Average AFA grad salaries

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by 02grad, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. 02grad

    02grad New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    I majored in Human Factors Engineering at USAFA and then got a masters in HR and now have a BA in IT networks. I find myself going back to school only to start at the bottom with no advancement potential and making 15 an hour. Since leaving the military, really the best year I had was 45K at comcast working my tail off as an installer climbing under houses and in attics. I am not trying to complain with the economy bad and all, but it just seems like I should be able to get at least in the 50K to 60K range for a yearly salary. I graduated in 02 and have been in charleston, sc since 05, where jobs are mostly who you know and not what you know. Can someone please inform me if there is anybody in charleston, sc that wants to hire a hard working person? None of this education is paying off so far, so I am looking for some advice so I do not continually allow people to underpay me for my services. Thanks
    02 grad USAFA
     
  2. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    First of all I think this post should be in a post military/academy thread.

    Second, if you are willing to move, HR is one of the few professions hiring in any number right now.

    Third, if you want to stay in your area, consider starting your own business with a network of people you know. Prior to my current position, I worked for myself for over a decade and never felt slighted in pay and never laid myself off.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    40
    02grad, Why aren't you working in human factors engineering? Even in this economy the unemployment rate for engineers is around 2%. I just did a search on Indeed.com and it showed 1,694 jobs for human factors engineers. You may have to move but starting salaries will be higher than your stated highest ever yearly earnings.
     
  4. Azmomm

    Azmomm Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    9
    Are you willing to move?
     
  5. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    O2Grad,

    As someone who successfully transitioned from Active Duty to a second career in the civilian world, allow me to pass on some advise (and there are a few others on here who can do the same, if they so desire).

    But first, as has been stated before, this needs to move to the "Life after the Academy" section, as a lot of folks looking to just start their military careers can learn from this.

    Second, I'm going to make some assumptions about your situation in order to properly frame realistic expectations for you (also understanding that it is usually pretty poor to go off of assumptions; feel free to correct me)

    - As an 02 grad, and from the fact that from what you've posted we can assume you've been out for at least a year, I'll go out on a limb and say you got out as an 0-3.

    - You've settled in in your new home in S. Carolina, and your first choice would be to stay there. So, I gotta ask: have you looked at average salary levels for that area for folks in the jobs you want, with the same skill sets? Is $50- $60K realistic? (Personally, I'd say "seems about right".)

    - You'd prefer to stay in a career field that best uses your educational background.

    - You're conducting your search by yourself, looking to "network"

    Now, some advise:

    - Getting hired in the job you want at the salary you want is all about SELLING YOURSELF. Why should X company hire you over the other 150+ guys who applied? THIS is where your background as a military officer comes in. You were a Captain, so expect a low level management entry position at most companies looking to hire. SELL your leadership background.

    But, you haven't mentioned what YOU DID IN THE MILITARY. Your military experiences will go a long way in determining where the best fit is for you (and what would make job recruiters WANT to hire you).

    - If the jobs you want aren't hiring, or at salaries below what you want, you have to ask yourself: Are they hiring in the job I want at the salary I want somewhere else (i.e. move), or what IS hiring at the salary I want and will that work for me (i.e. what are my other career options)?

    Tough call, and a major reason what a lot of guys who get out switch jobs ar least once within the first few years of getting out. (in fact, out of the tons of people I know who got out over the past decade or so, this seems to be a pretty standard occurrence, by a large majority. I seem to be the exception, mostly because I like what I'm doing, and how much I am paid to do it. I could be making a LOT more elsewhere (and have the offers), but I ENJOY my job -- here's hoping you can find a similar situation)

    - Above leads to the next, and toughest question: "What DO I want to do? What is the best fit for ME?" If it is all based on the bottom dollar, than I can say with near certainty that eventually you will discover it really wasn't worth it. These questions are tough because you have to be brutally honest with yourself. So, I have to ask: what ARE you looking for, besides a salary? Some management position with growth potential? Small company? Large company? Technical career field? LOTS of questions to ask you.

