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The Benefits of Working for the Military as a Civilian

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice

When we typically think of who works in the military, we think of either enlisted members or commissioned officers. However, non-military workers have a very important role in the military.

In fact, civilian workers have been filling critical roles since 1776. According to the Army, non-military workers are involved in over 500 career fields in the Army today. Civilian jobs in the service include these industry fields:

  • Management and Administration
  • Finance and Budget
  • Contracting
  • Cybersecurity and Information Technology
  • Medical and Dental
  • Education and Information Sciences
  • Logistics
  • Security and Intelligence
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

The Benefits of Working for the Military as a Civilian

Civilians who work full time for the military are typically eligible for a competitive salary and benefits. In total, the Department of Defense (DoD) employs 95,000 civilian employees worldwide in around 675 different occupations between the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other DoD agencies. The Coast Guard also provides non-military employment opportunities.

In addition to a competitive salary and benefits package, the advantages to working for the military as a non-military worker include job security, retirement benefits, access to military exchanges, paid parental leave, and up to 26 days of annual leave per year. According to the Air Force, the federal benefits associated with being a civilian employee in the military rival private-sector benefits packages, and the Air Force provides continuous learning opportunities.

Beginning a career as a civilian in the military typically begins with matching your past experience and education to military job qualifications. The Department of Defense has a Job Exploration Tool that can be used to find possible career paths.

Related link: 9 Safety Tips to Follow as You Search for a Job Online

Military Bases Also Offer Career Opportunities

Non-military career opportunities may be available on U.S. military bases and in facilities around the world, which provide a good opportunity to work abroad for the U.S. government. It is not uncommon for a military veteran to return as a non-military employee.

The advantage for civilian employees who return to military employment is that they are already familiar with military culture. Also, the advantage for the military branch that employs such people is that retired servicemembers are likely to have a unique skillset and background that is difficult to find elsewhere, as servicemembers frequently become experts in their technical fields.

Working for the Military as a Civilian Is Much Different Than Military Service

For a civilian, working for the military is much different than being an enlisted person or an officer. Typically, the training and job responsibilities are much different.

According to the Army, most civilian employees do not have to commit to a specific number of years of service as enlisted members do, unless they have accepted a monetary recruitment bonus or other financial incentive. Non-military employees often bring a skillset and background that is different than the average enlisted servicemembers or commissioned officers.

Working for the Military Is a Great Way to Show Your Support

Working for the military as a civilian can be a great way to support the military and gain new, exciting work experience. However, any non-military job positions require careful evaluation to ensure that they will be the best fit for you.

Related link: Redesigning Company Culture in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Jarrod Sadulski

Dr. Sadulski is an Associate Professor within our School of Security and Global Studies. He has over two decades in the field of criminal justice. His expertise includes training on countering human trafficking, maritime security, effective stress management in policing and narcotics trafficking trends in Latin America. Jarrod frequently conducts in-country research and consultant work in Central and South America on human trafficking and current trends in narcotics trafficking. He also has a background in business development. Jarrod can be reached through his website at for more information.

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