By Bridget Quigg, PayScale.com
How can you make your transition from military work to a civilian job as easy as possible? Earning a healthy paycheck might help.
Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at online salary database PayScale.com recommends that military folks in search of good pay take advantage of three special areas of knowledge they likely have: security, machinery operation and, the less well-known but highly lucrative, logistics. "Everyone knows there is a tank mechanic but not everyone thinks, 'Hey, somebody made sure that this tank got to the desert from Hawaii or someplace in the Philippines," says Bardaro. She points out that the global marketplace involves complex, international logistical challenges that military folks are experienced in handling. Bardaro says, "A lot of companies' needs look like what was required in Desert Storm or the war in Iraq."
Are you in transition out of the military? Here is a list of the 10 most highly-paid civilian jobs that former military personnel commonly choose, according to PayScale.
1. Business Development Director - $98,500
This job requires business tactics over, say, mission tactics. A business development director pays attention to the company's long-term goals and works to create sales opportunities, strategic partnerships and other initiatives to create success. The ability to see the larger picture and make a plan for all possible scenarios is something that most former military members have acquired in their service. If you have an acute vision for development, you might enjoy exploring this career.
2. Program Manager, IT - $92,000
The military is known for airtight logistical coordination. Because of this attention to detail, military folks can be well-suited to a career in project management. Responsible for coordinating and ensuring successful completion of various projects within a company, a former military employee could find project management to be an excellent fit.
3. Management Consultant - $87,300
Here's another gig that is logistical. Management consultants are brought in to help companies operate more efficiently. They serve as guides and outside experts on everything from manufacturing efficiency and employee scheduling, to finances and supply-chain management. It's a job for someone who is analytical and can think strategically.
4. Senior Systems Engineer - $86,300
Here's where the more technical skills picked up in the military can really pay off, with the logistical know-how helping, too. Systems engineers set up and support computer networks. An engineer must understand and recommend needed hardware and software for whichever group they are serving. According to PayScale, systems engineers often go on to work as IT directors, earning six figures.
5. Program Manager, Aviation / Aerospace - $85,700
To Bardaro's point, this job does not require flying or fixing an airplane, it requires the ability to plan, schedule, resource and manage operations that have to do with planes. "A program manager makes the list of the parts that need to come together," Bardaro says.
6. Security Consultant, (Computing / Networking / Information Technology) - $83,500
Military veterans understand the importance of protecting valuable information, and they have the technical skills to do so. A security consultant is so skilled at protecting digital information that they are brought into companies and organizations to design and implement specified security systems.
7. Senior Project Manager, Operations - $82,900
A huge organization like the military must keep all of its people and materials in the right place at the right time. Responsible for coordinating and ensuring successful completion of various operational projects within a company, a former military employee might find operations project management to be an excellent fit.
8. Security Engineer, Information Systems - $82,500
Military experience can develop excellent technical skills. This job allows former military servicemen and women to provide technical leadership by overhauling systems designs. You might also be responsible for developing responsive information technology systems to ensure security.
9. Project Manager, Information Technology (IT) - $80,800
Do you have a love for technology and a knack for keeping things moving? Try project management in IT. From figuring out what needs to be done for a project, to scheduling deadlines, determining staff and resources needed and making sure the team adjusts to any problems that come up , the project manager has many pieces to organize.
10. Project Manager, Engineering - $78,500
The military has a reputation for being somewhat ... structured. It's no surprise, then, that project manager made our list three times. If you are able to improve processes, implementing best practices to increase efficiency, you might enjoy putting your military engineering experience to use as an engineering PM.
Other top-paid gigs not listed here are FBI Agent ($77,300), IT Consultant ($73,600), Government Program Manager ($73,600), Software Developer ($72,700) and Business Development Manager ($72,300).
Source: Salary data is provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are annual salaries for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit-sharing.
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