    - Lots of "words", not much on the "anyone know who is hiring?" You know who DOES know who is hiring? Head-hunters. And there are some good firms out there who specialize in placing Capts and Majors in companies looking to hire folks with the leadership skills a military background provides.

    So, instead of asking this question on a site dedicated to getting information to HS kids and their parents about the Service Academies, I'd try Google one more time with a little better search criteria: Job placement for military veterans, or "Head hunters" + "Military" (of course, these searches may come up with some "unusual" links!)

    Good luck in your job search!
     
  6. lingstar1

    lingstar1 USAFA 1980

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a USAFA grad who had to transition to "the real world" after 13 years active duty my best piece of advice would be to get an MBA. I know, a lot of you will say it's not worth the time and $$$ it takes to get one. But believe me, as a mid-level manager who has done a lot of hiring for exempt/salaried positions - and as one who foolishly never pursued a Masters when I was younger - a higher degree will translate into bigger starting salaries. It will also open more doors for you since a majority of jobs I see posted on my company's internal and external websites indicates "Masters Degree Preferred". Just my two cents.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    A lot of great information and opinions provided here. The #1 best answer as stated is; Be Willing to go Where the Jobs are!!! If you're not willing, then it's all a moot point. You work with what you have. If you don't have what you want, then you have to move to where that is.

    The other thing is your background and training. I wasn't an academy grad. For those who don't know me, I wasn't even an officer. I was enlisted. But when the time came to go through the TAP (Transition Assistance Program) briefings, the person running the program pointed out that someone like myself with degrees in electronics and computer science, with management and supervisory skills (When you get towards the top-3 of the NCO ranks, you have just as much experience in supervision and management as most officer); that I would probably wind up with a much higher paying job. Turns out that I, along with 2 officers (one was my commanding officer) all wound up getting hired by the same corporation. And yes, I made more money than both of them.

    Thing is however, they wanted to stay locally and that was the job selection they had to work with. The type of work I do is very specialized but can be done in every town in the country for almost any company. One of the retired officers chose to move. They now make a lot more money than I do. The other officer doesn't want to move. She makes about half as much as me and she retired as a Lt. Colonel.

    When you are in the executive, staff, admin, management type roles in the military, location is everything when looking for a civilian job. EXAMPLE: Those types of careers looking for a job at AT&T are looking at jobs at their headquarters or regional offices. So maybe, 5-6 locations. The technicians, engineers, designer, etc... who can also supervise/manage other technicians, consultants, sales personnel, etc... can apply to the same company AT&T, but the availability of jobs is in practically every city and town across the country. So, if you really want to work in the HR, personnel, etc... career field, then you need to be willing to move. Even Walmart, Target, Sears, Microsoft, GE, etc... doesn't have a personnel/HR department at every store or business location. When I started to retire and started looking for a job, I checked many local companies like Echostar, Zerox, Qwest, Budweiser, etc... none of the places I walked into had an HR or personnel office there. They gave me the number and email to their "Corporate office"; where I applied. That means, if that happens to be your career field, your locations are very limited. Best of luck to you. mike....
     
  8. YorkieMom75

    YorkieMom75 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's a Service Academy Career Conference you might be interested in. The next one is in the DC area. Here's the link: http://sacc-jobfair.com/

    Also, there are SA groups on LinkedIn, and you can connect with other people and do a job search there as well.
     
  9. thealt

    thealt Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cost of Living calculator comparing working Charleston, SC at $45,000 versus what you would have to make in San Diego, CA just to have the same earning power:
    Your Results

    Comparable salary in
    San Diego, CA
    $58,946
    If you move from Charleston-N Charleston, SCto ....
    Groceries will cost: 0%less
    Housing will cost: 109%more
    Utilities will cost: 5%more
    Transportation will cost: 13%more
    Healthcare will cost: 3%more

    So basically, the COLA in Charleston, SC is much lower than most parts of the U.S. Moving to San Diego, CA would get you to your $50,000 -60,000 range but would be eaten up by the higher cost of living.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    The only problem with Cost of Living comparison calculators, is that it ASSUMES that you automatically get a pay raise by moving to a higher cost of living area. That's not always true. Some times it's the opposite. It depends if the town you're moving TO/FROM have a shortage/need or surplus of your skill. I have made more actual dollars in a lower cost of living area because there was a shortage of people to do what I do. So not only did I get a pay raise, I also moved to a much lower cost of living. "Double-Dip Win".

