Retiring from the military and moving into civilian life is a big step to take. You’re used to living a certain way, taking or giving orders, and performing duties related to your training.
While you may not miss the lifestyle or the commands, you do leave with a skill set ready to be utilized. And you might be surprised to learn that certain industries are looking for experienced employees with the ability to walk onto the “shop floor” and start work with a reasonable amount of training. Transitioning from military to civilian life and earning a living is easier than you think when you consider one of the following industries for employment.
Aviation is an industry in which a wave of retirement is washing up against a major global expansion. The median age of aviation technicians and mechanics in the United States is 51 years old, and not a lot of younger people are stepping up to take their place. The Aviation Technician Education Council’s Pipeline Report predicts that a record number of technicians in the aviation industry will be retiring by 2027. Simultaneously, the airline industry will add an estimated 10,000 planes by 2027, a 40 percent increase in capacity. Although the aviation field won’t be the only one affected by mass retirement, without replacing retiring workers, the industry will find itself hampered in its plans to bring online new planes that are more technologically advanced than ever before.
This is where people with military aviation training can take advantage of the foreseeable shortage of employees — especially women, as the industry is looking to recruit more females, who now make up 2.3% of the certificated mechanic workforce, up from 1.7% in 2001. The shortage means you can write your own ticket just about anywhere in the nation. If you feel you’re not getting anywhere in a specific market, you stand a good chance of finding better employment in another market. All you need is the flexibility to pack up your belongings and find an apartment wherever you decide to go.
Construction Equipment Operator
The construction industry is always in need of qualified people to operate machinery. If you spent time behind the controls of heavy equipment while in the military, you’re almost a shoo-in to become an equipment operator. Controls on civilian machinery are slightly different from military equipment, but experienced operators are able to adapt and get to work quickly. You’ll have to get certifications from the state to operate the equipment, but once you’ve obtained them, you’ll find that employers look at you more favorably as a hire. Construction company operators want people who will show up on time, do a good job, understand their role, and understand what they have to do with a minimum of instruction.
This is another industry where you can find employment anywhere in the country, even in climates where inclement weather can put a halt to outdoor work: Indoor construction can sometimes involve the use of small machines, which also require certification. Also, keep in mind that construction work is almost always union-based, and you can take advantage of the benefits that come with membership. Make connections at the hall, keep your ear to the ground, and pay attention to the job boards for work opportunities.
Disaster Planning and Preparation
All communities and governments must anticipate disasters and have emergency plans ready, so disaster preparation is standard training in all military branches. Many service members could probably execute a disaster plan in their sleep because it was drilled into their heads during their service. However, the civilian sector has nowhere near the experience it needs to plan for a disaster. Your military experience in this field will be welcomed by the civilian sector as it faces threats from a world changing faster than it can keep up with. And you can increase your value as a consultant or employee by getting first aid certifications from FEMA, Red Cross, or other organizations that respond during an emergency situation.
Weather-related disasters are one of the biggest threats that private businesses face. Changes in weather patterns are bringing more adverse weather events than ever before, and businesses are ill-equipped to deal with floods and high winds that destroy buildings. Demand is on the rise for people who can create disaster plans for businesses and show them how to prepare.
Emergency Medical Services
Responding to medical emergencies requires the ability to stay cool, calm, and collected while working to save someone’s life or stabilize injuries during transportation to an ER. Working in the emergency medical service field is a great fit for someone who’s had experience in a medical role while serving. Your military experience is regarded as a bonus by employers because you’re trained to handle a variety of stressful factors without losing focus while taking care of a patient.
All the aspects of the civilian job are the same as in the military, and so are the requirements. You will need to continue renewing your first aid certifications every two years, but the tests are the same as in the service.
The civilian world is full of jobs that value retired members of the military as employees. You’ll find that your experience goes a long way toward opening doors to employment and securing you an excellent quality of life.