Transportation Careers for Veterans

Feb 21, 2023

Veterans with transportation experience know that the industry is more than about roads and highways. It includes aircraft, water vessels, trains, heavy trucks, and the infrastructure that supports them. Below are careers in transportation that may be suitable for veterans.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Wage (2021)* Job Growth (2021-2031)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers $48,310 4% Experience and training with hazardous and flammable cargo
Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs N/A N/A Experience driving and emergency procedures
Air Traffic Controllers $129,750 1% Experience in safety training, ability to follow procedures
Logisticians $77,030 28% Experience coordinating shipping, delivery, and schedules
Water Transportation Workers $62,760 1% Experience on ships and in ports

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Civilian Jobs for Transportation Veterans

Military experience in transportation can translate into a number of civilians jobs and careers. Veterans in the field of transportation have safety and first aid training, as well as first-hand experience working within a complex transportation system. These skills may offer veterans an advantage in the transportation careers found in the civilian sector.

Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

Veterans may find that their military experience and time logged driving, allows them more options in this field. They may be able to acquire some certifications during their service, such as those for hazardous or flammable material.

Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers transport goods over long distances, often over several states or more. For entry into the field, a CDL license is required. Additional certifications are based on hours logged and testing. Veterans who have acquired these certifications or the time and experience to quickly obtain them will benefit.

Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Military drivers have training and experience in emergency maneuvers, which may sound like dark humor applied to taxi drivers but is sometimes a required skill for chauffeur drivers and those who may drive for diplomats and other high-profile individuals. Relatively rare experience of this sort can be an advantage for veterans.

Taxi drivers generally work within systems that are licensed by cities or counties, with regulated fees and conditions. Ride-hailing refers to companies like Lyft and Uber, which operate with mobile platforms, chauffeurs are generally hired for special events and those who need protection. In these cases, defensive training, discretion, and professionalism are required. College degrees are not required for these jobs, though skills and certifications may be necessary for higher-level chauffeur work.

Air Traffic Controllers

Veterans with experience in air traffic control have an obvious leg-up in this profession. Those with experience in airfield operations may also find it a worthwhile career to pursue, veterans with this training and experience have a decided advantage.

Air traffic controllers oversee air traffic at airports around the world, and require an associate's degree and FAA certification. They monitor flights in order to avoid collisions and accidents at airports. They coordinate traffic and advise pilots of headings and altitude in order to allow planes to take off and land in an orderly manner.


For veterans who worked in the planning and organizing side of the transportation puzzle, a career as a logistician may be a good fit. Those who have experience coordinating shipping and delivery, passenger schedules, or long distance transportation may do well as logisticians.

Logisticians are responsible for the coordination of supply chains. They plan and coordinate all aspects of the transportation of goods both coming into a facility as well as the delivery to the final user. Logisticians use computer programs and mathematical formulas to determine optimum routes and transportation methods. A bachelor's degree is generally required to become a logistician.

Water Transportation Workers

Veterans with experience on water transportation may want to consider this career. Those who have logged time on active duty may have an advantage and be able to gain certifications while on duty or immediately upon leaving the military. Veterans also have safety and first aid training, which is often mandatory in these positions.

Water transportation workers maintain and operate boats and yachts. Generally, sea experience of a minimum of six months is required, which those who worked on vessels during active duty generally have. Certifications are required, but this field may not require formal class time and veterans may be able to substitute their active duty experience.

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