Besides a thank you, one of the best things you can give to a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan is a job. There are 220,000 of them currently seeking work in the United States, at a time when the economy is seeing slow growth. While that number might seem daunting, there is some good news. The government has stepped in and formed new programs to help veterans move into the civilian workforce. Additionally, veterans' skills and experience can help land well-paid job in a growing field.
According to research from online salary database PayScale.com, skills like computer security, program management, and electronic troubleshooting are common skills among veterans, when compared to the typical working population. And, not only do private sector employers need to hire for those skills, they have extra reason to fill open positions with veterans.
In 2011, The White House announced a programs called Joining Forces, where civilian companies have pledge to hire 100,000 veterans and veteran spouses by 2014, and the Returning Heroes Employer Tax Credit, giving employers who hire a veteran a tax credit of up to $5600.
To support the cause of getting jobs for veterans, PayScale found six jobs that pay over $60,000 per year, are more frequently filled by veterans, and have a high growth rate projection through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Information Technology program oversee a team of professionals that are in charge of various projects. Program managers should have solid technical skills but, more importantly, business and project management skills. They must also be able to communicate effectively and lead others.
"[While serving in the military] I was responsible for many department of public works projects, including fire safety, plumbing, electricity, transportation, construction, and evacuation on non-combatant civilians. These responsibilities gave me the skills to manage large projects from start to finish, which is a day to day occurrence in the IT field," said Reza Malayeri, former US Army Sergeant and current IT Program Manager.
A computer systems analyst will design, develop or recommend a custom hardware and/or software programs for a business. Systems analysts may write technical documents, manage a team and implement and test systems. Systems analysts also work directly with internal or external clients.
"I have to explain a complex system into a quick brief during a client meeting. That's a skill I picked up in the Navy," said Brian Lewis, former Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.
Systems engineers design and implement complex computer systems and networks, and many have a background in mechanical, electrical, or aerospace engineering. Systems engineers must be able to see the "big picture" as they are often responsible for making sure all parts of the system are working together and properly.
Field services engineers travel to client sites to install, maintain or troubleshoot issues with medical service equipment. Some field service engineers may be required to work odd hours and travel regionally or nationally. Field services engineers must also possess good customer service skills, as they often work directly with clients.
A helicopter pilot's job is both exciting and challenging. Ensuring a safe flight is their top priority. Pilots must stay up to date on safety rules, perform inspections and follow Federal Aviation guidelines, as well as be able to pass physical health exams. Many job opportunities are available for helicopter pilots in areas like firefighting, traffic reporting, construction, hospital patient transport and corporate transportation.
A technical writer writes or edits technical documents, like manuals, guides and system design documents, so that they are easy to follow. Technical writers must have good grammar and writing skills, as well as an ability to understand complex procedures. Most technical writing jobs require a four year degree in communications, English or a technical field.
"While in the Navy, I would take complex technical manuals and write instructions that hopefully both technicians and less technically minded people could digest," says Terris Patterson, a former Second Class Petty Officer in the United States Navy.
Source: Salary data provided by PayScale.com. All salaries listed are median annual salaries for experience workers with 5-8 years of experience. Bonuses are not included. Growth was calculated by dividing the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted growth rate for 2008-18 for a specific job by the national expected growth rate of 10.2 percent.