APRIL 14, 2015 – A few articles have already discussed degrees to pursue before ETS. Among them have been discussions of medical careers and engineering degrees. Today’s article takes a slightly different track. These will be a few degrees that are a little more nebulous in terms of the MOSs that are well suited for this approach, but as a result they can be a bit more broad in their applicability to everyday soldiers. These would be degrees in the humanities.
If you are a soldier who doesn’t have a specific career path in mind that perfectly suits what you are already doing, there are a number of opportunities for you to engage in an education that will still fit you well. Take a look at the following list of five humanities degrees to pursue before ETS and see if any of them suit you.
Many members of the military have a keen interest in history. Whether it’s specifically the exploits of the Airborne during the D-Day invasion of WWII, or the creation of civilization along the fertile rivers of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, it’s a popular topic in barracks, tents, and armories throughout the army.
A few lucky individuals even have careers in history within the military itself. Members of the 44th MHD at Fort Bragg put on the uniform every day, working on collecting, organizing, and preserving the history of the United States Army and all of the armies and organizations it has interacted with. Other units also exist within the Reserves and the National Guard.
If you are a 46Q – Public Affairs Specialist, or even just the sort of person who enjoys arguing about the comparative differences between Napoleon and Guderian in Russia, consider obtaining a history degree from Norwich University.
Some enlisted soldiers working within JAG actually have a surprising route available to them. Paralegal specialists include among their duties organizing, maintaining, and researching the legal libraries utilized by judge advocates and attorneys.
Librarians these days are far more than just shelvers of books that shush patrons. Law librarians engage in providing research in case law to attorneys, lobbyists, and legislators throughout the U.S. Medical librarians collect information on illnesses and treatments culled from medical journals and texts in order to ensure payments receive the best care hospitals can give. And, of course, even the Army itself has a large number of libraries being maintained by civilian contractors with library degrees.
For soldiers with MOS 27D – Paralegal Specialist, or for that matter any soldier who loves research and a good book, file away a library science degree from Rutgers University.
If there is one thing that is vital to a soldier, it’s the ability to communicate clearly under conditions of stress. Knowing the exact communication chain to follow and the precise way to send any message can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Given that communication is that critical a skill for soldiers, every MOS has to become proficient with it. This can pay enormous dividends upon entry into the civilian world. Being able to streamline the flow of information in an organization and communicate instructions, expectations, goals, and plans works at every level of any business or industry you care to think of.
If you happen to be a skilled communicator that can quickly provide information up and down your chain of command in an effective and efficient way, consider a communication management degree from the University of Southern California.
It seems to be a bit of a tradition. A significant number of veterans go into politics after they ETS. 18% of the 114th Congress served in the military (as compared to 13% of all American adults being veterans). Countless more serve in elected positions at lower levels of national, state, and local governance. Added to them are the countless number of vets serving as staffers ranging from campaign managers to volunteers.
It makes sense. Soldiers understand the consequences of the foreign policy decisions of our elected leaders. They receive pay increases, benefits, and housing through the budgets passed by Congress. And they understand civic duty and sacrifice in service to the nation. Political careers make sense for veterans.
If you are a soldier considering a move into politics after you set aside the uniform, elect to take a course in political management from George Washington University.
While some people might have forgotten, music and the military have gone hand in hand pretty much as long as both have existed. Whether it’s a military cadence, a full orchestral medley of the anthems, or a cool jazz set, the Army has 30 active duty bands, and several more in the Reserves. That is addition to all of the hobbyists who make music purely for the love of it in between their regular duties.
Music can be a career for military vets. Regardless of whether you performed professionally or on your own while in, there are several possible paths to earning your keep through music afterwards. Becoming a professional music teacher is one of those routes, whether engaging in one-on-one training or taking a position as a music teacher at any level from kindergarten through to post-grad.
If you’re the sort who doesn’t mind singing for your supper. Take a note of the Music Education program from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Regardless of what your specific MOS is in the military, or what career field you may be serving within, education is always possible for you. Regardless of whether you intend to go the full 20 or get out after only eight, a degree will prepare you for future success after you ETS. Sit down, examine the options that are available to all soldiers, and use those GI Bill benefits to get that degree.
James Hinton is a former army aviation soldier who earned his combat patch in Afghanistan. Since his ETS he has spent his time advising other former soldiers on the transition to civilian life and boring his daughters with stories about army cooking.