Military to Civilian Career Transitions


  • Maureen McCann Promotion Career Solutions
  • Alexandra Heber Veterans Affairs Canada


Military, Civilian, Career, Transitions, Veterans


Upon release from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), military Veterans can face multiple barriers to employment. Having worked with members of the military population, we have found that in some cases, this is a first attempt to find civilian employment after decades of dormant job search skill development. It can be likened to that of an expatriate plunged into a new country. For these CAF members in career transition, they strive to establish workforce commonalities of language, culture, identity and community. Simultaneously, they face perceived stereotypes from those unaware or misinformed about military roles, culture, and experiences. Despite numerous third party agencies and military organizations seeking to address the issue of career transition, the current infrastructure lacks the cohesion, structure and consistent credentialing required to properly support releasing CAF personnel. This article includes survey data, client conversations and secondary research, and is based on the professional experience of the two authors: a military spouse and certified career professional; and a former serving member (veteran), military spouse, military mother and leading authority on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the military community.


Brand, J. (2015). The Far-Reaching Impact of Job Loss and Unemployment. Annual Review of Sociology, 41, 359-345.

Burgard, S. K. (2012, January). Perceived Job Insecurity and Health; the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study. Popular Studies Center (PCS) Research Reports |Report 12-750, p. 12.

Canadian Armed Forces. (2016, 07 18). Retrieved from About Us:

Coll JE, W. E. (2010). No one leaves unchanged: insights for civilian mental health care professionals into the military experience and culture. Social Work in Health Care, 50:7, p 491.

Coll, J. W. (2011). No One Leaves Unchanged: Insights for Civilian Mental Health Care Professionals Into the Military Experience and Culture. Social Work in Health Care Vol. 50, Iss. 7, 487-500.

Definition of a Veteran. (2015, 11.03). Retrieved from Veterans Affairs Canada:

Family, T. V. (2016). Military and Veteran Families in Canada: Collaborations and Partnerships - 2016 Compendium 1.0. Ottawa: The Vanier Institute of the Family.

Heber, A. (2014). Fit to fight: Cultural issues in caring for police, firefighters, military and veterans. Traumatalks Conference. Toronto, Ontario: Women College Hospital.

Rodney, Y. (2016). Military to Civilian Employment: A Career Practitioner’s Guide. Toronto, Canada: CERIC.

Shelly White. (2017, February 12). The Case for Why Companies Should Recruit More Military Veterans. Retrieved from Women of Influence:

Statistics Canada. (2008, July). Retrieved from Government of Canada:

The Canadian Standards & Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners. (2017, 04 27). Retrieved from Canadian Council for Career Development:

The Transition to Civilian Life as Veterans. (2014, June 24). Retrieved from Senate of Canada.

Thompson JM, V. T. (2014). Life After Service Survey 2013. Charlottetown PE: Research Directorate, Veterans Affairs Canada.

Thompson, J., Sweet, J., Van Til, L., Poirier, A., & MacKinnon, K. (2016). Correlates of the mental health problems in Canadian Armed Forces veterans--2013 Life after service survey. Charlottetown: Veterans Affairs Canada Research Directorate.

Veterans Affairs Canada. (2017, 03 23). Retrieved from Government of Canada:



How to Cite

McCann, M., & Heber, A. (2017). Military to Civilian Career Transitions. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 16(2), 24–29. Retrieved from



Graduate Student Research Briefs