Why Service Members Can Make Great Skilled Trades Professionals

electrician working on electrical box setup

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Moving on from the military and returning to society can be tough for anybody, no matter their background.

If you’re a Veteran wondering what to do with your life after service, you have options. Technical training in the skilled trades might be exactly what you’re looking for. Let’s chat about it.

The harsh reality of veteran unemployment.

After putting their lives on the line for the country, service members often face difficulties when returning home, especially when it comes to finding work.

In San Diego, which has a large military population, returning service members have a 16% higher chance of being unemployed than their non-serving counterparts.

A lot of this difficulty comes from veterans not having access to networking opportunities or a varied set of skills many employers require.

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Why the skilled trades are excellent for veterans.

In the skilled trades, military experience is a big advantage to finding a viable career path. In fact, many Veterans find that the skills they learned in service apply to the trades.

Here are some critical skills you develop in the armed forces that make veterans great skilled trades professionals:


Experienced members of the armed forces develop an ability to lead by example, which translates well into the skilled trades where many professionals work as part of a team.

This leadership quality encourages team members to reach a certain standard and ensures the job gets done right the first time around.


If you’re a Veteran curious about breaking into welding, HVAC/R, or electrical, good news: the skills you learned in the armed forces will give you a head start in your training program!

Technical skills aren’t the only factors at play: your ability to learn quickly and think on your feet will come in handy. Service members are highly teachable because of their experience in acquiring new skills and understanding new concepts in the armed forces.


After completing a vocational program in a skilled trade, you could even start your own company. In the armed forces, military members learn the importance of self-reliance and develop a self-starting mentality that will serve them well when making their way in the trade industry.


Whether you’re working as part of a trades team, operating alongside other contractors, or running your own trades business, effective communication is key to succeeding as a skilled tradesperson.

Veterans have plenty of practice collaborating with individuals of varying backgrounds and personalities in a respectful and mutually beneficial way.


When you’re planning a mission in the military, you develop contingency plans to account for all potential obstacles and setbacks. With so many unknowns and uncertainties, service members need to remain vigilant and flexible to ensure the objective is completed.

This adaptability translates well into skilled trades since plenty can go wrong when you’re on a job. Trades workers need to have the level-headedness to adjust plans when things go wrong.


Technology is continuing to revolutionize the trades. Whether you’re interested in becoming a welder, electrician, or HVAC technician, having experience working with advanced tech is a major plus when entering the field.  

As a service member, you’ve already developed a number of technical skills that will benefit you in the trades. In fact, veterans are up to six times more likely to list critical technical skills on their resumes than non-service members.


As a veteran, you have no problem working as part of a team to reach a common goal. You know when it’s appropriate to take the lead and when it’s more beneficial to follow.

The time you’ve spent in the armed forces has given you the skills you need to operate as a team member, which will translate well into the skilled trades when working as part of a group.

Interested in learning more about transitioning from the armed forces to the civilian workforce as a skilled tradesperson? Read about four skilled trades careers veterans should consider.