All of the skills you acquire while serving in the military as a combat engineer, can help with future careers in the civilian world.

Jobs for Combat Engineering Veterans

Here are a few civilian jobs after serving in the military as an engineer (Combat Engineer, Construction, Electrician, Etc).  These job descriptions include salary information, education and training requirements.

Here are a few civilian jobs to consider after working in combat engineering in the military:

Electrician

An electrician works on and installs wiring in homes, businesses, factories, you name it. They work indoors, outdoors, on new construction, renovation, or new equipment installation. There are many levels to being an electrician including being a residential wireman, a journeyman electrician, and a master electrician. A combat engineer’s experience such as with wiring explosives can help in this position.

Like the military, you need to have a high school diploma to get started. But, in many states you will have to pass an exam before you can start your apprenticeship. The best way to prepare for the exam and your career as an electrician is to take classes at your local junior college or vocational “trade” school, or training programs through your local electrician’s union.

Apprenticeships can last a few years and will allow you to learn the trade and get prepared for going out on your own as an electrician. After you complete your apprenticeship, you will need to get your license in your state if you state requires that, or in your city or county if they require that.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of an Electron would be from $47,811 to $60, 951.

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Construction

Going into construction can also be a good post combat engineer career choice. Using the skills you have learned during your time in the military.

Like an electrician, construction workers can work on commercial, industrial or residential construction. Building structures, bridges, and road work. There are also options when it comes to starting out in this career.

You can register as an apprentice and learn on-the-job training as well as in-class training. Or, take classes at a transitional or technical/vocational college. You can take a shorter program, sometimes just a few weeks, in order to get a certificate to use in finding employment. You can also look for an entry-level job to get started right away, learning while at your job. Classes in english, math, physics, and shop and welding will come in handy.

According to Payscale.com, the average salary of a construction worker is between $21,193 to $54,974.

Building Inspector

Finding a career as a building inspector is another good choice for someone who has been a combat engineer. As a building inspector, you would examine the structural quality and overall safety of a variety of buildings, and ensure buildings comply with municipal and state codes, ordinances, and zoning regulations. They use tools that take measurements, identify potential programs, and sample materials.

Since working as a building inspector can involve climbing high ladders or crawling through tight spaces, going into this career field after being a combat engineer can be a smart idea. The knowledge and experience you have gained in that MOS can help you with this type of career.

You will need a high school diploma for this line of work but some employers will require more. The training requirements can also differ based on your jurisdiction or state. Going to school to earn a certificate or an associate’s degree would be a good idea, and some go on to gain their bachelor’s degree which will allow them to replace work experience when looking for a job. Many states also require a license or certification. You can also gain extra certifications in order to help you become more employable.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of an Building Inspector is $54,311.

Civil Engineer

Becoming a civil engineer after your military career is another option. To be a civil engineer, you would need to have an advanced understanding of engineering, particularly the construction of roads, dams, buildings, and grids. Combat engineers will have gained this type of training during their time in the military. Those who have a knowledge or interest in the creation of building and maintenance of large-scale infrastructure can also do well in this career as well as those who are leaders who have good organizational skills.

Working as a civil engineer, you will conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector. This would include roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Some of the more common employers for civil engineers are an engineering service, state, local, or federal governments, and nonresidential building construction companies.

You would need to get your bachelor’s degree in order to work as a civil engineer. Getting your graduate degree would be best if you want to gain a senior position. Some of the classes you would take for this type of degree would be math, statistics, engineering mechanics, and systems. License requirements to work as a civil engineer do differ based on your state.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of an Civil Engineer is between $68,329 to $107,680.

Combat Engineering: Background

United States first formed a military engineering capability in 1775, when the Continental Congress established an Army with a Chief Engineer and two assistants. Then, in 1802, the Corps of Engineers was organized by the President.

In the Army, Combat Engineers are a part of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and fall under MOS 12B. The Army Corps of Engineers are the builders of the Army, there are about a dozen jobs, including Prime Power Production Specialist (MOS 12P), Bridge Crewmember (MOS 12C), Prime Power Production Specialist (MOS 12P), Prime Power Production Specialist (MOS 12P) and Carpentry and Masonry Specialist (MOS 12W) who often do their work in combat situations.

The Navy has a civil engineer corps and Seabees, which form the Naval Construction Force (NCF) of the United States Navy. The Navy Seabee Community is comprised of Occupational Field-7 ratings – Builder (BU), Construction Electrician (CE), Construction Mechanic (CM), Engineering Aide (EA), Equipment Operator (EO), Steelworker (SW) and Utilities Tech (UT).

In the Air Force, you can find engineers under civil engineering as well in a combat engineer role in the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer units known as “Red Horse.” Air Force engineering specialties include Structural Specialists (AFSC-3E3X1), Electrical Systems Specialist (AFSC-3E0X1), Utilities Systems AFSC-3E4X1), Engineering Specialists (AFSC-3E5X1), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialists (AFSC-3E8X1).

In the Marine Corps, combat engineers fall under the 1371 MOS. Which is part of the larger group of combat engineering related occupations (1300 Series MOS). Other Marine engineering jobs include MOS like, Heavy Equipment Mechanic (MOS 1341), Engineering Equipment Operator (MOS 1345), and Metal Worker (MOS 1316).

Combat engineers learn many skills during their time in the military such as:

  • Constructing fighting positions
  • Fixing or floating bridges
  • Figuring out obstacles and defensive positions
  • Placing and detonating explosives
  • Conducting operations that include route clearance of obstacles and rivers
  • Preparing and installing firing systems for demolition and explosives
  • Detecting mines
  • Basic urban operations
  • Learning how to operate heavy equipment
  • Ability to use hand and power tools
  • Being able to perform strenuous physical activities over long periods of time
  • Being interested in engineering
  • Possibly enjoying working outdoors

When trying to decide what to do after your military career is over, figuring out what jobs would work well with your MOS can be helpful. Think about what you liked about being a combat engineer and go from there. There are many different options.

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.