I come from a long line of military family on both my mum’s and dad’s side of the family. At present there are at least 6 of my extended family in the service and one thing we have often discussed is how to best transition a military career for a civilian one. For this post I would like to talk about one of my nephews who has spent 6 years in the Navy with 3 deployments to his name.
It goes without saying that the entire family is very proud of his accomplishments, but he really took a fantastic approach to the transition. Many service men and women use their military career as a stepping stone into an otherwise unaffordable college course. For Jason, my nephew, that didn’t sound all that appealing and he had seen many of his fellow sailors return home, go to college and just not like it.
Jason especially was concerned about the mundanity of going to college, so he spent the last 2 and half years in the Navy making preparations. First of all signed up for welding courses and got all the possible certifications going. This gave him a fantastic insight into a trade with a huge amount of work experience.
Then he underwent extended diving courses which set everything up for him to eventually be accepted into the Navy’s underwater welding program. It is a hugely important role and he gained a lot of work experience as there is never a shortage of repair work beneath the waves. There is similar underwater welding training available for civilians, but you can expect to pay over $15,000 just for the commercial diving license part of it.
When he eventually retired from the Navy he was 25 years old with full underwater welding certification and 12 months of intense work experience. This essentially meant that job offers came flooding in from all over the country.
In the last 9 months he has travelled from Maine to Texas and all along the West Coast where he has been mainly working for oil and gas companies. At present he has at least 12 months’ work queued up and he has started his own business looking to recruit some of his former fellow sailors.
This has now allowed him to be in a position where he earns in excess of $150,000 per year. Had he gone to college he would be waiting for 4 years with no income, with a hope of probably earning half that when he finished. However, his business idea is excellent and his current clients have already voiced interest in extending their orders for more former Navy divers.
His plan now is to hire at least two more retired Navy sailors with the full certifications needed. He will then be able to clear his backlog of projects in about 5 months and then spend a lot more time on the sales side of things. The main thing he is focusing on is the flexibility of being able to take on projects throughout the US, but he already has his eyes on international expansion.
There are numerous welding job prospects with very good income potential, so you should not shy away from this choice of career transition if you do not like the idea of spending a lot of time in and underwater.