By Stephanie Lee, enrollment manager, CareerStep
Military life and Civilian life. Sometimes it feels like there’s a massive disconnect between the two. For military families, this sense of division adds to a long list of unique challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.
And these challenges, all ranging from relatively minor to severe, couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability.
In fact, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs.
And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.
But let’s pause for a moment. Let’s talk about the incredible advantages military families have, and outline four reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life.
1: Meaningful Work
Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to even saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable. And today, with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc on daily life, caregivers are quite literally on the frontlines of battle.
2: Transferable Skills
There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that Airmen, Coasties, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and their spouses already possess.
3: In-Demand Careers
People need healthcare. Full stop. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate. Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand.
4: Portable Jobs
For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in high-growth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world.
Training for a Career in Healthcare
So. Where do we go from here? We’ve discussed the disparity between military and civilian life, reviewed the state of the healthcare industry, and provided a few high-level stats to illustrate the need for well-trained professionals. Now it’s time to talk about what you can do to pave your own road to success.
It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. So you’ll want to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help you develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for.
The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entry-level learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.
Finding the right fit for you will take a little time, and as you explore the possibilities, you’ll find the rabbit hole gets pretty deep. But doing your homework is incredibly important as it can improve your experience—and maybe even lead to faster employment.
About the Author: Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, the Allied Health training division of Carrus.