Top 10 Degrees for Military Veterans

Transitioning from military to civilian life is no easy task and choosing the best path to securing career success can be difficult. Today’s veterans are armed with the skills and experiences gained through their service defending the U.S. often choose to advance their education upon leaving active duty. Due to the number of degree options and present employment trends, selecting a field which maximizes employability while establishing a sound educational foundation for future career success is often difficult. To assist in that process, we’ve created a list of the Top 10 Degrees For Military Veterans based upon the fastest growing industries, number of available jobs, and highest salaries.

1. Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

With a workforce of 2.7 million during 2010, registered nurses hold the most jobs within health care system. Technological advances, population expansion, aging, and medical breakthroughs increase the demand for licensed and qualified nurses and careers in nursing are often an excellent choice for veterans. Service members gain experiences in health care during active duty and find careers as registered nurses rewarding, exciting, and stable. Veterans can qualify for positions as first line providers of health care to patients upon completing an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as licensure. Nursing careers offer veterans lucrative salaries and job security within a dynamic industry earning average salaries of $44,190 to $64,690 yearly.

2. Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Military personnel are most generally always specially trained in different aspects of the criminal justice system based upon experiences as military police or other posts. Many veterans find expanding their educational foundation within a criminal justice degree the ability to apply previous military experiences, enhance skills, and increase chances of employability within a number of criminal justice careers. Though most officers and detectives are not required to complete college courses to qualify for employment, as some gain on the job training, earning a degree offers individuals the ability to not only work within federal agencies but will also help candidates secure promotions. Most graduates enter positions within local, state, or federal police agencies upon meeting age, physical, emotional, and academy requirements earning salaries of $55,010 to $88,870 annually.

3. Bachelor Degree in Information Science

Veterans with an interest in computers will benefit from obtaining an information science degree, particularly if they acquired experience in technological fields during active duty. As the planners, coordinators and often supervisors of computer systems, employability for graduates with information science degrees is expected to increase dramatically as technology advances and companies seek means adapting and upgrading computer systems to meet organizational needs. Present employment trends offer skilled information technology managers the ability to work within a dynamic field earning salaries of $115,780 to $166,400 yearly.

4. Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

Military personnel with an innate appreciation of science, math, technology, and problem solving find programs within engineering disciplines one of the best paths to civilian career success. Engineers are the inventors, designers, developers, constructors, and operators of all of the devices, systems, and processes of today and tomorrow. Because of this, bachelor level engineering programs not only give candidates the ability to qualify for high demand jobs but also afford them the highest salaries. Depending upon area of specialty, engineers earn from $46,290 for civil engineers to as much as $114,080 for petroleum engineers.

5. Bachelor Degree in English

A liberal arts degree offers veterans the ability to work within a number of fields, including advertising, publishing, public relations, marketing, writing, sales, communications, education, and other industries. Those who complete bachelor degrees in English gain the refined skills and fundamental knowledge necessary to advance vital professionals of virtually any business. As researchers, effective communicators, and critical thinkers, English degree graduates often to advance to positions as salaried writers for online and print publications earning yearly salaries of $28,610 to $55,240.

6. Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration

Former military personnel who gained experience with or have interest in pursuing a degree in a medical field often seek degrees in healthcare administration. Due to aging populations and advancing technology, the demand for professionals able to act as health care executives responsible for the planning, directing, organizing, and coordinating of medical services and/or clinical departments, is expected to rise significantly in all areas of the healthcare industry. Hospitals, nursing homes, medical practices, and other health care facilities are predicted to expand tremendously in coming years. As they seek means of maximizing efficiency and the quality of care to patients, health care executives can expect stable and lucrative careers. This translates to earnings ranging from $84,270 to $144,880 yearly after securing formal education and related work experience.

7. Master’s Degree in Education

Veterans with an interest in shaping the minds of today’s youth often advance to master’s degree programs based in education to gain employment within school systems. Due to the flexibility a degree at this level provides, individuals can often advance to a number of positions depending upon area of specialty – from high school teachers, school counselors, special education teachers, curriculum developers or even entry level administrators. Earnings for graduates is based upon career choice and organization of employment, with the demand for qualified educational professionals within specific geographic regions reaching new heights. Salaries for those who choose to embark on careers as school principals range from $86,970 to $129,480 annually.

8. Master’s Degree in Business Administration

A master’s degree in business administration provides veterans with one of the most versatile and enterprising educational programs within the global business industry. This degree is essential to securing positions as lead executives within public or private firms and organizations as the leaders, supervisors, directors, planners, and coordinators of daily operations. Competition for the top positions in today’s thriving businesses is fierce, especially due to present economic fluctuations and slow employment growth. Despite relative instabilities, chief executive officers and top executives have the ability to earn salaries from $94,400 to $165,080 yearly.

9. Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy

The incidence of mobility-limiting health conditions, aging worldwide populations, and the number of injured or disabled soldiers returning from conflict have added to the demand for qualified health professionals within the field of physical therapy. As providers of medical care and treatment options to individuals with chronic pain, injuries, illness, and other conditions, physical therapists are considered the experts in the field assisting and rehabilitating not only wounded soldiers but also civilian patients. Veterans interested in establishing a career as a physical therapist must complete doctoral degrees in physical therapy and state licensing programs to advance to positions in hospitals and physicians’ offices earning $73,310 to $107,920 annually.

10. Doctoral Degree in Computer Science

Veterans with an interested in a career as an inventor, problem solver, and designer of technology may complete advanced studies within computer science fields to work as computer and information research scientists. Many veterans acquire technological skills while serving in the military and decide to advance education based within computer and information technology programs upon retirement or leave of active duty. A doctoral degree within computer science or (a related field like information systems, software engineering, or computer engineering) offers the knowledge required to be considered innovators of technological invention. Most veterans who complete studies within this field advance to positions as computer and information scientists. These experts, theorists, inventors, supervisors, and problem solvers earn salaries ranging from $100,660 to $153,120 annually working for governmental, educational, and private agencies.