Top 6 Healthcare Careers for Veterans

By: U.S. News University Connection

Top 6 Healthcare Careers for Veterans

Veterans trying to figure out life after military service will find the healthcare industry offers many opportunities. Veterans, in fact, are often especially well-poised for entering this career arena.

Why Healthcare?

There are several compelling reasons why healthcare occupations are especially attractive for veterans with access to G.I. Bill funding. A primary reason is that this career field is considered one of the fastest-growing in the country today. The demand is sweetened by the reality that healthcare professionals often earn rather high wages.

For college students with a desire to enter the medical field, military service may pave the way to fund education without debt. Most branches of the military offer students currently enrolled in nursing or medical school, for example, access to scholarships or grants that offset tuition in exchange for serving upon graduation. This can ease eventual transition back into civilian life for veterans. For those who make the choice to enter medical professions after serving, the G.I. Bill can offset the costs of additional schooling to complete the transition.

Top Healthcare Jobs

As demand in the healthcare industry continues to grow, there are a few particular areas that might be of interest to veterans looking to transition back into civilian life. They are:

Chiropractic care. This specialty position has practitioners improving health of patients by providing treatment to the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractors must have a state license and typically a doctoral degree. With a 15% job growth rate anticipated through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 edition, this field tops the average 11% growth rate for all fields combined. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated a median pay of $66,160 a year in a 2012 national survey. Transitioning into chiropractic care after military service typically requires returning to school to earn the appropriate undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Athletic trainers and exercise physiologists. Requiring only a bachelor’s degree at the entry level, these career fields have workers preventing, diagnosing and treating bone and muscle injuries and illnesses and developing fitness plans to help patients with recovery, respectively. With an estimated 19% job growth rate through 2022, these fields outpace the average. The median pay in 2012 was $42,690. In many cases, veterans can apply their G.I. Bill benefits toward earning the necessary credentials at a college or university.

Physical therapists. Requiring a doctoral degree in most cases, therapists help people recover from injury by assisting them with rehabilitation of movement. The field is growing by leaps and bounds at an estimated rate of 36%, according to BLS. The median pay in a 2012 national survey was $79,860. Veterans can return to school under the G.I. Bill to complete the necessary requirements for this field.

Registered Nurses. Requiring only an associate’s degree and state licensing, this field has workers providing direct patient care at the directive of doctors. The job growth rate of this profession is anticipated at 19% through 2022. The median pay in 2012 was $65,470.

Physician assistants. Working under close supervision of a physician, assistants examine patients, diagnose conditions and provide treatment. Growth in this field is anticipated at 38% through 2022. The median pay in 2012 was $90,930. PAs are required to hold master’s degrees for entry level positions and must also earn state licensing.

EMTs and paramedics. Generally only requiring certification level or specialized training programs, professionals in this field provide emergency medical care while transporting patients to hospitals and critical care centers. The anticipated growth rate in this field is 23% through 2022. The median pay in 2012 came in at $31,020.
Since entry-level pay scales and job availability can vary by region, veterans interested in these fields are encouraged to perform independent research.