Are you struggling with finding a job as a veteran? Is life after the military not what you were expecting? If yes, you are far from alone.
In January 2022, the unemployment rate for veterans was 3.5%, up 3.3% from the previous month.
Furthermore, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still having an adverse effect on the job market, with veterans and civilians experiencing difficulties in finding gainful employment.
If you are one of the many veterans who are currently unemployed or you are working in a role that does not fulfill you or pay enough for you to live comfortably, then you are the perfect candidate for further education.
Whether you only served for a few years in the military and you have your whole working life ahead of you, or you are gradually getting closer to retirement but still have several years to go, there are degree programs for everyone.
Still not convinced that this is the right choice for you and your life as a veteran?
Keep reading to discover five reasons why you should pursue a degree. Plus, some of the lucrative jobs you can expect to go into once you are qualified.
1. You can earn more money
While money isn’t the key to happiness, it can help to make you and your family’s life more comfortable and help pay back any debts that you have accumulated.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with degrees have a higher earning potential than those with just a high school diploma.
Whether you choose to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, or even a Doctorate, once qualified, you will find you can apply for roles that come with much higher salaries and other financial benefits such as healthcare insurance, dental insurance, and flexible working.
2. You can pursue more positions
Even with your military background and diverse skill set, you may find yourself limited in the number of positions you can apply for. However, by pursuing an advanced degree, you will find that the scope of veteran jobs you can apply for widens significantly.
You will also be able to apply for more senior positions, such as those in management and leadership, which will not only complement your existing experience but also offer more lucrative salaries.
3. You can study 100% online
If you don’t feel ready to sit in a classroom surrounded by lots of other students, there are a wide variety of accredited online courses that you can pursue instead.
The beauty of an online course is its flexibility. You can choose between full and part-time courses. You can study when and where you want to. There are very few set schedules, and you have instant access to online tutors and resources at the click of a button.
Furthermore, when you have completed your degree program, and you start to look for jobs, you may be surprised at just how useful the connections you made with other students and your tutors are in finding great positions.
Online courses are also a great option for veterans who are struggling with PTSD as you don’t have to interact with anyone face-to-face, and you don’t even have to leave your bedroom if you don’t feel ready to.
4. You can get help with tuition fees
If you are worried about how you are going to afford course fees, you should know that there is a lot of financial support available for veterans who want to pursue further education.
For example, if you have served enough time in the service, you may be entitled to GI Bill benefits which can cover part or sometimes even all of your tuition fees. If you do choose to study on-campus, this resource can also help you with living costs.
For those who already have debts and are worried about adding to them, there are also services available that are designed to help veterans get out of debt. These typically put a cap on interest and help you to arrange a manageable monthly payment plan.
Don’t think that you can’t afford to pursue further education. There is help out there. You just need to ask for it.
5. You can pursue a new career path
Do you want to do something completely different? As a veteran, you are in the perfect position to take your career in a new direction.
Start by researching industries that you have an active interest in. Assess the current job market and see what qualifications and skills you need. Yes, you may have to start at the bottom and gradually work your way up but isn’t that part of the attraction?
It is never too late to try something new, and the right advanced degree program can open many new doors for you.
Not sure what you want to do next?
Take a look at the below popular career paths for veterans and see if anything piques your interest.
Popular career paths for veterans
There are many rewarding and lucrative jobs for veterans in the United States, with some of the most popular industries including:
- Healthcare. Careers such as hospital operations and logistics, registered nurses, and hospital administration.
- Public administration. Use your leadership skills to work for the government or public administration. Consider roles in admin, program analysis, and public affairs.
- Defense. You could be responsible for building weaponry or even a whole aircraft. Roles to consider include intelligence specialist, quality assurance manager, or analyst.
- IT. One of the fastest growing industries, there are many roles in information technology for veterans, including project manager, systems engineer, and cybersecurity consultant.
- Teaching. An estimated 17% of veterans end up in a career in education. It is ideal for people who value mission-based work and love to share their expertise with others.
- Law enforcement. As an ex-military member, you will already have many of the skills needed to be a success in law enforcement. Consider becoming a police officer, a corrections officer, or a crime scene investigator.