No one wants to invest time, energy, and money into a degree that gets you nowhere. Especially when you have already dedicated years of your life serving in the United States Armed Forces. It’s now time to transition out of the service and into the civilian world. The best place to start: School. But, what would you major in?
These five majors are projected to be hired at rapid speed this year. Getting into one of these majors now could set you up for a great career down the road:
Computer Information Systems
1. Cybersecurity is about protecting computer systems and networks from the dangers of theft or damage. The more society depends on computers, the more important cybersecurity will be. Computers and technology aren’t going anywhere.
There are many types of attacks out there that those in cybersecurity work to prevent. Backdoor attacks, DoS attacks, direct-access attacks, eavesdropping, phishing, social engineering, spoofing, and more can cause havoc to individuals, businesses, industries, and government agencies.
Cyber attacks can cause serious financial damage as well as other devastating consequences. Companies can lose customers, and individuals might have to deal with the long and frustrating process of cleaning up identity theft. There is a huge need to be able to combat those attacks as well as set up a defense to avoid them in the first place.
Getting Your Degree in Cybersecurity
Coursework for a Cybersecurity or similar degree can include classes on Basic Data Analysis, Cyber Defense, Intro to Cryptography, IT Systems Components, Networking Concepts, Policy, Legal, Ethics, and Compliance, System Administration, Criminal Psychology, Digital Forensics and Policy, and more.
Keep in mind that because Cybersecurity is still relatively young, universities and colleges can still be trying to figure out what the best approach is.
A bachelor’s degree is a good idea, although there may be two-year programs or certificates you can pursue as well. Some schools might have a Cybersecurity degree but others, you would need to major in something else, such as Computer Programing, Computer Science, Information Science, and Computer Engineering, Information Security, or Information Technology.
CAE is the National Centers of Academic Excellence Program. The program is there to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and expertise in cyber defense. Over 300 top colleges and universities across 48 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico are CAE-CD schools. Two-year, four-year, and graduate-level institutions in the US are eligible to apply to become a CAE-CD school.
You will also want to check out these schools that rank as the country’s top cybersecurity programs.
Industries That Hire For Cybersecurity
Tech Companies- Tech companies are probably the most obvious employer when it comes to finding a job in Cybersecurity. Some of the top tech companies would be Google, Cisco, Twitter, Salesforce, and Facebook.
The Government- You could find a job in the DC area working for the federal government or find a job in a local government setting. Government agencies also need to be protected and want to hire people to combat cyber threats.
Banking & Finance-Identity theft and fraud are large threats in the banking and finance industry. These companies will be spending money on cybersecurity. You can look for jobs at companies such as Chase, Bank of America, Discover, Wells Fargo or any other financial group or bank.
Retail- Many of the companies you shop at have been hacked at one time, from Target to Marriott Hotels. For retailers, just the news that that the company was hacked can hurt business. It is super important for them to have a good cybersecurity strategy and they will want to hire qualified people for the job.
Universities, colleges, hospitals, media, and other businesses are all industries that hire people with a cybersecurity or similar degree. There is a wide range of employers and work environments to choose from.
Salaries in Cybersecurity
The average cybersecurity job pays $96,255 a year, according to Glassdoor. According to BLS, an Information Security Analyst makes $98,350 per year. And on a state-by-state basis for the average cybersecurity salary, according to ZipRecruiter, New York is the highest-paying state, with an annual salary of $123,000, while North Carolina is the lowest-paying state, at an annual salary of $87,000.
2. Nursing is such an important career and that isn’t going to change in the future. There are many different fields can you go into when it comes to nursing. The need for nurses is a big one. We will always need people to work in healthcare and there is a great need for quality nurses. For those who worked in the medical field while in the military, nursing can be the perfect next step in your career journey.
Getting Your Degree in Nursing
When it comes to getting a degree in nursing, you have many different options based on what you want to do and how long you want to be in school. Some programs do take longer than others. Here are the most common degrees in nursing that you can get.
CNA Certified Nurse Aid- As a CNA, you would offer basic healthcare services, help patients with their daily activities and most likely work in a nursing home or ER setting. Most programs are between 4-12 months and you can find them at technical and 2-year colleges. You might be able to find a hybrid online program as well.
LPN/LVN Licensed Practical Nurse- As an LPN or LVN, you would work under the supervision of RNs and do tasks such as checking vital signs, reporting patient conditions, changing dressings, and more. These programs usually take 12 months and you can find the programs at technical and 2-year colleges.
RN Registered Nurse- As an RN, you can qualify for most jobs that involve providing critical patient care and assisting physicians. You would also supervise LPNs, LVNs, and CNAs. You can get this degree at a technical or 2-year college. Some 4-year colleges may have programs too. The program usually takes between 2-3 years. There are hybrid online programs to make getting your degree a bit easier.
BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing- With a BSN, you can open doors for yourself in leadership and management roles. In some places, they will always hire a BSN over an RN. You can get your BSN online or in-person after your RN or go to a 4-year college to get your BSN. There are also special accelerated programs for those who already have a BA or BS in another subject.
Past a BSN, you can get your Master’s in Nursing or MSN. Most programs require a BSN but if you have your RN you can find RN to MSN Bridge programs. You would need to get your MSN to become a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Nurse Practitioner. These programs usually take 1.5 to 2 years and you would need to find a graduate program. They do have online options for an MSN degree too.
If you would still like to go further down the nursing path, you can also get your Doctorate of Nursing.
Where Can You Work As a Nurse?
As a nurse, you could find employment at a hospital or a physician’s office. In addition to those two options, you could work in an outpatient care facility, a clinic, a nursing home, a school, a community health center, and even within a patient’s residence.
You can work with adults, children, newborns, the elderly, or a mix of different age groups. You could work Monday through Friday, normal work hours at a school or doctor’s office, or you could work the night shift three times a week at the NICU or ER. You can work on a military installation or at a civilian location. There really are a lot of different options based on your skill set, your interests, and your lifestyle.
Salaries in Nursing
The average salaries for different types of careers in nursing vary based on location and position. According to Glassdoor, the average for a CNA is $25,111 a year, an LPN/LVN would make on average $41,917 a year, an RN, $65,870 a year, a BSN, $77,960 a year, a Certified Nurse Midwife, $86,870 a year, and a Nurse Practitioner, $110,076 a year. And from ZipRecruiter, New York is the highest-paying state, with an annual salary of $75,789, while North Carolina is the lowest-paying state, at an annual salary of $53,593.
3. Engineering is the application of science and math to solve problems. Engineers work to figure out how things work and find practical uses for scientific discoveries. They apply science and math to solve problems.
There are many different types of engineering, here are the main disciplines of engineering:
Chemical Engineering is the use of chemical and biological processes to produce useful materials and substances. It combines natural and experimental sciences, life sciences, and math and economics.
Civil Engineering is the professional practice of designing and developing infrastructure projects.
Computer Engineering integrates several fields of computer science and electronics engineering required to develop computer hardware and software.
Electrical Engineering is associated with electronic circuits, devices, and the equipment and systems that use them.
Mechanical Engineering is the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems.
In addition to these, there are many other engineering paths you can take. From Aerospace to Oceanic to Nuclear and Biomedical.
Getting Your Degree in Engineering
A college degree is a must if you want to go into engineering. You will need to have a bachelor’s degree to become an engineer. Although, some jobs you will also need a master’s degree or higher. You can get a two-year engineering degree to set you up for your four-year degree. Engineering degrees are rigorous and often times a four-year degree will take longer than the typical four years to complete. You can complete your master’s degree in two years. There are online programs, accelerated programs, and even dual degree programs. You can go even further with a doctoral degree, which is usually research-based and that will take around three years.
Use this tool to help you narrow down your search of the right military friendly engineering program for you.
Where Can You Work as an Engineer?
Depending on the engineering field you go into, you can work in different locations and environments.
Chemical Engineering- As a chemical engineer you will work mostly in an office or laboratories. You can find jobs at major corporations such as Goodyear, ExxonMobil, and 3M.
Civil Engineering- As a civil engineer you can work in a variety of locations and conditions, work in an office, and work outdoors at construction sites. You can find work at the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the URS Corporation, and HDR, Inc.
Computer Engineering- As a computer engineer, you will probably work in research labs, computer labs, or an office. You can find work at places such as Google, HP, Apple or Microsoft.
Electrical Engineering- As an electrical engineer, you would work in an office, lab setting, or also go to on-site projects and go on short-term assignments. You can find a job at Lockheed Martin, Texas Instruments, and Boeing.
Mechanical Engineering- Mechanical engineers work in an office and may occasionally visit worksites. You can find a job at Ford Motor, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United States Department of Energy.
Salaries in Engineering
Chemical Engineering- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $71,930
Civil Engineering- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $76,540
Computer Engineering- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $92,046
Electrical Engineering- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $77,946
Mechanical Engineering- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $70,964
As far as the difference in states goes, according to ZipRecruiter, New York has the highest average for an engineer at $80,515 a year, and North Carolina has the lowest at $56,659.
Computer Information Systems
4. Computer Information Systems is the application of technology in managing the needs of businesses or organizations. People who work in this career focus on the practical applications of computer technology through the study of a broad range of subjects. Those who go into this field may have knowledge and expertise in topics such as software design, communications, and business.
