What's the plan for your military-to-civilian future?How prepared are you for your military-to-civilian future? It goes without saying that those who serve in our military have a full plate. No matter how long you have been – or plan to stay – in the military, you've probably wondered:

What’s next?

For the sake of your military-to-civilian future, think about it for a minute. After all, military careers don’t always translate into the civilian workforce. At least, not easily. And even if you want to remain in the military, it’s not always your choice.

With unemployment rates for veterans ranging from 5.8% to 7% and, in some cases, the search for full-time employment taking up to a year, it’s a good idea to consider all of your options – especially earning your college degree.

For your military-to-civilian future, it just makes sense to go to school and earn a degree. Right now. Why? Because getting a degree sooner rather than later offers certain benefits to your military-to-civilian future.

First, consider the difference in salary.

Of the top paying jobs in the U.S., all require a minimum of a 4-year degree and many require an advanced degree. A study that included Millennials ages 25 to 32 shows a $17,500 wage gap between the college graduate and someone with only a high school diploma. That gap continues to widen as careers advance.

Second, consider some of the benefits that come with a salaried position.

There is a great deal of flexibility with your time if you do not have to punch a time clock. And your Personal Time Off (PTO) builds faster in a salaried position. In addition, for careers that require a degree, most organizations offer some type of continuing education or training.

Third, consider how it can help you plan your career path.

You will meet people who will be willing to mentor you and challenge you to become better. You will discover that there are a wide variety of free seminars, webinars and lunch-and-learns that could help with your career development. Your possibilities are limited only to the effort you put forth in your career. Take advantage of resources offered by your school, from networking events to alumni connections.

One last thought ... where do you want to be in 2-to-4 years?

A degree could change your life. And degree programs typically take a minimum of 2 years or as much as 4 years to complete. The sooner you start, the faster you can arrive at a solid transition plan for your military-to-civilian future.

If you are concerned about maintaining your current responsibilities while finding time to attend class, consider a degree program from an accredited online school like Grantham University. Studying online offers maximum flexibility with a variety of online degree and certificate programs. 

It's time to think proactively about your future. Position yourself with education and a strong network, and research companies that are veteran friendly and actively employing veterans. Start today!