Veterans bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and hard-won wisdom to their careers, lives, and any schools they enroll in. But many struggles with the transition back to civilian life, and they may find that employers don’t understand the value of their military service.
The right degrees for military veterans focus on sharpening the skills you already have so you can gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive economy. This makes you a more marketable job candidate. The right degree may also offer a faster, easier path to completion because it draws on the knowledge you spent your time nurturing in the military. These degrees are perfect options for military veterans.
The strict hierarchy, clear roles, and demanding realities of military life work together to nurture strong leaders, so you might be surprised to see that experience disregarded in the working world if you don’t have formal leadership training. The right leadership degree puts your leadership bona fides on full display, making you an attractive candidate for various companies, an appealing consultant, or even an enticing option for military contracting companies.
SNU’s Master of Leadership degree bridges the gap between your knowledge and your credentials, with expertise from innovative leaders who ensure your degree matches and complements the skills you already have. No wonder it’s the most popular SNU degree among veterans.
A master of leadership prepares you for a wide range of roles: leading a company, serving as a school administrator, running for political office, military contracting, or even eventually returning to the military. You’ll also earn the Zig Ziglar Legacy Certificate as part of the program.
If a master of leadership appeals to you, but you haven’t completed your undergraduate degree yet, consider instead a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. The organizational leadership program focuses on strong communication and management, research and data analysis, and evidence-based leadership techniques so you can thrive in whatever career you choose.
Careers in business are among the most lucrative and diverse. Business administration training can prepare you to lead a company, start your own business, sell products more effectively, manage people across industries, work as an accountant, and more.
The military in many ways runs like a very efficient business, which means you probably already bring some business acumen to your education. Now it’s time to put that knowledge to work in service of your own career. Start your career with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, or if you already have a degree, advance further with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Military life involves a lot of law enforcement activity, and some social work, too — whether you’re freeing political prisoners abroad or working to protect democracy here at home. You’ve probably seen how dire circumstances and terrible political environments can destroy people’s lives and cause them to commit atrocities. Maybe you’ve also thought about what you can do to disrupt the cycle of poverty, crime, abuse, and incarceration here at home.
A degree in criminal justice offers a broad survey of the criminal justice system, the sociological and political factors that play a role in the crime, and the interventions that can improve individual lives and entire societies. It’s a great degree for people who want to go into law enforcement, social work, or community service. It can also be a great precursor to law school, graduate work in sociology, or a career as an expert witness.
The military is increasingly reliant on technology, which is a great thing for service members. It means they leave the service well prepared to enter the real world. Tech jobs are among the most lucrative and fastest-growing, with 2020 median annual wages around $91,000. At many businesses, though, experience isn’t enough in this highly competitive industry. You need the right training.
A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is a natural fit for veterans. You’ve already learned the art and science of protecting the nation from attackers. Now turn that expertise to preventing cybercrime, which is a key pillar of national security.
Instructional Design and Technology
If you’re interested in how technology can improve people’s lives but unprepared to commit to a life of coding and tech geekery, consider a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology. This innovative degree draws on the project management skills you mastered in the service, then uses them to improve educational and instructional outcomes in the military, government, and education. Instructional designers fill a wide variety of roles, but their ultimate goal is ensuring technology better serves people.
Counseling and Mental Health
Thirty percent of active duty and reserve service members who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a diagnosed mental health condition. The actual rate may be even higher, because some servicemembers may avoid care due to mental health stigma and treatment barriers. Give back to your fellow veterans, or to the wider community, with mental health training.
A Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology prepares you to treat depression, PTSD, and myriad other issues in a wide range of settings — from college campuses to within the military itself. Your unique experiences are uniquely valuable, especially when you treat soldiers or work with veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
Choosing the Right Degree for Military Veterans
Serving in the military should never limit your options for the future. Instead, it expands your horizons and offers you a different perspective on daily life, political turmoil, and world events. Yet many veterans struggle when they leave the army, so it’s important to choose a degree program that caters to your needs and history.
Before you enroll in any program, it’s important to identify your goals, map out your daily schedule and assess how well the program will fit into your life. Some questions to ask yourself as you compare options include:
- Does this school actively recruit and support veterans? Do they have a veterans center?
- What accommodations can this school offer to veterans?
- What is the graduation rate for the program I am considering?
- Do employers and other institutions respect a degree from this school?
- Is this school accredited? If so, by whom?
- Does the school offer flexible scheduling options that work for me, such as evening classes?
- How many classes will it take to complete this degree? What is the typical time to graduate?
- What is the application process? How soon can I enroll in school?
- Is online learning a possibility?
- Who teaches classes, and are they experts in their field?
- What do other veterans have to say about their experience at this institution?
- What is the average salary for the program I have chosen? Can I support myself on that salary?
- Have I spoken with anyone who works in the field I am considering?
- Can I get credit for prior learning, including my military experience?
- What support do I have to make it easier to return to school? Do I have childcare, a flexible schedule at work, or tuition assistance?
- What financial aid options does the school offer? Are they willing to talk with me about how I can fund my education?
SNU consistently tops lists of military-friendly schools. Our innovative VETS Center is fully staffed with former service members and their families, and it serves more than 300 student veterans each year. We’re here to help you, from enrollment through graduation and beyond. To learn more about getting started, check out our free guide Using Your VA Benefits for Education.