These Are This Year's Best Jobs for Veterans

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Veterans meet with small business representatives.
Hundreds of representatives from businesses small and large attend the 2019 Small Business Forum in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., Oct. 24, 2019. (U.S. Army/Catherine Carroll)

Jobs in health care topped the list of the 10 best career employment opportunities for the estimated 250,000 service members who transition out of the military each year, according to a survey released Monday by Navy Federal Credit Union, in partnership with the nonprofit Hire Heroes USA.

In line with numerous studies by the government and other organizations, the Best Careers After Service survey of veterans who were already employed found that many transitioning service members leave their first job within a year. It added that its top 10 list of jobs offered the chance for lasting employment.

"As we started researching Best Careers After Service, we discovered that factors like the overall mission of the organization and a support structure for veterans are often just as important as compensation and benefits," said Jaspreet Chawla, vice president of membership with Navy Federal Credit Union.

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"With nearly half of U.S. veterans leaving their first civilian job within a year, it's important for transitioning service members to reflect on what motivates them and to know which industries offer opportunities that align with their personal career drivers," Chawla said.

The top 10 career paths identified by the survey include:

  1. Health care
  2. Government/Public Administration
  3. Defense Contracting
  4. Information Technology
  5. Financial Services
  6. Education
  7. Law Enforcement
  8. Retail
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Transportation/Warehousing

The Best Careers After Service study was fielded online among 1,001 veterans between Aug. 29 and Sept. 10, 2019. All veterans who participated were employed full-time or part-time, self-employed or working as an independent contractor.

According to the survey, the competitive salaries in health care and the match with military experience put the health care category at the top of the list.

"Two other benefits that stood out were the strong sense of community and teamwork within the health care industry and its opportunities to help people," the survey states.

Among the most popular career paths in health care are hospital operations and logistics, registered nurse, medical research and administration, it adds.

Although ranked No. 7, "law enforcement is one of the industries most suited for, and comparable to, military experience and skills," the survey found. "It's particularly popular among those living in the western U.S. and those who transitioned in 2001 or later."

The most popular career paths in law enforcement identified by the survey include police officer, crime scene Investigator, emergency dispatcher and corrections officer.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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