Top Ten College Degrees for Veterans

Graduation cap on a book next to a degree.

One of the keys to getting the right job is getting the right education. No matter what career you'd like to pursue, higher incomes require higher learning. Whether you're in the middle of planning your transition or you're already out and wondering what steps to take next, take a look at our summary of Best Colleges Online's list of the top ten degrees for veterans.

1) Criminal Justice – Just about any position in the military will smoothly translate to civilian law enforcement, and a criminal justice degree can be an extremely useful extra tool. Although many local law enforcement organizations don't require a degree, obtaining one will make you a more qualified candidate and increase your opportunities for advancement.

2) Engineering – If you have any kind of technical aptitude or talent with math, engineering may be the right path for you. Although engineers need years of schooling to obtain their degree, the position is highly valuable. Not only are engineering jobs lucrative, they're currently, and projected to be, in high demand.

3) Nursing – Nursing is the type of profession well-suited to veterans. All military personnel receive basic medical knowledge which can serve as a foundation for obtaining a degree in nursing. Nurses not only earn a decent income, their jobs are in-demand and will be for years to come. Nurses also tend to specialize within their field, so if you're seriously considering the career, start thinking about which direction you'd like to head in.

4) Network Administration – The world runs in part on digital networks, and network administrators are always in demand. Considering that new digital technologies are constantly being introduced into the military, many servicemembers have some experience in running or troubleshooting networks. This experience will help you obtain a network administration degree, and lead to a lucrative, in-demand job.

5) Physical Therapy – Combat boots, pounds of gear, and tough training lend a servicemember's body to constant stress and strain. Everyone in the military knows first-hand the effects of strenuous exercise and chronic injuries. Whether it's a sprain or an amputation, professional help is always required to help individuals return to their regular, daily lives. These experiences would serve well a degree in physical therapy which can lead to a stable, well-paid career.

6) Computer Science – There are plenty of occupations within the military that require extensive computer use, and this experience can help lead to a degree in computer science. Programmers, coders, and developers all earn relatively high incomes, and their jobs are generally some of the most secure in the job market. Although the degree itself is key, it's important to mix your academic training with practical experience.

7) Information Security – As digital attacks become increasingly sophisticated, the need for information security professionals has grown. Often this requires firsthand knowledge of hacks and cracks, and many in this industry are known as white-hat hackers or penetration testers. Degrees in information security can be difficult to earn, but the industry is in serious need for these professionals.

8) Teaching – All military careers are about teaching as much as they are learning. Even if you never become a sergeant or an officer, bringing fresh recruits up to speed provides first-hand teaching experience. The patience and work ethic instilled in all servicemembers lend themselves to teaching positions; you'll need both when attempting to quell a rowdy classroom and simultaneously teach.

9) Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic – Military service prepares you for dealing with emergency situations; you know what it's like to let training kick in when your brain wants to panic or freeze. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are under constant pressure to respond to emergency situations in an effective and timely manner, so just about all veterans will have a leg up on the competition when applying for this career.

10) Fire Engineering/Fire Science – Just like a criminal justice degree aids in applying to law enforcement jobs, fire engineering and fire science degrees help in becoming a firefighter. Veterans are already physically and mentally capable of performing these jobs, and securing extra knowledge in a classroom will only help qualify you further for these positions.

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