After a long, eventful, and illustrious military career, what next? This is a question a lot of veterans dread so much. After all, they have dedicated most of their active life to national service and transitioning to a civilian workplace can be jittery. As this phase of their life draws to a close, it’s imperative that they start embracing the new phase and adjust to its demands.

While there are many career options for veterans, skilled trades are one option that a lot of them show interest in. While tech requires extensive training and entrepreneurship requires a robust bank balance, skilled trades are easier to get a job in and its training programs are also short-term (ranging from 3-6 months).  The good news is that there are many organizations which are offering free training in skilled trades, and some also offer placement assistance. In this article, we have listed the 4 ways veterans can construct a career in skilled trades.

1) Choose a Trade that Interests You

The first step is to identify a particular trade from the legion of trades out there. If you like something chances are you’ll be good at it. Some of the popular options include machinists, welders, piping, flooring, painting, glazing, etc. You can also go to popular job boards like Indeed and Monster to see the salaries for these professions, that’ll help you decide better. There are also many diversity job boards which you can check including:

  • Vet Jobs
  • Recruit Military
  • Hispanic Today
  • Black Career Network
  • PDN Recruits etc.

2) Enroll in a Training Program


Once you have identified the skilled trade you wish to take up, the next step would be to enroll in a training program that teaches that trade. You can start with professional certification programs or enroll in local schools that charge a nominal fee. There are also many training programs specially developed for veterans, we have listed some of them below.

  • Troops to Trades: Offers scholarships for service and technical training programs. It also has tie-ups with firms who are looking to hire electricians and plumbers.
  • United Associations Veterans in Piping: It offers officers training in sprinkler fitting, HVAC-R, welding, etc. The idea is to open another career option for veterans once their service is over.
  • Painters and Allied Trades Veterans Training Program: If you are interested in industrial painting, drywall finishing, and floor installation, then this program is for you.

3) Become an Apprentice

If going to schools is not your type then you can also become an apprentice and slog it out. If you are dedicated and disciplined enough, you would garner enough knowledge to kick start your career in the skilled trade you have chosen. Some of the companies who hire veterans include:

  • Walgreens
  • Schneider Electric
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Boeing
  • UPS
  • Raytheon

4) Professional Certifications

Nearly all skilled trades have professional bodies that organize certificate classes. These courses are paid but give you good standing in front of the prospective employer. It shows that you are serious as well as qualified to carry out your tasks. These are some of the important certifications in skilled trades:

  • Introduction to Plumbing
  • Maintaining and Servicing Home Appliances
  • Understanding Drainage and Water Distribution Systems
  • Carpentry – Advanced
  • Machining Technician – Lathe
  • Certification in Plumbing Pipes and Fixtures
  • Introduction to Formwork and Joinery etc.

Transitioning from military life to that of a civilian is not easy, it requires patience and hard work. Training and up-skilling is the best way to start a new career for veterans. With so many companies now showing interest in hiring veterans and so many staffing firms collaborating with local training schools for their clients, opportunities are immense.

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