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If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about, or perhaps even pursue, a career as a defense contractor after being at the career fair, then this article is definitely something you should read. This field of work is certainly not for the lighthearted, with companies such as Raytheon, manufacturing and selling tools of war to be used in conflicts all over the world, but these companies also do more than just make and sell weapons. In fact, Raytheon—a well-known American-based company that’s been around since the 1920s—also builds and sells communication equipment, radars, and other electronics not used for the purpose of war and, with so many employees, offers many career opportunities.

For those interesting in joining some of the best and brightest in the defense contracting industry and gaining some wonderful experience, there are some things to be aware of before diving in head first. Thankfully, this article will give you the information needed to get a better idea if this is a career you may want to pursue. As with any potential career choice, you’ll want to have a general understanding of what these companies do, as well as some of the benefits and possible drawbacks of working as a defense contractor. This article will delve into those topics and even shed a bit of light on what qualifications are needed to get your foot in the door.

To begin, it’s important to establish a clear idea of what skills and education are needed for most of the jobs in defense contracting work. Before I go into greater detail about the specific criteria needed for a career in this field, it’s important to understand that these are more generalized qualifications and skills which won’t come close to covering all of the various avenues of work this type of job offers. Though the qualifications and skills needed for any particular branch of the defense contracting industry vary from job to job, there are some concrete stipulations that must be met depending on where the company is based. For the most part, you’ll be required to be a citizen of the country where the job is located. This isn’t always the case. But, for some of the larger companies, like Raytheon, which is based in the United States, it is most likely going to be a requirement to be a US citizen to work there. Again, this may not be the case for certain positions, but when you’re in the business of building and selling weapons, it’s understandable to have this requirement.

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Along those same lines, defense contracting work almost always requires an individual to be able to gain government security clearance in order to conduct business within high-security government buildings. In order to be eligible for this type of clearance, you cannot have any past criminal convictions which resulted in a year or more or jail time. You’ll also need to pass a drug screen, as well as a mental health competency test. Other items that may be scrutinized throughout this process are financial records and family and military background information.

Now, as far as any particular job in the defense contracting industry goes, a certain level of higher education is most likely going to be required. Obviously, since the jobs range anywhere from doctors, lawyers, and scientists to ex-military personnel, this will vary from position to position. Though you can acquire jobs without much background in that particular field, these companies usually look for individuals with an already established skill set in whichever aspect of work they are applying for.

This leads us to the question of what exactly do companies like Raytheon need such a wide variety of uniquely skilled workers for? The answer to this question is that most companies in the defense contracting industry do much more than making and selling weapons. Most will also offer training services and various types of learning outsourcing where they send experts to train others in a specific area of study. Not only that, but they also have a hand in space technology, radioactive material handling and disposal, as well as business consulting and air traffic control technology. The list of what some of these companies can do is rather long, but there is definitely something for everybody.

Lastly, anybody investigating a potential career choice is going to want to learn about the positives and negatives of that particular avenue. Like any job, there are pros and cons to a career in the defense contracting business and, as mentioned earlier, it’s not for the lighthearted. Of course, this is all dependent on which aspect of this field you are looking to join. But, for some people, it’s hard to get over the fact that these companies build and sell weapons designed for use in battle. Whether you view this fact as a positive or negative aspect of the field is up to you to decide.

The more general complaints about this field of work are that it often requires a lot of travel and extended work trips and, perhaps, frequent relocation may be required, as well as the fact that funding can be fickle and projects are sometimes changed or canceled at a moment’s notice. Again, this doesn’t contextualize every area of work in the defense contracting world, but it should be expected nonetheless.

Though there are some negatives to working for a company like Raytheon, the positives tend to outshine them in most circumstances. The first of these is the fact that the jobs tend to pay very well simply because of the need for security clearance, as well as the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of room for error when you’re dealing with aspects of war, terrorism, or cyber-security, etc. Therefore, in order to assure the highest quality work, these companies are willing to entice the most talented people to work for them by offering very generous salaries and benefits.

Besides money, some other positive aspects about a career in military contracting work are that you’ll have opportunists to travel, meet new and interesting people, have access to the most high tech equipment, and also to help people at home and abroad.

The field of government, defensive and military contracting work is often unique and interesting. There are always tons of job opportunities in this field, so if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email at jobs@silentprofessionals.org.

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