Part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) mission is to mitigate risk to our nation’s infrastructure both real and cyber. They also help establish which jobs are critical to our nation. Fortunately, there are many military jobs that easily cross over to the civilian sector. The value of knowing this information is that if you are thinking of joining the military and are looking to train in a field that you can use when back in the civilian world, or are thinking of getting out and are trained in one of these fields, it will make getting a rewarding job easier.
These jobs are critical to our nation’s safety and security not only during times of crisis, but even when the threat is low. This article examines eight critical fields that pair well with military specialties.
Being able to communicate both electronically, verbally and written is critical to any nation. We are seeing the value of communicating right now during our pandemic crisis. From Federal agencies interacting with each other and with private business, to the regular press conferences to let the public know what is the current state of things, it is easy to see the value of communicating and why it must continue regardless of the threat. Network management, public relations and information technology are always in demand in the civilian world.
Diagnosis and treatment are basically the same whether you are working on a military member or a civilian. Dieticians, physician assistants, dental assistants, laboratory technicians and more are all in high demand in the civilian world. Infectious disease experts and front-line health workers are especially valuable right now; that is no more apparent than in our current situation. And make no mistake about it, another pandemic will come along at some point in the future, if the past is any indication.
Logistics and Supply Chains
It is the farmers that feed the nation, but that food gets nowhere without loggies arranging warehousing, distribution, and delivery to get that food to the people. This is another field where military function easily crosses over to the civilian world.
Transportation is a big part of the supply chain. From flying cargo and food stuffs to moving goods by rail, to truck drivers like the Army 88M Transportation Specialists getting goods and products to their final destination, all play a critical part in this supply chain.
In the case of 88Ms and similar MOSs on the other military branches, all that is usually required to cross over is obtaining a CDL and passing a DOT medical clearance. Some companies may also require a short driver training course specific to how they do business. And it is the same with pilots and locomotive engineers – most transportation MOSs easily cross over with minimal additional training required.
From nuclear to wind, geothermal and solar, all alternative energy sources are trending upward as our nation continues to try to reduce its carbon footprint. From the Navy’s sailors that are trained in the operation of nuclear reactors, to many of the fields located in Vertical Combat Engineer Units, skilled specialists and technicians in these units are in high demand in the civilian world as our nation continues to drift toward energy sources other than fossil fuels.
There is increasing need for welders, machinists and other trades-like people on assembly lines. Besides skills in these fields, the MOSs (1) of combat engineers, weapons repairers and logistic planners are all employed in the manufacturing field.
Right now is a boom time for people in this field. From firefighters, to military police, to emergency medical responders – especially EMTs and paramedics – military training in these fields crosses over nicely to the civilian world with minimum ramp-up time or training.
It is a fact that equipment needs scheduled and routine maintenance to keep operating optimally. Because the military is more maintenance-conscious than many non-military organizations, it is an easy transition for trained individuals to crosswalk into civilian jobs in this broad field. Whether it is keeping boilers running in manufacturing plants, to keeping equipment moving like farm machinery, long-haul trucks, planes or automobiles, there is a place for everyone regardless of their mechanical talents.
Fresh and Wastewater Management
Fresh potable water is not only essential to human survival, it is a resource needed by most businesses large and small. And wastewater must be handled correctly to prevent disease outbreaks and contamination of our fresh water supply. Consequently because of its importance, water – fresh and waste – is one field high on the CISA’s radar.
As would be expected, plumbing jobs are at the heart of this field. But there are other jobs just as important in this field, like pipefitters, welders, water systems maintainers, utilities maintenance managers and like jobs typically found in commercial applications.
Another sector in the water management area that concerns the CISA are dams on our water systems, like rivers and lakes. Because dams supply water to towns and businesses, and in the case of hydroelectric dams, generate electricity into the grid, they are a critical part of our infrastructure. The Army Corps of Engineers built and manages about 700 dams in the U.S. But 95% of these dams are at least 30 years old; more than half are over 50 years old. Between replacing many of these aging structures at some time in the future, to maintaining and repairing the rest of them in the present, people skilled in engineering, construction, and maintenance of these vertical structures are (and will continue to be) in demand.
While the job market is depressed at the moment because of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and the jobs to support it will come back. The best thing to do now in the meantime is to prepare for future changes in your job field by using your GI Bill to supplement your training, so that when opportunity presents itself, you are the one best prepared and ready to grab it.
(1) The term Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is the job title used by the Army and Marines to describe each of their jobs. The Navy and Coast Guard use the term “Rating,” while the Air Force uses Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) instead of MOS. However, all these terms are interchangeable.