I will be retiring from the military in the year 2020. I have been a military pilot most of my entire career, and due to extensive TDY's and family sacrifice, I will not be pursuing a pilot job in civilian life.

I have a BA and MBA, from public, state universities. I also hold a Top Secret Clearance and Speak Spanish/English both fluently (if it matters). I have no problem traveling one week out of each month to off-site customer locations but the days of two, three weeks, and even months, on the road just will not work for my family anymore. I would like to pursue an high-growth career industry that is challenging and rewarding.

Some questions if someone can assist:

  1. Can my background and skills be "transferred over" into the PMP realm ?

  2. What does career growth look like in the year 2020. I understand that is five years away but I want to get started now with educating myself about the profession.

  3. Also, what is "starting salary" and what kind of salary can be expected say at Year-3 as a PMP.

  4. Are most PMP's independent consultants or do they work as salaried employees at a company/organization ?

  5. Is there any particular sector or industry that PMP work is more common at than others ? Aka more common in healthcare and less common in legal field ?

Thank you for your time and information !


  • Hi Bill, I also left the military with a Top Secret clearance. A few considerations. 1. Clearances do not always transfer and they also expire. I assume you are USA DoD; I am not sure of the exact timeframe but in the UK the clearance expires after 12 months. 2. The steepest learning curve is "soft skills" such as influence and persuasion. I found it quite difficult to build this aspect of my PM toolset because I had never worked in an environment where people could just...not do something. It's very alien and corporate culture takes a very dim view of strong direction. May 25, 2015 at 13:27
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the answer would be too specific to the individual in question; it would have limited use for anyone else.
    – MCW
    May 27, 2015 at 0:21

3 Answers 3


There are a ton of skills that transfer but I think the most valuable asset you have are the years experience of service. Consulting firms that do public sector work, especially DOD and military, hire guys like you all the time. You need to settle around DC to reduce chance of travel. In today's dollars, you could likely expect $100k to maybe as high as $180k, depending on the firm and the type of work.

There are aviation specialty firms around DC that deal with the FAA, airspace issues, human factor issues, cutting edge navigation technology, etc. Boutique firms typically pay more but travel increases and the threat of getting cut loose after hitting the bench is higher.

The PMP is a nice to have but hiring managers will be way more interested in your ability to navigate the DOD and which high ranking people are in your rolodex to whom you can start selling.

Thanks for your service.

  • +1 corresponds with what I've seen in the market as well. May 27, 2015 at 1:03

(1) As a PMP you will be managing different aspects of project development, starting with people. So I would say your skills do transfer to PMP. Discipline is also very important. But this is just common knowledge. These skills apply to everything in life.

(2) Career growth? Just google around for some statistics. Nowadays you can find all sort of stuff on the internet with a good google search. Google is a very powerful tool. I would try "PMP growth predictions" or "the future of PMP" or "PMP in 2020" or ...

(3) You can search for salaries at glassdoor.com

(4) & (5) Yup, google has all the answers. Just need to practice searching for it.

I apologize if this is not the answer you expected, but I hope it can point you the right way to finding it.


I left the military a long time ago with much fewer credentials and I have found that certifications are a good bridge or maybe a "mil-spec to civie" translation aid. However, the BA and MBA already cover a lot of ground in that regard.

Item #1: the BA and MBA have direct translation to the PMP qualification list by reducing the number of "project hours" you need to prove. Describing your past project work, documenting the history, and finding current contact information for your old bosses might be challenging.

Item #2: Career growth is harder to predict but it has been quite steady over the years.

Item #5: Architecture, infrastructure development, and construction industries have always had and will continue to have a high demand for project managers. The large budgets and enormous consequences of failure make hiring project managers a "no brainer."

With the recent move towards Agile, I'm finding that software companies seem to be de-emphasizing and downgrading the role of project manager. It varies a lot, however.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.