Military Careers with Big Paychecks

  • Career Change: Join the Military

    This year, for the first time since the draft ended in 1973, the military recruitment offices met their volunteer quota. Sure, we’re fighting two wars overseas, but given that both are pretty unpopular, there must be another reason. The Pentagon announced this week that the bad economy and high unemployment have caused more qualified young people to enlist. Army incentives undoubtedly played a big role, too. As of this year, enlistees can get extra money to buy a home or help pay for school, with bonuses of as much as $40,000. Now, I don’t want to sound like one of those cheesy army commercials you see late at night, but the truth is that putting military experience on your resume can help you secure a number of well-paying careers. Here is our list of 10 military careers that will help you be all you can be, and earn you a nice living, too. And if you have served or are currently serving, you should also browse through army job hunting sites like and Photo Credit: U.S. Army
  • Accountant

    Perhaps the only field that faces tougher combat than the military right now is the financial world. So if you are looking to get ahead in finance, why not join the military and get the same skills by working as a Financial Specialist? According to, Finance Specialists spend 9 weeks in Basic Training learning “soldiering skills” and nine weeks in Advanced Individual Training, where you’ll learn accounting principles, statistical analysis and how to put together a financial report and budget. You’ll be able to calculate and kick ass at the same time. Salary: $40,000-$60,000 Photo Credit:
  • Chef

    If you’ve ever watched Gordon Ramsay torture his kitchen staff on the show Hell’s Kitchen, then you know a military - or militant - attitude and cooking can go hand in hand. Work in the food services division of the army and you’ll get all the job training you need to be a successful cook and boss around your own staff one day. Salary: Varies widely by city, but an executive chef can make more than $50,000 their first year out. Photo Credit:
  • Doctor

    Anyone looking for a career in medicine or public health should consider serving as a medic in the armed forces. Not only will it provide great on the job training, but the military will also give you as much as $120,000 to help you pay off medical school. Salary: Varies widely by specialty, but doctors generally make at least $100,000. Photo Credit:
  • Pilot

    Flying an airplane is every kid’s dream, and while it’s difficult, the military can make the process of becoming a pilot easier. You get to train on the most high-tech equipment available, and best of all, the military will pay you while you’re training. Many military pilots opt to stay in the army for life, but others can switch to civilian careers as airline pilots. All that’s required is a certain amount of flight time, depending on the airline. If you fall short of the necessary time after leaving the military, you can work your way up to it as a flight instructor instead. Salary: Commercial pilots can make $70,000 in their first year and more than $100,000 with 10 years experience. Private and test pilots for companies like Boeing can make much more. Photo Credit:
  • Lawyer

    Each year, up to 15 army officers get the chance to pursue a law degree on the government’s tab.  Once they complete law school, these officers gain additional experience working for the Judge Advocate General, where you’ll get hands on experience with international and criminal law. Salary: Starting salaries are $50,000-$60,000, with the potential to make $150,000 or more within ten years. Photo Credit: dbaron
    Music Director
  • Music Director

    It may seem unrelated to the armed forces, but someone has to lead the band around during parades. If you can’t reconcile your conflicting passions for guns and music, help organize musical events and lead performances for the army. The skills you learn in the field are the same as those you’ll need leading high school and college music programs, except you also have the opportunity to shoot automatic weapons.  Salary: $40,000-$50,000 Photo Credit:
    Civil Engineer
  • Civil Engineer

    According to, civil engineers in the army help “plan, design and direct the construction of military facilities.” After your service is over, civil engineers often find jobs working for government agencies, construction companies and engineering firms. Salary: Starting salaries are $60,000 and can reach more than $100,000 Photo Credit: The U.S. Army
  • Construction

    Construction personnel in the military work on difficult projects, building and fixing airfields, bunkers and airfields. helps military veterans switch from these careers in combat to construction. Salary range: $40,000 – $75,000 with more than one-year experience, and construction managers make more than $100,000. Photo Credit: The U.S. Army
    Intelligence Analyst
  • Intelligence Analyst

    Save the world by analyzing and fixing operational difficulties at defense contractors. If you’ve worked in the military, you are already over the hardest hurdle for this position: security clearance. Salary: Average pay is $68,900 but the sky’s the limit it you’ve got the right credentials (nuclear arms control isn’t bad). Photo Credit:
  • CIA

    Military experience gives you a leg up on other applicants to the Central Intelligence Agency. Check out the various job opportunities here. Salary: That’s classified. Just kidding. Salaries range from $30,000-$80,000 depending on what position you can snag. But honestly, who cares what it pays? You’d be working for the CIA! Photo Credit: publik15
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