Making Educated Career Decisions

Making Educated Career Decisions


By Dr. Jerry Pionk
Faculty Member, School of Management at American Military University

Try Something New or Stay on the Same Career Path?

For most military veterans and retirees, there are two main career choices; stick with a civilian version of your military career field or venture out into a new career path. If you elect the former, you may need help translating your military occupation into a civilian job. There are many useful sites that will enable you to match civilian jobs to your military occupation and training. If you decide to choose a new career path, there are other options available. The fact is, the  military training and experience you already have may qualify you for many civilian careers and opportunities that you’ve likely never considered. Many military specialties give service members experience in security, human resource management, office administration, maintenance, data entry, and computer software engineering. This means that you might be able to pick and choose the civilian career field that best suits you and your goals.

Listed below are some popular sites that offer translators that feature estimates on salaries, training required, and upward mobility.

Deciding What to do Next

If you are unsure what will be a good path for you, one place to start is with a career counselor or education service officer. These sources often use a career assessment tool that can help you find the career that matches your skills and interests. It may help you get pointed in the right direction and help you to conduct a more effective search. Active duty and Reserve service members can contact their local education service office or career counselor for details. In addition, veterans can get this counseling and employment assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs and many local job assistance centers run by the city or state you reside in.

What Career Path Works for You?

The type of degree you have can make all the difference in choosing which path you’ll take. Below, you will find a list of the current “Hot Jobs” from the Department of Labor.

Department of Labor’s List of “Hot Jobs” for 2014.

The Department of Labor’s forecast of the fastest growing and highest paying jobs through 2014 is listed below; of course your locale may be different so do some research:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Network Systems Administrator/Analyst
  • Physical and Occupational Therapist
  • Health Diagnosis Technician
  • Computer Software Engineer
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Teacher (All Levels)
  • Accountant


About the Author:

Dr. Jerry Pionk has taught at APUS since late 1999. He is a retired Army Sergeant Major with over 30 year’s service. He currently serves as the Chief of the Army’s enlisted incentives branch in the Directorate for Military Personnel Management with the Army G-1 in the Pentagon.