Best Jobs for Veterans A Guide to Careers For Vets & Getting Civilian Employment

If you are preparing to leave the military and are worried about the next chapter in your life and career, you are far from alone.

With the number of veterans leaving the military every year predicted to be around 250,000, plenty of veterans and even active service members are worried about finding fulfilling, well-compensated civilian employment.

Fortunately, there are lots of options available to veterans from all educational backgrounds. Here is a list of some of the most rewarding careers available to veterans, as well as vital information regarding availability, requirements,and compensation:


 If you like helping others—especially young people—then education might be the right field for you.

Salaries for teachers can depend on a lot of factors including your state, education level, and the grades you are planning on teaching. However, if you are looking for a general average, the National Education Association predicted an average salary of $58,353 for K-12 teachers.

If education sounds like the right field for you, but you are concerned about finding employment, there are resources available to help: Troops to Teachers is an organization committed to helping vets transition to civilian life and provides support in meeting the education and licensing requirements for a career in education. 


Especially with an aging baby boomer population, healthcare is a field with an increasingly high demand for workers.

There are nearly three million nursing jobs currently in America, and this number is sure to increase in coming years. Another benefit of nursing is that there are positions available for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and registered nurses (RNs). LPNs and LVNs can be certified in a one-year program; whereas as RNs require university degrees, meaning that there are jobs available regardless of the time you want to invest in education before entering the workforce.

The average salary of a nurse in America is $43,000 for an LPN and $67,000 for RNs.

Commercial Airline Pilot 

Becoming a pilot for a commercial airline company can be a promising career, but some veterans may be dissuaded from pursuing aviation if they are not already licensed pilots.

The good news is that it is completely possible to fulfill all the requirements of becoming a pilot, even if you were not a pilot in the military. Forces to Flyers, a program led by the U.S. Department of Transportation is providing veterans with the opportunity to meet the requirements of being a certified pilot training.

The 2018 median salary for an airline pilot is around $130,000 with the lowest paid ten percent making around $98,000, making it a high-paying opportunity that can offer veterans the chance to travel the world.

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement

After leaving the military, some veterans will be looking for a complete change of pace. Others, however, will find a career in law enforcement to be a natural and obvious fit.

There are some obvious advantages to entering a career in law enforcement. For starters, veterans often already have some relevant training and are often comfortable with dealing with weapons and dangerous circumstances, which many civilians may struggle with. It can also be a challenge for veterans to convey to potential employers how the skills they have gained in the military can translate into civilian careers.

When it comes to policing, the connections are often quite clear. Police officers can also make a median salary of $59,000 and can be an ideal career for vets looking to make a positive impact in their community.

However, this field might be a challenge for some veterans. Certain veterans might dislike the idea of being typecast or stereotyped or might want to avoid dangerous, high-risk situations for their second careers. Also, there may be concerns that veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional issues may not be the best fit for the position. 

Landscape Designer 

For many veterans, the idea of working in closed-off, indoors spaces after leaving the military is very unappealing. If being able to work in open spaces is a huge benefit for you, you might want to consider getting into landscape design.

Landscape designers can make an average of $47,726 a year. Many landscape designers own their own businesses or work on a freelance basis, allowing you to work on your own schedule, set your own rates, and be selective with the projects you are passionate about pursuing. It is also a low-entry barrier career: although there are vocational and community college programs available, some landscape designers can establish themselves without any specific education.

Veterinary Technician 

Many veterans find it beneficial to work with animals, especially those veterans struggling with PTSD. If you are a lifelong animal lover, then becoming a veterinary technician might be a rewarding career.

Vet technicians are among the lowest paid employees on this list, with a median salary of just $32,000. However, the highest-paid in the field make around $48,000. Most people can become a vet technician through a community college diploma program, which is often much faster and more affordable than a university degree.

If you want a fulfilling career that allows you to bond with animals and does not require a long-term investment in a university degree, then a vet technician may be what is just right for you.

Federal Employees 

There are countless opportunities to find work as a federal employee. Whether you have a knack for administration, are looking for a lucrative career in information technology or love the idea of Human Resources, there are federal positions available for you.

To learn more about the opportunities available to you, and how Veteran’s Preference can help you find a rewarding career, visit Feds Hire Vets. They can help you prepare for the hiring process, and search through currently available positions.

If you are still one of the thousands of veterans looking for civilian work, there is no need to panic. With the right resources, proper training and a field you are passionate about, you can be well on your way to finding the perfect post-military career.