    P.S. FWIW: I know a young man who busted his but to get accepted into Yale University. He did; excelled; graduated with an excellent resume; decided he wanted to move back to Cheyenne Wyoming and DIDN'T WANT to work/live some place else. For the first 2+ Years back, he worked delivering pizza. He couldn't find a job in the business/financial/accounting area that he was trained in. Then again; maybe a degree from Yale is only worth that.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    Has anyone stopped for a second and read the OP's post.

    Master's in HR and than got a BA in IT?!?!

    Graduated in 02, has been in SC since 05, UMMM... if took TA for Masters, how on earth did he manage to not move while owing time to the AF?

    Let's be honest, he has 2 undergrad degrees, 1 from an Ivy (SA), and A Masters in HR, plus AD life as an officer at the ripe old age of 32, but the only job he could get was an installer for Comcast?

    Am I the only one that sees a troll?

    His other post was:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=25602

    If you don't want to read the thread, basically he lives with Mom in an HOA development and the neighbor is a former AF MP...big clue, MP, not SP causing issues because any AFA grad or AF personnel knows the AF calls that branch SP not MP!

    Anyone who was ever in the AF knows, that an 02 grad owes 4 yrs ADAF, and you can't do an HR Masters AND a BA in IT at the same time! Financially it would be near impossible, and the only AFB in SC is Shaw. Shaw is by Columbia. A big town that would take an AFA grad, with a dual undergrad and grad degree in a heart beat, they would never have to be a cable installer for Comcast.

    I may be wrong! 02grad can ream me out and give all of us his life story regarding why he as an IVY grad did this, or he will be silent.

    I don't have an issue eating crow. I am just saying to posters look at the facts.

    AF officer calling police MP, not SP?
    3 yrs, but got 2 more degrees?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  12. dagger

    dagger Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe it's SF, not SP. Security Forces is the term for "Military Police".
     
  13. 2bornot2b

    2bornot2b Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    0
    where are the Three Billy Goats Gruff when you need 'em?
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    Dagger,

    Maybe now it is SF, but 4 yrs ago, and the 20 yrs Bullet served it was SP. Security Police.

    Does it really matter SF or SP? The poster stated MP, which is Army, not AF, but stated they were an AFA 02 grad. 4 yrs at the AFA and you call the neighbor an "AF MP"? You don't. you call them an SP, especially as a guy who somehow left the AF 3 yrs after 4 yrs at the AFA!

    The bigger issue is this poster maybe a troll yanking chains to his own amusement. He will come back and slam me if I am wrong, but if he doesn't than we know he is a troll.

    02grad, my apology if I mis-interpreted your posts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  15. FlyingWildcatDad

    FlyingWildcatDad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dagger,

    Pima is correct. The term now might be SF, but as a former Security Police in the USAF, I was referred to as a SP! Got the awards and certificates to prove it.
     
  16. 2bornot2b

    2bornot2b Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dagger is currently an active duty Airman. Obviously, things have changed. That aside, Air Force Security members were never called MPs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    Than we all agree an AFA grad would never call an SP/SF an MP! Leave the argument pf SF vs SP alone. Let's acknowledge the OP with 3 posts, did not place the thread in "Life After" is a troll!

    The more we respond the happier they are for wasting our time!
     
  18. dagger

    dagger Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Roger that.

    On another note, here is a link for the 2001-2002 USAFA catalog. Is Human Factors Engineering the same as Human Factors under the umbrella of Behavioral Science? I'm not entirely familiar with this area of study, so don't pick on me too hard if this is an obvious comparison. :wink:

    http://www.qsl.net/k/kc2aig/USAFA/U.S. Air Force Academy/Catalog 2001.pdf
     

Share This Page