Technology is advancing and the internet and computers are the center of so much progress. It would be a very exciting career path to get into if you are interested in it.
Getting Your Degree in Computer Information Systems
If you want to get your degree in Computer Information Systems you do have some options depending on how long you want to go to school and your end career goals. You would want to work on an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in a variety of majors such as computer science, computer programing, computer information systems, or a related field. You would find coursework in computer hardware & software applications, programming, international technology, project management, and economics.
If you would like to go further with your education you can work on your master’s degree which would take on average about two years.
Not sure what not-for-profit, military friendly colleges & universities have Computer Information Systems degree programs? Search here.
Where Can You Work in Computer Information Systems
Where you work will depend on the type of job you get after getting a degree in Computer Information System. Here are some examples:
Technical Support Specialist- In this job, you would provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer science or equipment. You could work for places such as banks, internet companies, and even retail companies.
Program Analyst- As a Program Analyst you would study the organization or a company’s current computer systems and procedures to help the company or organization work more efficiently. You could work for companies such as Wipro, Atos, or HCL America, Inc.
Computer Technician- As a Computer Technician, you would provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. You could find jobs at places like Best Buy, Dell, or IBM.
Systems Administrator- In this position, you would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of computer networks. You can get a job at companies such as Amazon, IBM, and HP.
Software Developer- As a Software Developer you would be the creative mind behind computer programs or applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. You could work for a software company such as Atomic Object, SumatoSoft, or Intellectsoft.
Salaries in Computer Information Systems
Technical Support Specialist- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $32,825
Program Analyst- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $67,782
Computer Technician- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $30,531
Systems Administrator- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $64,892
Software Developer- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $76,526
For the states, according to ZipRecruiter, New York has the highest average for someone in Computer Information Technology at $60,334 a year, and North Carolina has the lowest at $42,458.
5. Finance is the art and science of managing money. Nearly every decision made by an organization, company, or individual has important financial implications. All companies and organizations need individuals knowledgeable about finance. If math and money are up your alley, maybe a finance degree is where you should look. Money powers the world and there are always going to be jobs available for people in finance.
Getting Your Degree in Finance
If you want to get your degree in finance, you have a few different options. You can get your associate’s degree, which can be earned in two years. With this degree, you can possibly find an entry-level position at a bank or accounting firm. A bachelor’s degree in finance would take around four years, and you might need one for a variety of finance career paths. A master’s degree will take you one to two years, and you could get a master’s or MBA which can lead to the best job opportunities. If you want to go further you can work towards your doctorate degree, which can take four to six years. With a Doctorate in Finance, you can work on research or as a faculty member at a college, university, or business school.
As a finance major, you would be taking classes in macro and microeconomics, personal finance concepts, introduction to project management, business classes, business law, and human resource management. Learn what military-friendly schools have finance degrees, here.
Where Can You Work in Finance?
There is such a variety of careers you can go into with a degree in finance. Here are a few of them:
Credit Analyst- As a credit analyst you would analyze financial information and assess the risk of offering credit to businesses and individuals. You would typically be hired by commercial and investment banks, credit card issuing institutions, credit rating agencies, and investment companies. Some examples of places to work would be U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and J.P. Morgan.
Financial Advisor- As a financial advisor, you would be a cross between a financial planner, and an investment advisor. You would help people invest money and achieve financial goals. You can work in the financial and insurance industry or could be self-employed. Top companies would be USAA, American Express, or Edward D. Jones & Co.
Chief Financial Officer- As a Chief Financial Officer, you would be the senior executive responsible for managing the financial actions of a company. You can find CFO positions in any industry, from a family farm to a big well-known company. You could also choose to be self-employed and work for numerous companies on a part-time basis.
Loan Officer- As a loan officer, you would assist the individual during the loan process. You would determine if people can get a loan or not. You would be employed by commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, or other financial institutions. You might travel to meet clients.
Investment Banker- As an investment banker, you would advise and raise funds for a corporation. You would have clients who are the government, corporations, and institutions. You could work for bigger banks such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, or Morgan Stanley.
Salaries in Finance
Credit Analyst- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $52,747
Financial Advisor- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $51,022
Chief Financial Officer- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $145,106
Loan Officer- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $40,807
Investment Banker- According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary is $79,847
As far as the difference in states goes, according to ZipRecruiter, New York has the highest average for a financial advisor at $73,723 a year, and North Carolina has the lowest at $51,880.
What about you?
The degree program you enroll in can be very much tied to your experiences and job in the military or it can be completely different! Regardless, you are setting yourself up for success in the civilian world by enrolling in a military friendly degree program! Which degree program are you looking to enroll in? Is it one of the above, or different? We’d love to know!