One of the major concerns for veterans leaving the military is how they will transition into and find success in the civilian labour market. Unemployment among veterans during the 2020-2021 pandemic years was slightly higher than the already quite high national average, which makes the job market an even more stressful prospect for vets.
A recurring concern for some veterans is what a lack of a college education might mean for their labour market success. There are, however, plenty of career options that pay well and don’t require a four-year degree. If you are about to leave the military or are freshly out, below are 3 well-paying careers for vets without a college education.
Residential Real Estate Agent
Selling real estate is sales of a kind, but agents are more responsible for brokering transactions among buyers and sellers of real estate than selling the home. Facilitating the sale and purchase of homes can be a tough grind with irregular hours, and selling real estate is a much more involved process today than it was thirty years ago, but all it takes is a few sales a year in a hot real estate market to make a more than decent living. You need to pass a real estate exam in order to be an agent, but it is a viable career for non-college-educated vets that can provide a solid middle-class lifestyle.
Elevator Installation and Repair
Elevator installation and repair is one of the most well-paid technical skills on the market. While you need to complete a four to five-year apprenticeship program or have four or more years of industry experience, combined with some courses, it is something a vet without a college education can do. Many elevator repair people start making six figures in their first year of fully licensed work, which puts you firmly in the top percentile of earners, especially if you are a young person leaving the military.
Sales skills are one of those professional competencies that you can certainly train and improve, but which typically is something you either have or don’t. If you are a born salesperson who has left the military, there are always opportunities for people who have a knack for selling. Whether it be cars, services, or anything else, if you are comfortable working off of a commission-based structure and accepting the risk that goes along with that, you don’t need anything beyond a high-school education and a willingness to learn and grow if you want to be a salesperson.
Navigating the labour market as a veteran is stressful on many fronts. Worries surrounding transferability of skills, fears about adjusting to civilian life, mental health issues, and a lack of higher education can make finding a job difficult. However, there are career options that allow veterans to make good money and don’t require specialized and expensive post-secondary education. Above are just three of many options, and veterans are encouraged to talk to veteran career advisors and consult support groups for further information.