As service members get ready to get out of the military, it’s helpful to have a realistic career plan. While some may decide to earn another four-year degree, other members of the military may decide that a trade is the best option for them. The thinking there is solid; large corporations all across the U.S. spend considerable efforts in recruiting and hiring top talent to their firms.
Skilled Trades Offer Promising Civilian Careers for Veterans
Veterans looking forward to civilian life can take vocational training classes in one of several skilled trades. These trades include electrical, steamfitting, plumbing, pipefitting, carpentry, stonemasonry, welding and more. Specific jobs within these industries include positions like electro-mechanical technician. These workers help install mechanical systems, among other things. Their knowledge of electrical circuitry makes them valuable as installers and repair specialists.
As veterans consider their options, they will want to consider projected job growth. Statistics from Tulsa Welding School show that from 2012 through 2022, certain skilled trades jobs are expected to increase anywhere from 4 percent all the way up to 34 percent, which means that, as today’s veterans leave military life, they may have good to excellent job expectations—depending on the field they choose. Every one of these trades requires that prospective students return to school and earn certificates or two-year diplomas, or comparable apprenticeship experience, in some cases.
Corporations that Recruit Military Veterans
- Air Products recruits vets for maintenance, manufacturing, and welding positions, among other departments. Because of their past military experience, veterans can expect opportunities to move up the managerial ladder. According to Civilian Jobs, 15 percent of the corporation’s more than 20,000 employees are military vets.
- Archer Daniels Midland, an agricultural and alternative fuel company, supports employment of members of the National Guard and Reserve. Archer Daniels works alongside some military installations, helping veterans transition out of the military and into civilian employment. The corporation is a member of the Illinois Hires Heroes Consortium and the 100,000 Jobs Mission Coalition.
- API Group, Inc, founded by Lee Anderson, who graduated from West Point Military Academy, actively recruits and hires veterans. This construction-oriented parent company is also a member of the Hiring Our Heroes program. API sponsors two leadership programs: the Veterans Rotation program, aimed at enlisted vets, and the Leadership Development Program, which targets junior military officers.
Projected Earnings for Selected Trades
Military veterans looking for civilian jobs or careers will want to ensure that they transition into a position that allows them to make a good living. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
, those who accept employment in a skilled trade can expect to earn a median salary anywhere from around $28,000 to $50,000 per year. On the lower end of the spectrum are fabricators and assemblers, making around $28,580 annually. Electricians, pipe fitters and masons have more earning potential, with closer to $44,000–$49,000 annually. But electro-mechanical technicians have the highest median salary
of the rest, at $51,820 per year. All of these projected earnings are based on median pay, showing that it’s possible to make a solid living wage in the skilled trades.