10 Reasons to Earn a Degree After the Military

10 Reasons to Earn a Degree After the Military

Why Military Veterans Should Consider Reasons to Earn a Degree After the Military

There are many reasons to earn a degree after the military. It may solidify skills and prep you for the civilian job market. No matter where you are in your service journey, it is a step to consider. And one you may be more prepared than you think. The military provides many soft skills that may set you up for success in a civilian role. Soft skills are qualities like being dependable and having a strong work ethic. Being able to resolve conflict and adapt are a few more that employers appreciate.  

Naturally, each area of service shapes different skill sets. But if you identify yours, it can make your education feel more purposeful.  

10 Reasons to Earn a Degree After the Military  

Here are ten reasons to earn a degree after the military.  

1. Pave the way to higher earnings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full time workers age of 25 and over with a bachelors degree had median weekly earnings of $1,248 in 2019. Compared with workers who only had a high school diploma, that’s $502 more per week.

2. More education might equal less unemployment

Having a college degree may help you land a job. The same BLS.gov report found that full time workers age of 25 and over with an associate degree experienced an unemployment rate of 2.7%. The rate is lower for workers with a bachelors degree (2.2%). For workers with a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is higher (3.7%).

3. Your military skills may count towards college credit

In the military, you honed key technical and communication skills that may help you in the civilian job market. Knowing this, many colleges offer credit for qualified military training. So, a degree may be more accessible than you think. To get the process started, you may want to order your Joint Service Transcript so that your college can review it.

4. Adapt your skills for a civilian job

Through military service, you may have many marketable skills. Like leadership and a solid handle on how to manage time, teams and projects. That said, the military has its own style. So, attending college may help you mold your talents for use in a specific career field.   

5. Education is good for the heart 

Another reason to earn a degree after the military can be found in federal statistics which shows that education may be heart healthy. Figures show that, on average, bachelors prepared 25 year old’s live about nine years longer that those who did not graduate from high school.  

6. Score promotion points  

Points toward promotion is one of the incentives the military offers to enlisted service members when they use education benefits. The number of points varies by branch. For instance, the Army may reward Soldiers with up to 100 points toward their promotions. The Marine Corps may grant up to 75 points toward promotions. And, the Navy may award points to Sailors who have earned their degrees. These points may help you to climb the ladder in the military or prompt you to pursue a civilian career. Either way, for most entry level jobs, you need a bachelors degree (BLS.gov).

7. Find a new direction 

You may be doing a job you love in the military and want to build a civilian career in the same line of work. Or, ready to find a new path that builds on your strengths. Military veterans tend to perform well in college and choose a wide range of majors.

8. College may support your transition 

Many military friendly colleges have resources to help veterans make the leap into civilian life. You may find enrollment counselors that work to help you navigate everything from benefits to program choice. There are also online programs designed to enable you to progress towards a degree at your own pace. And from wherever you are with a computer and internet.

9. Build new networks 

A college degree may help you expand professional and personal networks. Apart from course work, there may be other resources to help you with a job search. Many colleges have workshops and dedicated centers where you can learn to optimize your resume and profiles, prep for interviews and so on. 

10. Prep for in demand career paths 

Even people already in the workforce are upgrading their skills to prep for a brighter future. Over half of adults (54%) in the workforce feel they need to add more skills to stay current and competitive in the job market. Plus, for some of the fastest growing fields, you need a bachelors degree or higher.  

Degree and Career Paths for Military Veterans

One of the key steps to landing a job, is earning the degree that help prepare you for it. Here are a few degree and career paths for military veterans.


Bachelors in Computer Science / Information Science

Skills: Critical thinking, complex problem solving, judgement
Career Opportunities: Information Security Analyst, Computer and Info Systems Manager, Database Administrator, Software Developer

Information Security Analyst

As an info sec analyst, your job is to secure networks and systems against hackers and other breaches. Since cyber crime is on the rise, this is one of the faster growing fields today. In fact, the industry predicts 32% more jobs by 2028. While salaries vary, on average, info sec analysts earn a median annual salary of $99,730. If this field interests you, you might start with a bachelors degree in computer science, info assurance, programming or one related. Then, to move up the ladder, many employers look for candidates with an MBA.

Computer and Info Systems Manager 

As a computer and IT manager, you work with a business to figure out its technology goals and needs, Then, help plan and direct things like installation and upgrades. As more firms expand into digital platforms, the field should see 11% more jobs by 2028. If this interests you, many people enter with a bachelors degree, but tend to need a grad degree for more complex roles. That said, the 2019 median annual salary in this field is $146,360.

Database Administrator 

DBAs or database administrators use software to store, secure and organize data. Their day to day may include running tests and backing up data. Job prospects should be favorable (9% to 24% by 2028) depending on the service industry. It is brightest for DBAs in computer systems design due to the popularity of cloud computing. For entry level roles, DBAs typically need a bachelors degree and proficiency in SQL. But firms with really large databases may prefer candidates with a masters degree.

Software Developer

Software developers are the creative minds who design computer programs. As an app developer, you could design things like word processors, custom software, programs and games. And as a systems developer, you might create the operating systems that run the apps and programs. In both cases, a bachelors degree and skills in the industry you want to work in tend to be vital. The industry expects an average of 21% growth to 2028. Salaries range depending on job title. For example, app developers report median annual salaries of $103,620.


