What Are the Best Jobs in the U.S. Marine Corps?

best jobs in the marine corps

If you’re enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, then you already know that you’re joining a highly respected and prestigious branch of the U.S. Armed Forces with an impressive history.

But did you know after graduating from boot camp, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue a wide range of jobs in the Marines? With over 180 job specialties available to you, it can feel overwhelming to have to choose your area of focus.

To help narrow down your search, we’re sharing what we think are some of the best jobs in the Marine Corps.

The 8 Best Marine Corps Careers 

These eight Marine Corps jobs will enable you to earn a competitive salary while gaining skills that are transferable to a civilian career.

1. Legal Services Specialist 

If you have a goal of becoming a lawyer, paralegal, or legal secretary after you separate from service, then you may want to become a legal services specialist while in the Marines.

In order to become a legal services specialist, you’ll need to complete a course to learn about military law and what your responsibilities will be in the role.

As a legal services specialist, you’ll be expected to research and assist in the preparation of legal documents such as powers of attorney, wills, contracts, and more.

Please keep in mind that this is purely an administrative role and you’ll have no authority in the military legal system. However, you will earn a competitive salary.

Once you separate from service, you’ll have skills and experience to work as a judicial law clerk, a municipal clerk, or a legal secretary in civilian courts.

Of course, you can also choose to continue your education and become a paralegal or an attorney.

2. Aircraft Ordnance Technician

best jobs in the marine corps

As an aircraft ordnance technician, you’ll be responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing aviation ordnance on Marine Corps aircraft.

You’ll ensure all weapons are working properly and each craft in your care has the correct ammunition on board. After missions, you’d be responsible for de-arming the aircraft.

Aircraft ordnance technicians can earn $38,000 to $60,000 annually.

After you’ve separated from service you could pursue a career as an aircraft assembler for a commercial airline or shipping company. These aircraft have no need for ammunition or weapons systems. However, you could assemble parts of airplanes such as bulkheads, ventilation systems, wings, fuselage, and more.

You could earn up to $80,000 a year in that role depending on what part of the country you’re in.

3. Ammunition Specialist 

As the name suggests, ammunition specialists are responsible for handling and tracking all kinds of ammunition used by the Marines. That includes large explosives such as rockets and guided missiles as well as smaller munitions including hand grenades and bullets.

You’ll ensure that the right munitions get sent to the Marines who need them for training exercises and missions. You’ll also decommission unstable or old munitions.

Ammunition specialists in the Marines make an average of $52,245 per year.

After separating from service, you’ll be qualified to pursue a career in the growing field of logistics. Logistics is all about making sure goods get from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you can do that with grenades and rockets, you can do it with anything.

4. Mortar Specialist

best jobs in the marine corps

As a mortar specialist, you’ll operate a mortar, which is a simple, lightweight, easily maneuverable weapon used to provide cover and support for ground troops entering battle. Mortars deliver broad hits on targets to cause maximum damage and disorient the enemy.

In addition, mortar specialists are responsible for detecting and clearing mines. As a mortar specialist in the Marine Corps, you can earn up to $58,000 per year.

After separating from service, you’ll have the skills to apply for a number of civilian jobs. Many mortar specialists go on to work as explosive experts on demolition or construction crews. Salaries for these positions vary by state.

You can also join local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies as they often need personnel with explosives experience. 

5. Cryptologic Digital Technician 

Do you enjoy solving puzzles and thinking critically? Then you may want to pursue a career as a cryptologic digital technician.

One of the main responsibilities of a cryptologic digital technician is to intercept and analyze enemy correspondence that’s been sent over digital networks.

This correspondence is often coded, so in this role, you’ll spend most of your time trying to break codes and find messages hidden in what appears to be digital “noise” at first glance.

To be successful in this role, you’ll need the patience to work on a single problem for long periods of time. You’ll also be expected to have some knowledge of software programs, digital networks, and automatic data processing (ADP) equipment. However, you’ll also learn much of those skills on the job.

This role sets you up nicely to have a career in the cyber security industry after separating from service. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for mid-level cyber security jobs is about $112,000. And, there’s the potential to earn much more than that according to Forbes magazine.

6. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician 

Refrigeration and air conditioning technicians install, operate, inspect, and repair all the refrigeration and environmental temperature control units for the Marine Corps. These can be permanent units found on military bases and offices. Or these technicians may be deployed to set up temporary units for Marines on location.

If you choose to pursue this career path, you’ll take part in the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program. You’ll also gain certification to handle and dispose of Hydro Chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians in the marine Corps earn approximately $70,000 per year.

After you separate from service, you’ll have the skills and the credentials to easily start working with refrigeration and air conditioning systems in restaurants, homes, and government or corporate buildings. The best jobs in this field can pay as much as $129,000 per year.

7. Water Treatment Specialist 

Water treatment specialists in the Marine Corps ensure that water used for drinking, bathing, laundering clothes, and cooking is safe and easily accessible to all servicemembers.

This involves testing water quality on a regular basis and taking corrective actions if water quality falls below standards. In addition, you’ll be inspecting and maintaining water pumps, purification equipment, water distribution systems, and storage tanks.

Water treatment specialists are also heavily involved in humanitarian assistance missions. In these instances, you’d be working as part of a team to repair or install water delivery systems for a population in need.

This includes cutting and installing pipes, setting up water storage systems, mixing chemicals for water purification, and creating protocols for the treatment of waste.

The average salary for water treatment specialists in the Marine Corps is just about $20,000 annually, which is low compared to other jobs. 

However, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to increase your income significantly after separating from service. You can earn an average of $77,000 per year as a water treatment specialist in the civilian world.

8. Marine Corps Musician

best jobs in the marine corps

To be a member of The United States Marine Band (USMB) means you’re taking part in a tradition that dates back to 1768. In fact, the USMB is the oldest active professional musical organization in the nation’s history.

The USMB has the distinct honor of being the only band to play music for the President of the United States, which is why the band is also known as “The President’s Own.”

You may also join The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, which plays exclusively for the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

There are also several Marine Corps field bands that perform at parades, sporting events, festivals, funerals, and other public ceremonies.

Of course, you must be proficient on at least one brass, woodwind, or percussion instrument and you must audition to be a part of a Marine Corps band. But if you’re accepted, you’ll receive additional musical training and an average salary of $38,000 to $69,000.

Another benefit of being a Marine Corps musician is that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever see combat. You’ll have to go through basic training, but the Marines would only deploy musicians to war zones in the direst situations.

After leaving the service, you’ll be an outstanding musician, able to pursue any number of related career paths. Many Marine Corp musicians go on to become music teachers, studio musicians, or Broadway musicians. Others join wedding bands or try out for national or regional orchestras.

Transitioning from a Military Career to a Civilian Career 

best jobs in the marine corps

At Empire Resume, we know that transitioning from a career in the military to a career in the civilian sector comes with many challenges.

We are experts at helping servicemembers make the civilian transition. We specialize in writing military resumes for members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Plus, we offer a $25 discount to separating servicemembers!

Additionally, our constantly updated military-to-civilian blog offers the most useful and effective ways to help you with your job search. Contact us today for more information. 

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance. 

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