STEM Careers in the Guard: A Spotlight on Engineering

This fall, On Your Guard is taking a look at STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers offered by the Army National Guard. These are fast-growing fields. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce is projecting a 17 percent growth in STEM jobs by 2018. Compare that to non-STEM jobs, which are expected to grow by only 9.8 percent.

Why is this news important? Because Guard service is a part-time commitment, many of our Soldiers make the most of their skills training and the Guard’s education benefits to build successful full-time civilian careers.

This week, we’ll take a look at Engineering.

The Engineering field within the Army National Guard offers a lot of different paths. If you’re more of a project planner and big picture person, you might consider the 12T Technical Engineer Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Technical Engineers conduct land surveys, make maps and prepare detailed plans and drawings for construction projects, including plans for wiring and plumbing.

But If you’re more of a hands-on person, you may want to look into Specialist (SPC) Boomer Paschall’s MOS – 12N Horizontal Construction Engineer. These engineers use heavy construction equipment to clear or prepare land for construction.

“We do football fields, roads, projects like that for the community,” says SPC Paschall.

The idea of serving the community was a major draw for SPC Paschall when he joined the Oregon National Guard five years ago.

“The fact that I could be of service, go home every night for the most part, and be stateside in the community … I was sold. Just giving back, I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to do that.”

It’s during his annual two weeks of training that SPC Paschall and his Engineering Unit get to work on projects in the community like tearing out overgrown trees and breaking up aging asphalt like they did for a local school’s parking lot a couple of years ago.

SPC Boomer Paschall, (back right) and his Unit pose in front of a firing range wall they worked on last summer with the heavy construction equipment they used to do it.

SPC Boomer Paschall, (back right) and his Unit pose in front of a firing range wall they worked on last summer with the heavy construction equipment they used to do it.

SPC Paschall, like all new Soldiers, attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to learn the skills he would need to perform the job. Soldiers in this particular MOS learn how to operate bulldozers, backhoe loaders, front-end loaders, Humvees, dump trucks, water trucks (used to keep down the dust during excavation), and grading equipment.

This training also comes in handy when the Guard is called up to respond to natural disasters like floods and hurricanes, or in SPC Paschall’s case, a potential earthquake. He and his Unit have been preparing for this kind of event by training in rubble clearing and search and rescue techniques because of their proximity to the Cascadia Fault line on the Oregon coast, which is “long overdue” for an earthquake.

SPC Paschall says the most important traits to have in his line of work are “attention to detail and safety, and being willing to take advice on how to do things. You’re operating heavy equipment. A lot can go wrong. You definitely need to be aware of your surroundings.”

So while the Horizontal Construction Engineers are busy tearing things down, other Engineering MOSs in the Guard focus on building things up. Just click on the links to learn more about these jobs:

12B Combat Engineer

12C Bridge Crewmember

12K Plumber

12R Interior Electrician

12V Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Operator

12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist

So if you have an interest in a STEM field, the ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery should help you identify your strengths. In the meantime, to learn more about any of the Guard’s 150 career fields, visit our job board or contact a recruiter today.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter