Education and Workforce

Is the military a top training ground for STEM professionals?

June 4, 2022

Yes, but we need better military to civilian career transition pathways.

With approximately 200,000 servicemembers transitioning to civilian life every year, the United States builds one of the largest components of its STEM workforce in the military. In fact, STEM training is one of the key benefits offered by military recruiters.

Overall, veterans are more likely to work in STEM fields than those who haven’t served. And a greater number pursue STEM education at the undergraduate level (20.6 percent) than their non-veteran counterparts (14.3 percent). Veterans without bachelor’s degrees are also more likely to work in STEM occupations that their civilian counterparts.

But, despite the level of STEM training and interest among veterans, many struggle to make the transition to a civilian STEM career. Large percentages of veterans (between 40 and 75 percent) report struggling to make the transition to civilian life. Existing programs focus on the civilian job market, but less on the holistic transition need to be successful.

Key Takeaways

  1. 1.

    With approximately 200,000 folks transitioning to civilian life each year, the United States military provides one of the most robust pipelines of STEM professionals.

  2. 2.

    Veterans—regardless of their level of education—are more likely to pursue STEM education and work in STEM fields.

  3. 3.

    Existing programs to transition servicemembers into civilian employment don’t provide a holistic approach.