If the recent economic troubles have taught us anything it's that you've got to plan ahead when it comes to job prospects - especially if you're set to retire or transition out of the military. You never know which jobs will still be available when you leave the service, but it's best to research which civilian occupations are still hiring or are on track to grow in the coming years.
Despite a seemingly tight job market and an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, there are some occupations that are on pace to grow in the next seven years. In fact, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiled data of which occupations are slated to develop by 2016.
Here's a quick look at the jobs you should keep your eye on in the future:
Professional and related occupations. A professional and related occupation can include a wide variety of skilled jobs including health care practitioners, government employees, private-sector workers, or educators. The BLS projects that 5 million new jobs will be added to these professions over the next seven years. What's more, 3.5 million of those jobs will be in computer and mathematical, health care, education, and training fields.
Service occupations. Fire fighters and chefs are just a couple of workers that can count themselves among service workers, which is projected to grow by 4.8 million more jobs by 2016, according to the BLS. However, the BLS also reports that the fastest growth will be seen in the health care support and personal care service occupations, which will account for 2.1 million new jobs.
Construction and extraction occupations. Construction and extraction workers build new residential and commercial buildings. Additionally, these workers work in mines, quarries, and oil and gas fields. BLS data indicates that 785,000 jobs will be added in this field in the next seven years - 622,000 of those will be in construction.
Installation, maintenance and repair occupations. These workers install, maintain and repair new and old equipment, and you'll see more and more of these "handy men" by 2016. At least 550,000 new jobs will be added to this field, and the lion's share will be among automotive service technicians and mechanics. However, the fastest job growth will be among locksmiths and safe repairers occupations will grow by 22 percent.
Transportation and material moving. If you love long road trips and frequent travel, this job is for you. Transportation and material workers move people and materials by land, sea or air. This growing field will add 462,000 new jobs by 2016, and motor vehicle operators will account for the majority of this increase - this occupation is expected to supply 368,000 jobs.
The best way to ensure that you have a job after your transition is to research what's out there months - maybe even a year - in advance. Contact your on base career counselor, or visit the Veterans Career Network and the Military.com's Veteran Job board to connect with veterans who have job leads or the information you need to get your civilian career started.
For more tips on staying productive while unemployed or to search for military-friendly employers visit Military.com's Veterans Careers Channel.