Bachelors in Business Administration

Skills: Time management, systems thinking, problem solving
Career Opportunities: Management Analyst, Logistician, Market Research Analyst 

Management Analyst

Many management analysts consult with businesses to help them become more efficient and productive. So, above all, their day tends to include lots of problem solving and finding ways to control costs. These skills are valuable in health care, IT, gov’t and beyond. As a result, demand should reach 14% by 2028, which is much faster than average. Also above average are median annual salaries which in May 2019 were $85,260. While a bachelors degree is the common entry point, many employers also look for candidates with an MBA.


As a logistician, you have to analyze and track a business’s supply chain. In fact, you may have to manage the entire life cycle of a project from design to transport. You could prepare for this path with a bachelors degree in business, systems engineering or supply chain management. The industry expects to add 5% more jobs by 2028. Salaries in this field range, but the median annual salary is $74,750 per year.

Market Research Analyst

One way you could blend business and communication skills is as a market research analyst. Market research analysts study trends to see if a product or service will sell well. They also help companies understand their target markets, what clients want and the price they will pay for it. Since companies rely on this info to turn a profit, the industry forecasts 20% more growth to 2028 and pays an median annual salary of $63,790. If this interests you, it is likely you will need a bachelors degree and head for math.


Bachelors in Nursing

Skills: Critical thinking, emotional stability, attention to detail
Career Opportunities: Registered Nurse, Nurse Manager, Health Educator

Registered Nurse

As a registered nurse, you play a vital role in patient care. Beyond doing a health intake, RNs administer medicines and treatments. RNs also teach patients how to manage their condition, perform diagnostic tests and consult. Depending on your interests, you might also hone specific patient care skills to work with a particular group. Critical care for example, or addiction. The demand for RNs should add 12% more jobs by 2028 in gov’ts, hospitals, rehab centers and beyond. In all these settings, the median annual salary is $73,300.

Medical and Health Services Managers

As many health care services shifts from hospitals to office settings, the need for medical and health services managers is on the rise by 18% to 2028. Medical and health services managers may oversee a department, facility or clinical area. It tends to be a role that calls for skills in budgeting, staffing and organization. To enter the field, people typically have a bachelors degree if not a masters. And, since there may be jobs for people with different levels of education, salaries vary. On average, the median annual wage for medical and health services managers  was $100,980 in May 2019.

Health Educator

If you prefer to teach people about healthy behaviors, a career as a health educator might interest you. Health educators collect data to figure out how to promote wellness to specific groups. This may mean informing people how to avoid diabetes or stroke. Or, advocating for better health resources and policies. The field expects 11% more jobs by 2028 as there’s a need to help people avoid costly diseases and procedures. Some people earn their degree in health education or health promotion. Though there are positions that entail a masters or doctorate. With the range in roles, the median annual wage was $40,360 in May 2019.


Bachelors in Criminal Justice

Skills: Communication, leadership, good judgement
Career Opportunities: Police and Detectives, Emergency Management Director

Police and Detectives

Solving crime is the main task of a the police and detectives. In this role, you likely gather all kinds of facts and evidence from crime scenes to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. If you enjoy solving problems and keeping folks safe, there is a constant need for investigators. Through 2028, the field should see 5% growth and median annual salaries of $83,170.

Emergency Management Directors

As an emergency management director, your level head is crucial during times of crisis. In this type of role, you’ll likely come up with tactical plans that respond to disasters and emergencies of all kinds. Keeping risks under control is crucial to many sectors so this field shows 5% growth to 2028. Since there are many moving parts, a bachelors degree and experience are both necessary. Some people earn their degree in criminal justice with a focus on EM. Others may take an alternative route via public admin or something else. Once you graduate, you might earn an median annual salary of $74,590 depending on the sector.


Bachelors in Accounting / Finance

Skills: Attention to detail, math, analytical thinking
Career Opportunities: Accountants and Auditors, Cost Estimator, Financial Analyst

Accountants and Auditors

As an accountant or auditor, you use math and detective skills to track financial crimes. Ones like securities fraud, embezzlement and contract disputes. So, this line of work may involve collaborating with law enforcement as an expert witness. If this sounds promising, apart from a degree, it may be useful to work towards CPA status too. Once you graduate, growth in this field is expected to be (6%) to 2028. Salaries do vary, but, accountants earned a median annual wage of $71,550 in May 2019.

Cost Estimator

A cost estimator assesses how much time, money, materials and labor a project requires. Many in this role function as project managers who plan entire jobs whether in construction, IT or another area. Since correct estimates are the key to profit, this job field predicts 9% growth through 2028.That said, the range of industries using cost estimators makes for different pay levels. On average, cost estimators earn a median annual salary of $65,250.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst is someone who helps guides a business through investment choices. They look at things like stocks, bonds and suggest ways to bolster a portfolio. Many ae at work in banks, pension funds, securities firms and other settings. Having a degree in accounting or finance is necessary for this line of work. And, any certification like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can also be useful. The field expects to grow by 6% more jobs through 2028 and pays a median annual salary of  $85,660.

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