Transitioning Out of the Military? Build a Career in Health and Fitness

By Reggie Roberts on May, 11 2021
Military
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Reggie Roberts

Reggie Roberts served in U.S. Active Duty Army from 1996 to 1999 as a 92Y Supply Specialist and decorated Unit Armorer. Reggie now works as the Senior Military Advisor for the College of Exercise Science. Reggie's goal is to help soldiers, veterans, and military spouses get the most out of their benefits and provide support throughout their journey to reaching their goals.

If you’re transitioning out of the military, you may be struggling to decide what you’ll do with your career next. While around 6 million veterans are currently eligible to join the workforce in the United States, 33 percent of veterans are underemployed, and overall, they are 15.6 percent more likely to be underemployed than nonveterans, according to a LinkedIn report. 

A Pew Research Study also found that nearly 50 percent of veterans who served after 9/11 report difficulty readjusting once they leave the armed forces. This number increases even more among military members who were in combat or had a traumatic experience during their tenure. 

The challenge of reentry and the question of a career outlook can weigh heavily on your shoulders, even if you’ve spent the last 12 months on active duty preparing for civilian life.

If you’re at a crossroads with your career, now may be the right time to consider entering the health and fitness industry. The three growing fitness trends in 2021—use of at-home fitness equipment, working with personal trainers/nutritionists, and using online classes and subscriptions—show that, despite COVID professionals in this industry are still very much still in demand.

If you’re interested in entering this field, whether you want to get your Bachelor’s or Associate degree or enroll in a Master Trainer certificate program, there’s room for you to grow. Here’s what you need to know as you finish transitioning out of the military and into health and fitness.

Keep Reading: How to Use Your Skills as a Military Athlete to Start a Fitness Business

Learn More: Download Our Military Tuition Assistance Guide

 

Free Resources for Veterans Entering the Civilian Workforce

There are many considerations to take into account when transitioning out of the military and into the workforce. Some questions you may be considering are:

  • How does the kind of experience you gained while on active duty translate to another field? 
  • How can you best reflect those areas of expertise on your resume? 
  • How do you cultivate a professional network and become more visible to recruiters? 
  • How should you prepare for that first daunting interview?   

To help you navigate this process with confidence, the organizations below offer employment resources to veterans free-of-charge. The services include resume writing, interview coaching, social media training, professional mentoring or networking, and entrepreneurial investing, to name just a few. 

Many of these organizations also advocate for the equal opportunities of disabled veterans in both public and private sectors, allowing you to get a kick-start toward your new health and fitness career.  

 

Why Health and Fitness?

The same LinkedIn data points out that 55 percent of transitioning veterans want to work in different sectors than their previously held jobs in the military. Luckily, you can still leverage transferable skills acquired in the service to land a job that you’re suited to. This is why a career in fitness can be such a natural pivot.

Jobs in the fitness industry require both physical and mental strength, as well as resilience, discipline, stamina, leadership, motivation and a desire to help others. As a member of the armed forces, you have all these qualities in your arsenal. 

Not to mention, the endurance and athletic dexterity that made you skillful in combat and the sense of duty that has always motivated you in the military can also lead to success on this career path.

In terms of financial stability, the health and fitness sector is a smart move as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ten-year job outlook of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to increase by 15 percent. That is much faster, on average, than other occupations, so you can feel secure about choosing this route. 

Keep Reading: How to Start Your Fitness Career as a Combat Veteran

 

How to Lay the Groundwork for Your Career in Health & Fitness

As you transition from the military into the civilian workforce, it’s also worth considering the type of education or certification required for a job in the fitness industry. This is where military benefits come in. Programs such as military tuition assistance (TA) are accessible to service members in any branch to help fund a degree in a number of fields, like nutrition or exercise science and kinesiology, for instance. 

The specific criteria to apply for these benefits are unique for each service branch, so visit the TA portal of your branch’s website for more detailed information. Once you are accepted, the TA program will cover tuition costs and enrollment fees up to $166/quarter hour or $250/semester hour. 

If you served in the armed forces after September 11, 2001, another benefit that you could be eligible for is Post-9/11 GI Bill. This financial assistance is offered to veterans who meet one or more of the following qualifications: 

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty on or after 9/11.
  • You received a Purple Heart for any amount of service on or after 9/11. 
  • You were honorably discharged for a service-related disability on or after 9/11.
  • You served at least 30 consecutive days with no breaks on or after 9/11.
  • You are the dependent child of a qualifying veteran who transferred benefits to you.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can be used for 36 months to help with costs in the areas below:

  • Tuition & Fees: full coverage for in-state public universities and colleges.
  • Housing: monthly allowance for students who are enrolled more than half-time.
  • Textbooks & Supplies: stipend not to exceed $1,000 for each academic year.

With these kinds of benefits available to you, a higher education—and future career—in the fitness sector is within your reach. Combined with the tactical experience, interpersonal skills and breadth of experience gained in the military with academic training and certifications earned in the classroom to help ease this transition from active duty to civilian life. 

Learn More: Download Our Military Tuition Assistance Guide

 

Transition Out of the Military With ISSA College of Exercise Science Accredited Programs 

When choosing where to pursue an education, it’s important to find a reputable program that’s also flexible enough to accommodate your service commitments. The ISSA College of Exercise Science is a military-friendly school. Programs are 100% online, allowing you the flexibility you need to pursue your passion while you are still active in the military. 

Because you can use your active-duty and veteran benefits for College of Exercise Science programs, our programs are both a convenient and affordable way to jumpstart your fitness career. While transitioning out of the military can be a difficult process, it’s also exciting to plan for your future. Use this time to look ahead at the job opportunities this next chapter will hold, with health and fitness as a thriving career path for you to take.

 

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Reggie Roberts

Reggie Roberts served in U.S. Active Duty Army from 1996 to 1999 as a 92Y Supply Specialist and decorated Unit Armorer. Reggie now works as the Senior Military Advisor for the College of Exercise Science. Reggie's goal is to help soldiers, veterans, and military spouses get the most out of their benefits and provide support throughout their journey to reaching their goals.

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