Veterans Retraining Assistance Program High Demand Occupations List

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 created a program called the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP),which provides Montgomery GI Bill Benefits to unemployed veterans age 35-60. The program, a joint offering of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the US Department of Labor (DoL) will help veterans gain high demand skills to more quickly enter the work force.

VRAP high-demand occupations

Use VRAP benefits to reenter the workforce

To be eligible, veterans must be age 35-60, have a discharge rating higher than dishonorable, must be unemployed and not have additional VA educational benefits, must not be receiving VA benefits for unemployability, or be enrolled in any other state or federal job-training program.

Once VRAP eligibility is established, veterans must enroll in a high demand occupation. This list covers the jobs currently approved as high-demand by the VA.

List of VRAP High Demand Occupations

The goal of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program is to help unemployed veterans find work as quickly as possible. Because of this, only certain jobs and education benefits qualify for VRAP benefits.Benefits are limited to Associate’s Degrees, non-degree certificates, and qualified professional licenses and certifications in certain career fields.

This list covers the available career fields, and includes jobs in a variety of industries. Be sure to choose one of the jobs on this list as you will need to include the name and address of the school, as well as the occupation when applying for VRAP benefits.

For your convenience, we have copied and pasted the list to our site. The VA lists these high demand occupations on a pdf, which you can find here.

Management Occupations:

1. General and Operations Managers

2. Constructions Managers

Business and Financial Operations Occupations:

3. Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products

4. Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products

5. Claim Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators

6. Business Operations Specialists, All Other

7. Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

8. Loan Officers

9. Tax Preparers

Computer and Mathematical Occupations:

10.  Computer Support Specialists

Architecture and Engineering Occupations:

11. Architectural and Civil Drafters

12. Mechanical Drafters

13. Civil Engineering Technicians

14. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

15. Environmental Engineering Technician

16. Industrial Engineering Technicians

17. Mechanical Engineering Technicians

18. Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other

19. Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations:

20. Chemical Technicians

21. Geological and Petroleum Technicians

22. Social Science Research Assistants

23. Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health

24. Forest and Conservation Technicians

25. Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other

Community and Social Services Occupations:

26. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Legal Occupations:

27. Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Education, Training, and Library Occupations:

28. Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education

29. Library Technicians

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations

30. Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers

31. Actors

32. Athletes and Sports Competitors

33. Coaches and Scouts

34. Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

35. Choreographers

36. Musicians and Singers

37. Audio and Video Equipment Technicians

38. Broadcast Technicians

39. Photographers

Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations:

40. Registered Nurses

41. Radiation Therapists

42. Respiratory Therapists

43. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians

44. Dental Hygienists

45. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

46. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

47. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

48. Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

49. Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

50. Dietetic Technicians

51. Pharmacy Technicians

52. Psychiatric Technicians

53. Surgical Technologists

54. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

55. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

56. Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

57. Opticians, Dispensing

58. Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other

Healthcare Support Occupations:

59. Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

60. Occupational Therapy Assistants

61. Physical Therapist Assistants

62. Physical Therapist Aides

63. Massage Therapists

64. Dental Assistants

65. Medical Assistants

66. Medical Equipment Preparers

67. Medical Transcriptionists

Protective Service Occupations:

68. First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers

69. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

70. First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers

71. Firefighters

72. Correctional Officers and Jailers

73. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

74. Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers

75. Private Detectives and Investigators

76. Transportation Security Screeners (Federal Only)

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations:

77. Cooks, Private Household

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations:

78. Pest Control Workers

Personal Care and Service Occupations:

79. Gaming Dealers

80. Funeral Service Managers, Directors, Morticians, and Undertakers

81. Barbers

82. Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

83. Manicurists and Pedicurists

84. Skincare Specialists

85. Tour Guides and Escorts 18B

86. Travel Guides

Sales and Related Occupations:

87. Residential Advisors  Occupations

88. Advertising Sales Agents

89. Insurance Sales Agents

90. Travel Agents

91. Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products

92. Real Estate Sales Agents

93. Sales and Related Workers, All Other Office and Administrative Support Occupations

94. Bill and Account Collectors

95. Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

96. Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks

97. Procurement Clerks

98. Brokerage Clerks

99. Court, Municipal, and License Clerks

100. Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs

101. Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers

102. Dispatchers, Except Police, Fire, and Ambulance

103. Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks

104. Legal Secretaries

105. Medical Secretaries

106. Data Entry Keyers

107. Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks

Construction and Extraction:

