Build a Rewarding Career Working with Veterans

by Stephanie Thurrott

Working with veterans to help them build and maintain successful lives as civilians can be incredibly fulfilling—and part of a greater contribution to society. Military veterans face unique situations as they serve our country, and those experiences lead to specific strengths and needs as they transition from military to civilian life and continue on their personal journeys.

Those who feel a calling to work with retired servicemembers can build careers supporting them in a range of fields. Veterans may need guidance in finding housing, health care, and insurance. They may need to build financial plans or transition into new careers. They may need physical therapy, social support, or counseling to help them cope with their service experiences.

Degrees That Prepare You to Work with Veterans

Many undergraduate degree programs can prepare you for a rewarding career serving our country’s veterans, such as:

  • Kinesiology: The study of body movement, this major teaches students to care for the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. With a career in kinesiology, you can help veterans improve their health, fitness, and quality of life. Kinesiology students typically concentrate in health professions, applied exercise science, or physical education. Graduates might work as occupational therapists, fitness and wellness directors, or strength and conditioning specialists.
  • Psychology: In this major, students learn to understand and analyze human behavior. A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology prepares you to work with veterans in social services and counseling, while a Bachelor of Science in Psychology focuses on equipping you for careers that require knowledge of the brain and neuropsychology, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
  • Social Work: With this program, students study human behavior in order to enhance lives. Studying social work prepares you to assist veterans in areas such as criminal justice, child welfare, health care, substance abuse, gerontology, and mental health. Jobs might include geriatric social worker, mental health case manager, or substance abuse counselor.

Educational Opportunities That Can Advance Your Career

Students who plan to pursue careers working with veterans often need to complete their bachelor’s degree and continue their education with an advanced degree. Azusa Pacific University can help.

If you have at least 15 units of transfer credit, APU’s bachelor’s completion degree in psychology might be a good fit. The program is available at several regional campuses and online, and up to nine units of coursework in your final year can be applied to certain APU graduate programs.

APU also offers several advanced degree options:

  • Master of Social Work: A program that includes strong clinical training as well as field internships to prepare you to meet the behavioral health needs of veterans and their families. Students take classes like Diversity and Social Justice, Adult Behavioral Health and Diagnosis, and Family Therapy in Context.
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy: A path that gives students a solid foundation in professional counseling that they can use to help veterans and their families. Students benefit from the program’s interdisciplinary studies in theology, ethics, and psychotherapy. This degree meets the requirements for California licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
  • Doctor of Psychology: An APA-accredited program that emphasizes the integration of faith and spirituality into clinical practice. Students take classes like Christian Spiritual Formation and Psychotherapy, Legal and Ethical Competence for Psychologists, and Couples Theory and Therapy. Most graduates go on to become licensed psychologists.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy: This curriculum integrates evidence-based critical thinking into clinical practice with a Christian worldview. The program prepares students for leadership positions in a variety of healthcare settings, or for post-professional work with veterans in orthopedics, neurology, cardiopulmonology, clinical electrophysiology, pediatrics, geriatrics, or sports medicine.
  • Doctor of Rehabilitation and Movement Science: A low-residency Ph.D., this program offers a curriculum that prepares professionals to improve patients’ health and rehabilitation outcomes through research and education. The program focuses on health care ethics from a Christian perspective, and students can specialize in acute care, movement science, orthopedics, neurology, performing arts, or pain science.

Are you ready to build a career helping our country’s veterans? Check out the full range of behavioral and applied science programs APU offers to find the best fit for your future.