10 Careers Perfect for Ex-Military Personnel


You’ve learned a lot while in the military. You’ve had a lot of training and maybe even received a degree. Now, you’re ready to move on to the civilian world.

This can be scary for many people because working for the military is much different from working for an employer. There’s a whole new set of rules in the private sector. There are many perks to it, though. You’ll have a normal schedule. You won’t be told to jump, how high and be expected to do it no matter what anymore.

It’s exciting, isn’t it? As you get ready to make the switch to a civilian, here are some options for careers that many ex-military pursue.


Throughout your time in the military, you may have moved quite a bit. You’re an expert with buying, renting and selling houses. Now, you can help other people do the same thing you’ve done. All you have to do is get your license in real estate in the state you want to work in and work under a broker for a while before you can go out on your own.

The salary of a Realtor depends on where you want to work. If you sell luxury homes or properties in a city, you will likely make more money than a Realtor working in a small town. Zippia reports that the average salary for a real estate agent in the U.S. about $64,000, but pay is often commission-based meaning you can make a lot more.

Government Contractor

As a government contractor, you may work alongside the military doing many of the same duties you did before you left. You’ll have contracts that will end, but usually, there will be one waiting for you afterwards. Many ex-military personnel end up working in the same location as they did before they left because they are able to be a contractor for their department.

Salaries depend on where you work and what you do. The range is $75,000 to $130,000.

Police Officer

Many ex-military members become police officers because the need to protect Americans is still deep inside of their hearts. The structure of law enforcement mimics that of the military, which is another reason it’s perfect for ex-military.

The average salary for police officers is $47,921. The amount police officers make depends on location and level of responsibility they have in their unit.

IT Specialist

Since many military members work in IT while they are in, it just makes sense to do the same type of job when they get out. Usually, they manage IT department for companies, troubleshoot problems and work on the Internet marketing strategies for the business.

The average salary for IT specialists is $69,903. Since most of the jobs are in the private sector, the actual salary can vary greatly.


According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, one in four veterans starts a new business when they leave the military. This is probably because military members learn a lot of self-discipline while enlisted and that helps them jump into their own work without being distracted.

Salaries vary depending on the type of business and its success. The sky’s the limit with earnings, though.

Operations Manager

Retired military members will often leave a supervisory role. This means that they would be perfect for work as an operations manager. Usually, operations managers take care of projects to ensure they are completed on time and according to specifications.

An operations manager can make around $90,700 a year. Salaries can vary depending on the company you work for and where it is located.

Financial Services Professional

Many jobs in the military work with a lot of numbers. Coming out and doing the same type of work in accounting or another type of financial service seems like a logical career choice. You can work in many different areas with a financial background from the military such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax preparer, accountant and more.

Financial services professionals can earn about $87,506 a year. Some do make more and others less, but you can expect a salary around this amount even coming right out of the military.

Business Administration

Working in business administration is a popular choice for many ex-military members because many of them have worked in an office their entire military career. Many of the same operations that were done in a military office are done in business offices around the country.

The median annual income is about $58,864, but you can expect a range of around $34,000 to $84,000. Again, your salary depends on many factors – employer, location and duties.

Doctor or Nurse

Since military members can get their doctorate or become a registered nurse in the military, they have the education and experience to work in the same careers as a civilian. They will usually work in hospitals since they have the most experience in that setting. However, they can work in clinics as well.

The average salary for health care workers is $67,948. However, there are specialties that do pay more and of course, location and setting matter in how much you could earn working in the medical industry.


Many military men and women work on the equipment they use each day. Sometimes it’s tanks, and other times it’s cargo boats. This usually gives them the experience they need to move on to fixing other types of vehicles and machineries such as trucks, buses, trains and even lawnmowers.

The average salary for mechanics is $44,277. Those who earn more often own their own business working on many different vehicles in a shop with employees.

There are many options for you when you come out of the military. Try not to stress about it. Just find something you will enjoy doing and make the most of your new freedom.

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.

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