G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   Apr 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   Apr 25

Choosing a Degree as a Military Veteran

choosing a degree as a military veteran

When choosing a degree, it’s important to understand that your MOS is not a signifier of what you should do from here on out. Your military service itself is enough. Employers are not expecting what you did in the military to automatically translate into the civilian sector, and your degree need not be restricted to disciplines similar to the military, like homeland security or criminal justice.

The most important thing is to find what fits your personality.

Maybe you took personality tests before joining the military but have since developed as an individual (and will develop further once you are out). Choosing a degree will be one of the bigger decisions you make in your life.

A good place to start is a free online college and career planning counseling service called Kuder Journey, sponsored by DANTES. It will assist you in narrowing your personality traits down, offering career suggestions as well. To begin the process, simply register as a new user and follow the prompts. Importantly, be wholly honest when taking the test; really think about the questions before you answer. Don’t pretend to be who you want to be; be who you are.

After you have gathered a collection of job ideas — you ought to have at least 20 options to explore — you can now see what these jobs entail, how much they pay and what kind of degree is required. Two websites to visit for this information is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics occupational outlook and Occupational Information Network. Occupations listed as having a “bright outlook” have faster growth rates than others, although this statistic changes frequently. You can also check out the top 25 hot jobs for veterans 2016 for this year’s fastest-growing jobs, as well as the 2016 Hot Degrees for Veterans.

Some degrees are so new that there isn’t much to find about them. For example, you can now find degrees in social media emerging because of its influence in the public sector. Knowledge in this field is critical to nearly every company or service that has to reach the public frequently.  

If you still have no idea which path to take, a tried-and-true method of discovery is to enroll in a community college and declare an associate degree in general studies. Use your electives to test out various subjects. Taking the community college route is smarter financially, too. The schools tend to be cheaper than universities. And you can knock out your general education requirements while exploring courses that interest you. See which one holds your interest best. See what your good at and what you look forward to. This is what your career should be for you as well.