web developer’s salary is $59,514.
Business Degrees For Veterans
Skills you gained while serving in the military can be applied to many different careers, especially a job in business. Veterans like you have exactly what employers are looking for, from leadership to organization to excellent communication skills. These skills are why you are so well-suited for business careers and make you an ideal candidate for business degrees like an MBA.
Your degree in Accounting will prepare you to practice accounting and perform related business functions. You’ll learn about accounting principles, tax accounting, legal aspects of accounting, auditing, reporting procedures, statement analysis, and professional standards and ethics. Your degree will set you up for an exciting career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), budget analyst, auditor, or staff accountant.
A degree in Business Administration will give you the tools you need to succeed in the business world; that’s why Business Administration is one of the most popular degrees for veterans. You’ll learn to communicate effectively, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and apply business strategies and ethics—all skills that you have picked up in the military. You’ll also have the chance to pursue your Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), which will set you on your way to becoming a true business leader.
A degree in Finance will set you up for an exciting job in the finance industry, a great spot for military veterans like you to land after your time in the service. This degree will provide you with the foundations of accounting, statistics, and taxation. A Finance degree will pave the way for a career in areas such as commercial banking, financial planning, investment banking, money managing, insurance, and real estate.
Business/Finance Job Opportunities for Veterans
As an accountant, you’ll be asked to perform financial calculations for companies. Some tasks include creating sales and cash flow reports, managing payroll, keeping balance sheets, managing billing actions, and keeping inventory. You may also have to file taxes for the company and generate income estimates. The average accountant’s salary is $51,162
As a financial analyst, you would help corporations and businesses fulfill their responsibility to shareholders and owners to use their income in a way that builds wealth. You would study marketplace trends, demographics, and economic factors to help the company make smart investments. The average financial analyst’s salary is $60,781.
A degree in Finance will allow to work as a financial manager. You could work directly for a company or with a consulting firm. Your job is to help the organization become aware of weaknesses and risks regarding its financial situation and then offer suggestions as to how to achieve their financial goals. The average financial manager’s salary is $72,893.
Your Accounting degree will set you up well to be an auditor. You’ll be responsible for checking the accuracy of a company’s business records, an organization’s municipal records, or any type of financial records. An auditor’s word carries weight when records are being challenged for honesty. You can be self-employed, work with a company, or be on a retainer. The average auditor’s salary is $56,731.
As a budget analyst, you’ll be responsible for providing support and analysis during an organization’s budget-development process. You’ll look at their past performance in terms of funds allocation to ensure current and future budgets have the most effective allocation. The average budget analyst’s salary is $60,941.
Management Degrees For Veterans
As you progressed through the ranks as a member of the military, you would have had to manage many things. You may have been tasked with managing people, finances, supplies, and equipment needed to accomplish the mission. You have also proven that you have the ability to lead a team and keep them motivated. A degree in Management is a logical transition for many veterans who are looking for a career with great earnings potential. A degree in Management can open up rewarding careers as an operations management, human resources manager, or management consultant.
Human Resources Management
Earning a degree in Human Resource Management can be an extremely rewarding career path. An HR degree will give you the basic knowledge you need in human resources, benefits, communication, and insurance. You’ll also learn about topics such as labor laws, dispute resolution, and payroll management. Additionally, a master’s degree can give you that extra training that can help you be qualified for higher positions in the HR path.
A degree in Management can help you develop the business, communication, organizational, and computer skills necessary to become a company leader. With a degree in Management, you’ll learn to manage employees, maintain a budget, and implement organizational changes. You’ll also learn about motivational strategies, techniques for virtual communication, and global business practices.
A degree in Marketing can be helpful if you want to become a manager. A degree in marketing will let a company that you can be effective in promoting the brand of a company. You’ll know how to organize events and promote the company through a variety of marketing and media formats.
Management Job Opportunities for Veterans
As a management consultant, you would work with organizations to help them identify the best business practices. You would review all the areas of an organization from finances to operations and help ensure that everything is efficient and productive. Your management experience in the military can also help you prepare for this exciting career path. The average management consultant’s salary is $87,540
As an operations manager, you would oversee a company’s production of goods and services. You would oversee various departments, such as purchasing, warehousing, and manufacturing. You must also make sure that a company’s operations run smoothly and effectively. You would also be responsible for making sure that they safely conduct their business by complying with safety and environmental rules and regulations. The average operations manager’s salary is $65,201
Human Resources Manager
Human resource managers are in charge of hiring and firing and are also are in charge of employee benefits, team-building events, policies, and procedures. You would also be involved if there is an issue between coworkers, helping them make the organization work as a team. You would also ensure all activities comply with local, state, and federal laws. Many vets find that their experience in communication and dealing with difficult situations helps them be prepared for a career in HR. The average human resources manager’s salary is $67,306.