Pathways for Military Veterans to Enter Allied Health Careers


Issue: Over the next five years, approximately 1.5 million military service members will separate from the military. As a growing industry, healthcare may hold job opportunities, especially for entry level allied health positions, that are ideal for military veterans transitioning into the civilian sector. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many veterans, including those with healthcare experience, have difficulties entering civilian healthcare occupations. This study investigates veterans’ barriers to career transitions into healthcare careers, particularly allied health careers, and examines the types of programs and policies designed to assist veterans to overcome barriers in their pursuit of healthcare careers.
Methods: This descriptive study draws from a review of published and gray literature, as well as a review of enacted state legislation.

  • Four thematic areas emerged from the literature on the barriers that veterans frequently face when pursuing healthcare careers: 1) navigating complex benefits, 2) translating military education and training to meet civilian academic requirements, 3) meeting credentialing requirements, and 4) overcoming limited communication and knowledge about healthcare career opportunities.
  • Most state legislative efforts focused on emergency medical service and nursing occupations. Most state efforts were aimed at helping veterans meet credentialing requirements, including applying military education and experience to meet licensing requirements, as well as helping veterans translate military education and training into civilian occupations.
  • Several individual institutions, organizations, and government entities have introduced or changed existing policies and/or provided funding to support veterans’ education and employment programs to assist veterans’ transitions to civilian employment. Most of these programs address the barrier of translating military education and training to meet civilian academic requirements.
  • Few efforts were found that were aimed at increasing awareness about healthcare career opportunities.

Discussion: State and federal policymakers, educational institutions, and veteran support organizations have been developing ways to help veterans transition into healthcare jobs.  As programs and efforts mature, high-quality, sustained evaluation and assessment are needed to understand how well the efforts are meeting their goals and the needs of veterans, as well as to identify areas for improvement, additional support, and replication in other settings.
This study resulted in a full report and a 2-page policy brief that can be found in the publications section of our website.



HRSA: HWRC Allied Health









Authors Title Type Date Documents/Media
Snyder CR, Wick KH, Skillman SM, Frogner BK Pathways for Military Veterans to Enter Healthcare Careers PUBLICATION 05-01-2016
Full Report
Policy Brief