While many who leave active-duty service enter government jobs or seek employment in defense contracting, health care or law enforcement, more unique post-military career paths also are available.
We’ve found six surprising credential programs to pique your interest and get you thinking out of the box for your next move.
Ever thought about beekeeping? Heroes to Hives provides veterans free professional training and community development centered around beekeeping. The program is offered through Michigan State University Extension and its partners. Options include a self-paced online course or on-ground training in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska. The on-ground training program typically runs from April to October and covers hive-handling, colony inspections, pest and pathogen management and beekeeping ergonomics.
Check out www.canr.msu.edu/veterans/Veterans-Programming/Heroes-to-Hives to see what the buzz is all about.
#2 Brewing and distilling
Microbrewing and distilling are rapidly growing industries with veterans already jumping into the fold. Maybe you’ve heard of veteran-owned craft breweries like Service Brewing Co. and Bold Mariner. In the distilling world, Hotel Tango and American Freedom Distillery were both started by former service members.
Military veterans can break into this business by using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the Brewing and Distilling Center. BDC offers a Professional Brewing/Distilling Technology certificate program. The program is 154 hours of classroom technical education and hands-on skill training in brewing, distilling, flavor, beer style and more. With the knowledge and professional certificate, you’ll be prepared to work for an existing brewery or craft distillery or have the skills to start your own.
Check out www.brewinganddistillingcenter.com to see if this is the right move for you.
Warriors to Farmers is a unique training program designed only for veterans that Hope Farms, based in Houston, Texas, offers. The three-month, 480-hour course aims to “grow urban farmers.”
Veterans can earn a full scholarship and stipend to train, gain additional experience with an apprenticeship and qualify for ongoing mentoring and business incubation for their new farm. The program accepts new cohorts each quarter with start dates in January, April, July and October.
For information and application details, check out: https://hopefarmshtx.org/from-warriors-to-farmers.
Maybe seeing “Top Gun: Maverick” has inspired you to do some filmmaking of your own. New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) has locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, as well as branch campuses in Australia and Italy. NYFA teaches students the art of filmmaking and related visual and performing arts through blending traditional school instruction with practical, hands-on experience.
The academy has a dedicated veteran-student support office that works closely with veterans to advise on educational and career choices. Additionally, NYFA’s campuses participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
If you’re interested in exploring a career in entertainment, visit: https://www.nyfa.edu.
#5 Video game design
Do you love to play video games? Ever thought about designing them? Eastern Kentucky University offers an online Certificate in Game Design. The eight-week, 12-credit-hour program provides students with the technical skills and real-world knowledge needed to land a job in the competitive video game industry.
With multiple start dates throughout the year, the program provides the flexibility needed to accommodate military schedules. EKU ranks well as a veteran-friendly institution and offers reduced tuition for active-duty military members and spouses of active-duty military members. Graduates of the program are eligible for entry-level careers in positions such as game programmer, tools programmer, video game developer, game designer, game engineer and simulations programmer.
For more information, visit: https://ekuonline.eku.edu/computer-science/game-design-certificate.
Thinking about a sweet second career? Start your own bakery with the help of Dog Tag. Through the Dog Tag Fellowship Program, veterans, military spouses and caregivers spend five months in the classroom and the kitchen learning the ins and outs of running a successful bakery. Fellows earn a business certificate from either Georgetown University via Dog Tag’s program in Washington D.C. or Loyola University at its Chicago-based program.
Dog Tag Bakery was founded in 2014 by Constance Milstein and Rick Curry, both avid bakers and advocates for military families. The duo believed a bakery would serve as a fitting yet unexpected place to empower transitioning veterans to redefine their future.
For more information about the program and application deadlines, visit: www.dogtaginc.org.