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Engineering and the U.S. military go hand in hand. Service members are taught leadership, teamwork and communication skills, all of which are essential in the field of engineering. Most importantly, their problem-solving abilities are carefully honed. With so many transferable skills, it’s no wonder service members often excel in their professional roles after leaving the armed forces. 

Engineering is especially appealing to veterans who may be struggling to find work. Only one in four veterans have a job lined up after leaving the military. Military engineers, including combat, strategic support and ancillary support engineers, will have an easier time transitioning. But what about veterans with little to no engineering experience? Fortunately, engineering is a diverse field with countless opportunities for veterans of all skill levels.  

Here are seven engineering jobs for veterans who are looking to put their talents to good use.  

1. Drafter 
Median Salary: $60,290 

Drafters convert rough sketches into detailed technical drawings, including precise specifications and views of a project from all angles. Their work entails drawing anything from a piece of machinery to the building that’ll house it. Traditionally trained to draw by hand, drafters now use computer-aided design (CAD) software to render three-dimensional designs.  

Compared to other entries on this list, drafting doesn’t offer as high a salary or as bright a career outlook. It does, however, have the lowest barrier of entry, and professionals only need an associate of applied science in drafting or a related field to get started.  

2. Petroleum Engineer 
Median Salary: $130,850 

Petroleum engineers tackle a problem unlike any other: how to extract fossil fuels formed over millions of years from deep beneath the earth’s surface. Oil is often depicted as an underground lake but is actually contained within porous rock, which makes recovery a challenge. Many petroleum engineers pursue a graduate certificate to better optimize the processes for extracting oil from these untapped reservoirs. 

3. Aerospace Engineer 
Median Salary: $122,270 

Aerospace engineers design and prototype all manner of aerospace products, including airplanes, helicopters, spacecraft, satellites, drones and missiles. NASA relies on their expertise to ensure that its machinery operates as intended in the cold vacuum of space. At Boeing, aerospace engineers can be found at every step of the production process, ensuring aircraft can safely deliver passengers to their destinations. An aerospace engineer, like other entries on this list, must be a jack of all trades with a deep understanding of aerodynamics, thermodynamics and acoustics, among other areas.  

4. Biomedical Engineer 
Median Salary: $97,410 

Biomedical engineers are at home in the world of medicine, where they design, install and maintain lifesaving medical equipment. These engineering experts can craft devices that mimic flesh and bone, such as artificial hips and knees. An artificial heart even helped a man live 555 days while waiting for a heart transplant. Extensive training in both biology and engineering is needed, but for veterans with the right skill set, this career is worth it.  

5. Electrical Engineer 
Median Salary: $101,780 

Considering how many everyday items and essential pieces of machinery run on electricity, you can imagine how many industries employ electrical engineers. One of the largest employers of electrical engineers is the U.S. government, which relies on their expertise for the creation of electronics used in everything from transportation to manufacturing. Satellites wouldn’t be orbiting the globe were it not for these engineering experts.  

6. Industrial Engineer 
Median Salary: $95,300 

Industrial engineers use their extensive knowledge to improve production processes. They’re employed most often in manufacturing industries, where they improve workflow, develop control systems and coordinate services with stakeholders and team members. There are even manufacturing engineers who work exclusively in manufacturing automation. However, their penchant for reducing waste makes them invaluable as project managers: a role that sees them cut costs, inspect products and run operations as smoothly as possible.  

7. Mechanical Engineers 
Median Salary: $95,300 

A mechanical engineer is a jack of all trades who understands a wide range of topics such as heat transfer, materials science and manufacturing systems. If something runs on or creates power, chances are a mechanical engineer had a hand in making it. Their diverse skill sets make them invaluable in leadership roles in the architectural, automotive and manufacturing industries, among many others.  

Becoming a leader in the field of mechanical engineering means developing mechanical, problem-solving and project management skills. Veterans who pursue a mechanical engineering career will find a field that values their unique skills, but they’ll need a graduate degree to truly come into their own as engineering leaders. Interested veterans can pursue a 100% online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.  

Rise Through the Ranks at UT Austin 

At No. 16, The University of Texas at Austin is among the top-ranked schools for veterans, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2022. Colleges were ranked in part for making higher education affordable for veterans and active-duty service members. Service members, veterans and their families have access to numerous education benefits at UT Austin, including: 

  • The G.I. Bill  
  • Tuition assistance 

Earn a Mechanical Engineering Degree  

UT Austin offers two 100% online mechanical engineering programs for veterans, service members and other professionals interested in an engineering career: 

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering: Ranked among the top mechanical engineering programs in the country, this 30-credit-hour, non-thesis program caters to the needs of modern professionals. Graduate in as little as two years and explore new opportunities in the engineering field.  

Mechanical Engineering Controls Graduate Certificate: This 9-credit-hour program provides specialized knowledge in the control and optimization of processes and systems. Designed for working mechanical and petroleum engineers, this affordable certificate can be earned in as little as one year.  

At UT Austin, you’ll find the support and training you need to develop into a leader and innovator in the field of mechanical engineering. Here, you’ll explore essential engineering topics, further develop your technical and interpersonal skills, and graduate ready to take on new and exciting roles. Apply to one of our 100% online mechanical engineering programs and make UT Austin your academic home.  


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