The average age that an active duty member of the military retires is 42 years old, with military officers retiring at the average age of 46.
While your military career may be coming to a close, you may not be ready to retire quite yet fully. Retired military officers possess a wide range of skills, leadership experience and discipline that can be valuable in civilian roles.
Here are 10 jobs for retired military officers that can leverage your skills:
Many retired military officers transition into teaching or training roles in public schools, academic institutions, military academies or vocational training centers.
In fact, in Texas, there is a critical teacher shortage that could provide the perfect landing spot for a retired military officer. Educator preparation programs in the state allow you to earn your Texas teaching credential.
If you earned a bachelor’s degree before you entered the military or while you served, you can enroll in an EPP where you’ll receive the training needed to become a teacher, whether your goal is to be an elementary school teacher, middle school teacher or high school teacher.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) can also issue a standard Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) teaching certificate. Many instructors in this program are retired Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard officers, who help prepare high school students for leadership roles. This teaching certificate requires completion of an approved EPP and a bachelor’s degree.
If you already have earned your four-year degree, the certification process can take just four to six months. However, even if you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you can still take advantage of an educator preparation program through Health Science or Trade and Industrial Education (TIE) certification. Eligible military experience may be used to meet the experience and license requirements for this type of certification.
There’s another advantage of having a military service background when pursuing your certification as well. You may be able to have your fees waived for several of the steps you must take to earn your teacher certification if you meet eligibility requirements. The TEA will waive certain fees for eligible military service members, military veterans and military spouses.
To read more about these fees, as well as the steps you need to take to earn a teaching certificate in Texas, check out our article, Leaving the Military? Education Wants You!
Many retired officers find opportunities in defense contracting, utilizing their expertise to work with private companies that provide goods and services to the military.
This field allows former officers to apply their extensive knowledge of military operations, logistics, technology and strategic planning to collaborate with private companies that supply various goods and services to the military.
In the role of a defense contractor, you may work on a wide array of projects, such as developing cutting-edge technology, providing logistical support, offering strategic consulting or managing procurement processes. Your firsthand experience within the military equips you with a deep understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the armed forces, making your insights invaluable in creating efficient and effective solutions for defense-related projects.
Defense contractors also play a crucial role in bridging the gap between military needs and private-sector capabilities. They often contribute to the research, development, testing and implementation of advanced weaponry, communication systems, cybersecurity measures and other critical tools used by the armed forces.
Networking and leveraging connections established during a military career are pivotal in securing roles within defense contracting firms. You might find opportunities in a variety of positions, including project management, procurement, engineering, business development and consultancy. Familiarity with military protocols, regulations and procurement processes also allows you to navigate the complexities of working within the defense industry effectively.
Federal, state or local government agencies often seek retired officers for roles in security, emergency management, intelligence, law enforcement or diplomatic services.
Within government agencies, retired officers may find opportunities to apply their knowledge of strategic planning, risk assessment and crisis management to enhance national security efforts. They might work in roles related to homeland security, border protection or counterterrorism, contributing their insights and experience to safeguard the nation's interests.
Retired officers might take on roles in embassies or consulates, where their skills in negotiation, conflict resolution and cultural understanding can aid in fostering diplomatic relations and representing the country's interests abroad.
Positions within government agencies for retired military members can vary widely, from advisory and consulting roles to operational leadership positions. For example, many government agencies also have specialized units focused on emergency management and disaster response.
Retired officers often excel in these roles due to their experience in coordinating complex operations and managing crises effectively. Their ability to remain composed under pressure and implement organized response plans is highly beneficial in mitigating the impact of natural disasters or other emergencies.
Transitioning into the private security sector is a common pathway for retired military officers seeking to apply their expertise in risk management, security and leadership in civilian roles. Private security firms highly value the skills and experience that former officers bring to the table.
In this field, retired officers often serve as security consultants or advisors, leveraging their in-depth knowledge of threat assessment, security protocols and operational planning to assist organizations in fortifying their security measures.
In this position, you may conduct comprehensive risk assessments, identify vulnerabilities and recommend strategies to mitigate potential security threats for businesses, government facilities or high-profile individuals.
Many retired officers also specialize in executive protection, providing security detail and personal protection services to corporate executives, dignitaries or other high-profile individuals. Depending on your position and the training you received while serving in the Armed Forces, you may have extensive experience in security tactics, situational awareness and crisis response that will allow you to ensure the safety and security of your clients in various environments.
You may also serve as a consultant, overseeing the implementation and management of security protocols within organizations. This will involve leading security teams, developing security policies and, coordinating responses to security incidents, ensuring the protection of assets, personnel and sensitive information.
Consulting firms value the leadership and problem-solving skills of retired officers. They may work in management consulting, advising businesses on strategy, operations or organizational management.
