Post-service Engineering Career Guide for Veterans
Engineering is a good career for many veterans re-entering the workforce following their service. It also provides a variety of options to support many different niche interests within the larger field. In general, engineering is the process of applying science and mathematical principles to design innovative structures and machinery. Many different specialties and applications can fall under the umbrella of engineering. This makes the field a good channel through which veterans can discover and pursue their individual interests.
Types of Engineering
Major types of engineering careers and disciplines include the following:
- Electrical: Electrical engineers design, test, and troubleshoot electrical systems. Examples include the creation of emergency power backup systems and the development of power distribution systems. This may involve everything from large-scale design to the management of various smaller systems and LMR 400 rf cables.
- Civil: Civil engineers design, plan, and update infrastructure. Examples include the design of roads and bridges.
- Mechanical: Mechanical engineers design, test, and improve machinery. Examples include the design of engines and generators.
- Electronics engineering:Designing circuitry for electronic digital devices like phones, radios, and iPads.
- Chemical: Chemical engineers design and develop products that are created through chemical processes. Examples include the development of processes for the production of medicines and refinement of crude oil.
- Industrial: Industrial engineers design systems that optimize the interaction of operators and machinery. Examples include streamlining manufacturing processes and optimizing supply chains.
While these are the major disciplines of engineering, there are many more specific niches within these disciplines.
Why Veterans Should Work in Engineering
As mentioned, engineering is often a good career choice for veterans, for various reasons. The elements of this career path that make it ideal for veterans include:
- Strong financial security
- Opportunities to participate in innovative development
- Ability to apply creative thinking
- Operation within a highly professional, structured environment
- Opportunities to challenge yourself intellectually
Engineering careers also provide opportunities to utilize and further develop transferable skills that you may have developed within the military.
Transferable Military Skills for Engineering Careers
There are many skills veterans may have developed in the military that can be highly applicable to an engineering career. While it will be particularly helpful if you worked in an engineering capacity within the military, there are many further skills that could be beneficial. Transferable military skills may include:
- Communication skills
- Leadership and teamwork
- Time management
- Knowledge of health and safety standards
- Ability to adhere to strict operating procedures
- Ability to maintain a high degree of professionalism
- Ability to operate under pressure
- Planning skills
- Strategy development
- Mental fortitude
- Physical fortitude
How transferable these skills are will depend on the specific engineering career path you choose.
Careers in Engineering
Examples of specific engineering career options that may be ideal for a veteran include:
- Computer-aided design (CAD): This job involves the development of various designs using the assistance of computer technology. Professionals in this field will need to learn how to use relevant CAD software.
- Engineering manager: Engineering managers coordinate the efforts of teams of engineers. Engineering managers should expect to spend a significant amount of time interacting with other people.
- Health and safety engineering: Health and safety engineers develop procedures and structures that maximize the health and safety of people. Professionals in this field will need to have in-depth knowledge of safety and health standards.
- Manufacturing cost controlling: Manufacturing cost controllers strategize inventory and procedures to maximize cost efficiency in a manufacturing environment. Manufacturing cost controllers need to have expertise related to inventory management.
- Power and energy engineering: Power engineers strategize infrastructure and design generators to maximize the efficiency of the generation and distribution of power. This field features many more specific specializations related to the type of energy being used and how the energy is being utilized.
- Radio-frequency engineering: Radio-frequency engineers strategize and design infrastructure to support devices that utilize radio waves for operation. They also often work with a variety of devices, including SMA cables and SMA RF connectors, as well as flexible coax cables and waveguide to coax adapters.
- Water resources engineering: Water resources engineers design and optimize devices, infrastructure, and techniques that can be used to effectively manage water resources. Water resources engineers will need to be knowledgeable about various water sources and technologies used to manage water resources.
Choosing Your Preferred Degree
Depending on your existing skills and credentials, you may need further formal education to obtain your desired career in engineering. To determine whether you need further education, it will be helpful to determine what niche of engineering you are most interested in before making a decision. This will also allow you to minimize expenses related to schooling and time spent obtaining your degree, as you will have a more solid idea of what your goals are and what classes will allow you to achieve those goals.
To choose your degree program, you should consider the following factors:
- The typical salary of your preferred field
- The job security and outlook for your preferred field
- Your interests and skills
- Opportunities you may have for networking
- Opportunities you may have for mentorship
- Typical locations for job opportunities
- Innovations that you would enjoy contributing to
- Typical hours for your preferred career
In addition to formal education, you may also benefit from acquiring further hands-on experience.
Engineering Internships for Veterans
Internships are a great way for veterans to build up their skills and experience to acquire a full-time position down the line. To find an engineering internship opportunity, you will need to do some independent research. Online job platforms and university advisory resources are great places to start when searching for relevant internship opportunities. When doing your research, it may also be helpful to refine your search for internship opportunities for veterans, specifically.
Engineering Industry Certifications for Veterans
Certifications can help aspiring engineers build relevant skills and boost their credentials. Valuable engineering certifications include:
Professional Engineering License for Veterans
Many industries and institutions require employed engineers to hold a professional engineering license. Professionals can acquire a professional engineer license through the relevant agency located in their state. Candidates must complete education and training requirements as outlined by the relevant state agency. They must then complete an exam, and regularly update their license as needed.
Additional Engineering Resources
Additional resources for aspiring engineers include the following:
Additional Resources for Veterans
Additional resources for job-seeking veterans include the following: