There are many benefits that accompany military service. These benefits include a wide variety of on-the-job experience that can translate well into the private sector or other areas of the public sector. This experience combined with a degree from a college or university can help build a strong resume. The options are many, whether one is looking to go into law enforcement, intelligence, private security, or various management fields or technical fields; all of these can be strong choices for those with a military background. This article explores ten areas of study that combine well with military experience to provide military personnel the best education they need to be successful in their chosen careers beyond the military. Note: All links on this page are sponsored for lead generation purposes. The military has not endorsed these degrees or their representation on this site.
B.S. Computer Engineering
This is one of the fastest growing fields in the nation and has applications across a variety of industries. Computer engineers learn both electrical engineering and software design making them the perfect architects of networks, network security solutions, and computer programs. Computer engineers are also masters of hardware/software integration as they understand how the software and hardware interact on a deeper level. Military experience will be a strong asset to bring to this field and opens up opportunities working for defense contractors, the DoD, DHS, FBI and various other three letter agencies, as well as countless opportunities in the private sector.
B.S. Management, Bachelor of Business Management, B.A. Management
Two fields that are a natural fit for those with military training are Operations and Logistics Management, and Security Management. Military experience is easily applied to both fields. A management degree can be very helpful in securing these jobs as it demonstrates to employers that you have the necessary skills to manage people in a civilian setting. Both fields offer a wide array of positions and the details vary from job to job so a broad degree in management combined with specific military experience is a significant advantage.
B.S. Computer Science
Another strong technological degree, this is lighter on the engineering side of the coin and might be a stronger choice for those with a bit less aptitude for mathematics. The field of computer science combined with military experience offers a lot of opportunities with the same agencies and companies as computer engineering but the emphasis will be less on the design and integration of networks and systems. These agencies have, not only their own agents overseeing network security, but also their own hackers and a computer science degree plus military experiences positions you very well should that interest you.
Bachelor of Business Administration
This area of study is another option for those looking to get into operations and logistics management, as well as any other area of business. Business know-how coupled with a military mindset of effectiveness and efficiency is an attractive combination for many companies. Operations and logistics management is a huge field as every major business and corporation has need of people capable of overseeing their operations. General business degrees also give you access to a variety of other opportunities that, while they may not combine as perfectly with military experience, will still be strong options and while military experience might not apply directly, it is rarely, if ever, considered a detriment by corporations.
This area of study combines well with military experience to provide opportunities in both local and federal law enforcement as well as intelligence analysis. Many law enforcement agencies are looking for people experienced in a variety of languages to serve at home and abroad as translators, field agents, and other positions. Meanwhile the CIA and NSA both have constant need of skilled linguists that also understand military practice and protocol to function as analysts in a wide variety of capacities. Defense contractors also employ analysts in similar capacities. There are also non-intelligence applications for such degrees which include opportunities in politics and diplomacy. Multi-lingual people are rare in the United States and with the economy becoming more global by the day, they are at a premium with international corporations.
B.S. Accounting, B.S. Accounting and Finance, B.S. Finance, Dual Accounting and Finance Degrees
A good choice for those looking to enter law enforcement. People with the skills provided by military training combined with a knowledge of finance and accounting find opportunities with the SEC, IRS, or the white collar crime division of the FBI. The ability to follow the money trail also has applications in counter-terrorism. With many people considering law enforcement pursuing common degrees for the field, such as criminal justice, alternative areas of study are always appealing to law enforcement agencies looking for people with a variety of skill sets.
Bachelor of Mathematics, B.A. Mathematics, B.S. Mathematics
For those with a considerable aptitude for mathematics this choice offers many opportunities within the federal government, many with the DoD. While much work in the field of mathematics requires advanced degrees, those with a bachelor in mathematics and military experience often find entry level positions in federal government as they work toward more advanced degrees in the field. Looking at the field of mathematics one might easily assume that there is not much opportunity for mathematicians in this economy, the pure number of available jobs is much lower than that of many other fields. This does not, however, mean that mathematicians have less opportunity as mathematicians are also rare. This field’s short term rewards may be less than that of others but the long term rewards for those with a career in mathematics tend to be very good.
B.A. History, B.A. American History
This is another subject with applications in the field of intelligence analysis, particularly for those with a military background. One of the most attractive things about the study of history, however, is that it has extremely wide applications including research and the field of education so somebody with this degree will not be limited to relying on their military experience. An understanding of historical events, reactions, blowback etc. is a great asset for any analyst and the agency that employs him or her. This area of study also offers a wide variety of other career options should one decide than intelligence analysis is not for him or her.
B.S. Information Technology
For those not interested in designing, building or writing software for computer networks etc. but more interested in monitoring and maintaining those networks this is a very strong choice. Information Technology combines with military experience in a variety of interesting and beneficial ways. The most obvious application is in the network security field but there are a wide variety of applications including the management and administration of networks. This field is constantly growing and a degree in information technology in what has been dubbed the “dawn of the information age” can only be a good choice.
B.A. International Relations, B.S. International Relations
Intelligence analysts with military experience and an understanding of this area of study are highly sought due to the importance of both perspectives. This sort of degree also has applications outside of intelligence analysis in the diplomatic sectors as well as various levels of work in politics proper. Every politician and government official dealing with foreign affairs needs advisers and aides that offer both of these perspectives and having both perspectives in a single individual is attractive to them.
In conclusion, there are a variety of opportunities for those with military service experience. One important thing to keep in mind is that many of these areas of study can be either a major or a minor and so it is possible to further specialize through the combination of complementary areas of study. One truth is that while there are opportunities for those with military experience and no bachelor degree, earning potential and overall opportunities are significantly increased when that experience is combined a bachelor degree or an advanced degree. This truth combined with the excellent aid benefits offered by the military (including the GI Bill) makes it the logical choice to pursue a degree in an area of interest and maximize the benefits of your military service.