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Military Career Guide

Choosing Your Career Path Wisely: Deciding on your career goals and interests will keep you from wasting your Tuition Assistance and GI Bill benefits on a degree that doesn’t match your career path. In today’s job market, the type of degree can make all the difference. So the degree of your choice is very important especially if you’re hoping on landing one of the current “Hottest Jobs” we have listed below. Not what your looking for? Return to Military Education Guide.

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So is it going to be a new career path, or the same career path?
So it basically breaks down into two main career choices. You can choose to stick with a civilian version of your military career, or venture out towards a new career path. If you decide to stay with the former, you may need help translating your military occupation into a civilian job. The military can also provide you with a translator that matches civilian jobs to your military occupation and training. Such a feature may also include information with estimates on salaries, training required, and upward mobility.

Deciding to take on a new career path isn’t a bad option either. There’s a possibility your training and experience may qualify you for a wide range of civilian careers you not have even considered. There are many military specialties that give servicemembers experience in office administration, human resource management, data entry, maintenance, and computer software engineering. This can give you the opportunity to pick and choose the civilian career that best suits you and your goals.

Decision Making
In the military, education service officers and career counselors by way of using a career assessment can help you find the career that matches your skills and interest. Such an assessment will make your search more effective. Active duty and Reserve servicemembers can receive help with this process by contacting their local education service office or career counselor for more details. In addition, military veterans can get this employment assistance and counseling through the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Hottest jobs
If good pay and job security is important to you, then this list of the “hottest jobs” is a good place to start. The Department of Labor has created this list which is a forecast of the highest paying and fastest growing jobs through 2014:

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

Selecting the Right Degree
Your degree choice will directly affect your ultimate success and future career opportunities. This guide will help you decide which degree would work best for you. When you are making this decision, consider your current career path, timeline, future job markets, and flexibility. Here are few questions you must answer before you select a degree:

  • Do you want to continue on your current career path?
  • Do you want the quickest path to a degree?
  • Does your current career match the future job market?
  • What degree level do you want? Associate’s, bachelors, or masters?
  • Do you want a specific degree or a degree that leaves your options open?

Most degrees will fall under one of the areas of study:

  • Education
  • Liberal Arts – Math, Science, English, Etc.
  • Engineering
  • Health Care or Medical
  • Computer Science
  • Electronics
  • Psychology / Social and Human Services
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business Administration

The degree in these areas of study can be narrowed down to very specific areas of concentration. You can help make the process of choosing a degree easier by pre-determining your career goals.

Your Current Career
If you plan on sticking with your current career path, you merely need to figure out which degree is best suited with your career. The great thing about military experience is that it can be translated into college credit towards your degree. You can also receive a degree faster with this option. More information is available through many sources including school admission counselors, VA, and your education service office.

Your Future Career Opportunities
Of course factoring future job growth into your degree choice may mean taking more classes. This will also increase your time and expense. But overall, it is well worth the effort. Combining your personal interests with the forecasted job market is a great way to make most of your educational benefits. The top career fields of the future according to the U.S. Department of Labor include:

Want To Move Things Along A Little Faster?
If the focus of your degree is less important than the timing, then consider a degree that allows you to use your military experience (free electives) and College Level Exam Programs (CLEP). Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degrees are often the most moderate when it comes to using your military experience and CLEPs.

Some degrees are much more flexible than others. Business Administration degrees for example are often the fastest and most flexible. Nearly every college offers business degree programs and this particular degree can be as narrow or broadly focused as you like.

Your Degree Level
It is very important to select your degree level, but it’s not crucial. There is no need to acquire an associate’s degree before you go after your bachelor’s degree. In most cases, it may save you time and effort to focus on your bachelor’s degree first.

Finding the Right Military-Friendly School

There are not only hundreds, but thousands of schools that can be considered military-friendly. The best way to find the school you’re looking for is to search for an institution that offers exactly what you need, in a way that will fit your lifestyle. The Directory of Schools online school search is a great place to start your search. This way you can quickly search schools and request more information.

Using Your Benefits to Pay for School
Once you have selected the right school for you, you should then determine the best way to pay for it. As a military servicemember or veteran, you have several options for benefits. You may be eligible for any or all of the following:

Learning How to Save Time and Money
Education assistance programs are a great way to get you degree faster and cheaper. The DoD is responsible for creating DANTES – The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Support. This program will help you reach your goals as quickly as possible. To learn more about these programs, select any of the following links:

Below is a list of common Military Forms:

Department of Defense
DoD Forms Program
Registry of available Department of Defense forms also includes monthly updates for new and revised forms. Browse by number of alphabetic title.

U.S. Army Publishing Agency Electronic Forms
Department of the Army (DA) offers a form search engine, a publications database and downloads in six formats.

Air Force

Air Force Publications Electronic Forms
Catalogue is organized by divisions and major commands. All forms are available in PDF or IMT format.

Marine Corps

Navy Forms
Peruse a database of available OPNAV forms for Navy and Marine Corps users, in PDF format. Some forms can be filled out prior to download or printing.

National Guard

National Guard Bureau Publications & Forms Library
Lists all forms for the National Guard Bureau (NGB), the Air National Guard (ANG) and Army National Guard (ARNG). Download in PDF format.

Veterans Administration
VA Forms Searchable database features all available Veteran's Administration forms. Download materials in PDF, Microsoft Word templates (DOC) and GIF formats.

Navy Forms
Peruse a database of available OPNAV forms for Navy and Marine Corps users, in PDF format. Some forms can be filled out prior to download or printing.

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Electronic Form Library Contains all Coast Guard forms. Requires Jet Form Filler 4.x. Batches of forms can also be downloaded in ZIP format.

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