As an officer, you honed your skills in decision-making, resource allocation and managing teams in high-pressure environments. Your background equips you with a unique perspective that consulting firms find invaluable in assisting clients with enhancing efficiency, optimizing processes and overcoming complex organizational hurdles.
You may specialize in areas such as supply chain management, logistics optimization, leadership development or change management, among others.
As an officer, you have demonstrated your capacity to lead diverse teams, navigate challenging situations, and adapt to dynamic environments. These qualities are highly transferable to the consulting field, where your ability to analyze data, communicate effectively and offer innovative solutions to improve business performance will be immensely beneficial.
With their leadership experience, retired officers often excel in leadership positions in various industries, including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare or technology.
In the corporate landscape, the leadership skills cultivated during your military career enables you to thrive in executive roles. These roles may involve overseeing operations, managing teams, setting strategic direction and driving innovation within their respective industries.
In manufacturing, retired officers may apply their expertise in process optimization, quality assurance and resource management to enhance production efficiency and streamline operations. Your ability to lead teams toward achieving objectives within tight deadlines is invaluable in this sector.
In logistics, your experience in managing complex supply chains, coordinating logistics operations and ensuring seamless transportation aligns well with executive roles focused on optimizing distribution networks and improving overall supply chain efficiency.
Within healthcare, retired officers can leverage their skills in crisis management, organizational leadership and resource allocation to excel in executive positions. Particularly if you served in a healthcare role during your time in the military, your experience provides a valuable foundation for transitioning into executive positions within the healthcare industry in the civilian world.
In technology-driven industries, the analytical mindset, adaptability and problem-solving abilities honed during your military tenure equip you to lead initiatives in technology adoption, innovation and strategic development.
In nonprofit leadership roles, retired officers can leverage their extensive experience in project management, strategic planning and team leadership to drive the organization's mission forward.
Their ability to manage resources efficiently, coordinate complex initiatives and lead teams toward common goals aligns well with the needs of nonprofit organizations striving to make a positive difference in various societal or humanitarian issues.
Nonprofit organizations, especially those dedicated to serving members or former members of the military, stand to gain immensely from individuals with military experience. The unique skill set and deep understanding of the challenges faced by military personnel make retired officers particularly valuable in these roles.
Your firsthand knowledge of military culture, the intricacies of transitioning from military to civilian life and the specific needs of veterans enable you to empathize with and effectively support fellow service members.
Your leadership, crisis management skills and experience in navigating complex systems are assets that can be instrumental in providing crucial assistance, guidance and advocacy within these nonprofits as well. Whether it's in facilitating reintegration programs, providing mental health support, offering career transition assistance or advocating for veterans' rights, individuals with military backgrounds bring an invaluable perspective and a profound commitment to supporting their fellow servicemen and women in need.
Retired officers may transition to roles in local or federal law enforcement agencies, leveraging their expertise in security and investigations.
Nearly 20% of police officers today served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This statistic underscores the shared values, skills and commitment to public service that military personnel bring to law enforcement agencies.
Retired officers' dedication to protecting communities, coupled with their experience in safeguarding national interests during their military tenure, positions them well to serve in various capacities within law enforcement, contributing to public safety and security.
Other skills honed during their military careers include strategic thinking, adaptability, ability to handle high-stress environments and a commitment to upholding law and order.
Military officers with aviation experience can find jobs in the commercial aviation industry as pilots, aviation consultants or in management roles within aerospace companies. In fact, about one-third of commercial airline pilots have military backgrounds.
United Airlines recently announced the launch of the United Military Pilot Program, which gives full-time, active-duty U.S. military pilots access to conditional job offers as First Officers with the airline. Several other airlines, like Piedmont Airlines, also have military transition programs that match pilots with flight schools to customize training.
Even if you didn’t serve as a pilot in the military, your background still offers a trove of transferable skills applicable to the aerospace industry as a whole. Skills like critical decision-making, meticulous attention to detail and proficiency in teamwork are highly valued across various roles within aerospace companies.
Your experience in managing complex systems and working within structured hierarchies can translate well into roles within this industry. Your familiarity with safety protocols and risk assessment can also make you well-suited for contributing significantly to the aerospace industry beyond piloting roles.
Entrepreneurship offers an exciting avenue for retired military officers to leverage their diverse skill set and leadership acumen in starting their own ventures. Drawing upon their experience in strategic planning, resource management and adaptability gained during their military careers, retired officers can establish businesses across a spectrum of industries.
For instance, your own business can serve other businesses focused on security consulting, leadership development, logistics management or even technology startups.
Considering your experience in crisis management and risk assessment can help you dive into industries like emergency preparedness consulting, disaster recovery services or even fitness and wellness.
The entrepreneurial path allows retired officers to channel their leadership skills and entrepreneurial drive into ventures that not only align with their expertise but also contribute positively to their communities and industries at large.
Topics: Becoming A Teacher
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.