Many military jobs have a direct civilian counterpart. Look at the list below to find your civilian job.
Military Occupational Specialties (MOS)
The military has more than 200 occupational specialties, most of which relate to civilian jobs. Below are a few specialties and how they relate to a civilian career.
Aviation – Workers in aviation, including air traffic controllers, air crew, and mechanics, often get their start in the armed services. Most people earn licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration as part of their training, and those are licenses that they can later use as civilians.
Combat operations – Enlisted servicemembers in combat operations have jobs that are among the most specific to the military: infantry, armored vehicle operation, artillery and missile crew, and Special Forces. Although these specialties do not relate closely to civilian occupations, they teach skills that civilian employers value. Among the skills servicemembers learn are how to lead others, how to operate complex equipment, and how to perform under pressure.
Computers – Servicemembers in computer specialties learn to set up and troubleshoot computer networks and systems for the military. They also learn computer security: protecting computer systems from natural disasters and defending them from hackers and other threats. And some specialists earn widely accepted certifications. Computer specialists in the armed services are often prepared for civilian jobs as computer network and systems administrators, computer support technicians, and computer programmers.
Construction – To raise buildings and construct barricades and other structures, the military trains construction specialists. These servicemembers perform a range of tasks, including carpentry, plumbing, and masonry. They also train as cabinetmakers and surveying technicians. Some complete registered apprenticeships to become journeyworkers.
Food services – Fortunately for hungry service personnel, the military trains food service specialists to order, inspect, prepare, and serve healthy food. These specialists learn about many topics, including cooking methods, food storage, and, of course, cleanup. The skills are transferable to civilian jobs in restaurants, bakeries, hospitals, and other facilities that have their own food preparation services.
Healthcare – Healthcare practitioners and technicians of all types receive training in the military. Some do laboratory tests or provide dental care, for example, and others assist physical therapists or work as x-ray or other types of technicians. Still others perform tasks similar to those of paramedics and give medical care in emergencies and in the absence of doctors. Many healthcare workers learn more than one occupation. All are either partially or fully trained for civilian healthcare jobs.
Law enforcement- Many servicemembers train in police, security, and investigative jobs. Like civilian police, they learn tasks such as collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and performing riot control. Servicemembers in this specialty are prepared for civilian jobs as detectives, police officers, security guards, and intelligence analysts.
Maintenance – In the armed services, people learn to fix all types of equipment. Automotive and heavy equipment repairers, for example, learn to fix cars and trucks, and they might also maintain cranes and bulldozers.
Plant Operation – The military trains machinists, who create metal parts, welders, tool and die makers, and other manufacturing workers. And because the armed services need power for their bases and ships, they also train power plant electricians and power plant operators—who might later work in civilian power plants or as boiler operators.
Media and the arts – Training in media and the arts available to servicemembers includes graphic arts, broadcasting, and photography. The military’s audio and broadcast technicians, for example, help to produce movies, television shows, and radio programs. The skills gained in these military jobs relate to civilian opportunities as commercial artists, musicians, and photojournalists,among others.