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Making Life Choices: Prepare for the Future Careers

Your Future Starts Now

All who serve in the military will at one point become a veteran, whether by retirement or separation from the service. When you become a veteran, you face new challenges with one of the most daunting decisions: what career path do I take for the rest of my life? What is available in the marketplace as veteran jobs? Much is written about what skills the former military individual brings to the civilian and government job markets. Typically, among these skills are the human values of dedication, commitment to the “mission” (job), and personal discipline.1However, one underestimated capability inculcated into service members is “planning”. The ability to effectively plan is more than a marketable competence; it is a personal asset to help deal with the transition into the veteran jobs market. An abundant set of references provide information on preparing resumes and job search strategies for the veteran; however, the pervasive and dominant theme is to acquire the appropriate educational foundation for your future.2

Securing the Foundation

With the understanding that education is an essential component to effectively acquire the veteran jobs and career opportunities, individual service members and veterans can be proactive. Education to upgrade competencies and to build new capabilities has both an immediate and a long-range payoff. A definition of “military colleges” is: “education institutions that are dedicated to military and national security studies.” Online military colleges are a critical resource for service members and veterans. The online military colleges essentially fall into two groups. One group includes military colleges that are official government programs such as online courses from the US Air Force Air University and professional military education courses from the US Army and US Navy; online study programs at these government schools are available essentially to all serving military personnel.3 The non-government online military colleges form the second group of schools; these schools offer a broader range of courses in undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with the topical emphasis for these schools being national security. As examples, the undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs, and academic courses include strategic security, terrorism and counterterrorism studies, intelligence, military history, corporate security, computer science, clandestine operations, and effective communications skills. The non-government programs are open to serving military, veterans, and others; various programs are available for tuition support. Furthermore, the top schools provide support and guidance to individuals pursuing veteran jobs. The veteran faces one of the most momentous life decisions in the choice of his or her career. At the same time, the veteran can take proactive steps to best prepare for that career.

Planning, Action, Success

Education is a dominant factor in the selection between candidates for a specific job position. Education indicates a foundation for a particular set of skills and level of capabilities. The type and level of education reinforces the likely fit of a job applicant for the position. However, there is another indicator in an individual’s education resume. The applicants who demonstrate the vision and fortitude to “go the extra mile” give insights in aspects of personal character that employers desire. The veteran who made the effort to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant area of national security stands out from the candidates who did not show the same dedication.
As the veteran plans to make education one of the strong points to enter or advance in the post-military career, the selection of the “right school” is of paramount importance. Simply put, not all schools are equal. Select schools emphasize a combination of the academic theory, basic principles, and “practical application” in each area of national security education. Among the criteria for this evaluation is the composition of the faculty. The school that provides a faculty well-grounded in practical experience operating in the national security environment understands that the veteran needs an education that is sound academically and also gives the veteran student competencies that have utility in the national security job marketplace.


1. Leveraging Military Skills in the Job Market. Retrieved: www.military.com/veteran-jobs
2. Retirement for any military member. Retrieved: www.taskandpurpose.com
3. Welcome to The Air University. Retrieved: www.au.af.mil

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