108. Boilermakers

109. Brickmasons and Blockmasons

110. Stonemasons

111. Carpenters

112. Floor Sanders and Finishers

113. Terrazzo Workers and Finishers

114. Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators

115. Pile-Driver Operators

116. Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators

117. Electricians

118. Glaziers

119. Insulation Workers, Mechanical

120. Plumbers, Pipefitters; and Steamfitters

121. Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers

122. Sheet Metal Workers

123. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

124. Construction and Building Inspectors

125. Fence Erectors

126. Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

127. Highway Maintenance Workers

128. Segmental Pavers

129. Construction and Related Workers, All Other

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations:

130. Computer, Automated Teller, and Office Machine Repairers

131. Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairs

132. Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers

133. Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment

134. Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Installers and Repairers

135. Security and Fire Alarm System Installers

136. Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

137. Automotive Body and Related Repairers

138. Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers

139. Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

140. Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists

141. Farm Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians

142. Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines

143. Rail Car Repairers

144. Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians

145. Motorcycle Mechanics

146. Outdoor Power Equipment and Other Small Engine Mechanics

147. Bicycle Repairers

148. Recreational Vehicle Service Technicians

149. Tire Repairers and Changers

150. Mechanical Door Repairers

151. Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

152. Home Appliance Repairers

153. Industrial Machinery Mechanics

154. Maintenance Workers, Machinery

155. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

156. Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers

157. Medical Equipment Repairers

158. Maintenance and Repair Workers, General

159. Commercial Divers

160. Locksmiths and Safe Repairers

161. Helpers – Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers

162. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers, All Other

Production Occupations:

163. First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers

164. Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assemblers

165. Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters

166. Team Assemblers

167. Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other

168. Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

169. Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

170. Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

171. Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

172. Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

173. Machinists

174. Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders

175. Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

176. Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

Applying for VRAP Benefits

You will need to apply for VRAP online via eBenefits (also known as VONAPP). If you are unfamiliar with VONAPP, you can use our tutorials to learn how to create a VONAPP Account, and learn how to apply for benefits with VONAPP. It’s important to note that applications for VRAP benefits are limited to the first 99,000 applications, or until October 1, 2013, whichever comes first.

Slots are limited to the first 45,000 qualified applicants in FY 2012, and the first 54,000 in 2013 (dates of training are currently limited to October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014).

When applying, be sure to have your direct deposit information for your bank (routing number and bank account number) so the VA can deposit your GI Bill benefits directly into your bank account. You will also need to provide the name and location of the school, as well as the occupation from this list.

Print Friendly
Date published: June 19, 2012.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. Macdoodle says

    NOTE : its a one year program and training has to be at a community college or certain other locations.

    Many of the High Demand Occupations require far more edu and at locations not approved for VRAP.

    Check out the details.

    • says

      There are almost 180 available jobs to choose from, so there are bound to be some which require varying amounts of training. It’s a good idea to find the plan that is closest to your desired career field, then investigate the requirements before signing up. A veteran may not be able to find his or her first choice, but with so many options, they may be able to find something that is close to their desired career field. It’s better to take the training while it is available and learn skills that can be transferred to more than one career field if possible. It’s also important to note that many jobs offer more on the job training once you are hired, so sometimes the most important thing is to get hired in the first place, and go from there.

  2. Mike Moreland says

    I attended a community college near Seattle after separating from the AF in 91. I was able to get a discount on my tuition for being a veteran.

  3. Keith Parker says

    I am approved for the program…the difficulty is you must be unemployed, 30-60, and yet pay for 1st month to start any training. This part was not completely thought through. Unemployed in many cases means no extra money. So you can feel stuck without any real chance to take and training classes…

  4. Keith Parker says

    I am approved for the program…the difficulty is you must be unemployed, 30-60, and yet pay for 1st month to start any training. This part was not completely thought through. Unemployed in many cases means no extra money. So you can feel stuck without any real chance to take any training classes…

  5. Darlene Matthews says

    Keith, My vet rep @ school helped me to get a one month advance to pay for classes since i am not eligible for grants or loans- long story….. Most others get a fed or state loan to help up front and then when they get the VRAP pay it off right away to avoid interest. There are also grants available for most. Go to the schools veterans and financial aide office ASAP to check out your options.

  6. michael says

    This VRAP program sounds great! However, if you read the fine print this is a difficult program at best. If there is a break in the school semester, you don’t get paid for those days you are on break! It has to be a two year “only” school. It won’t pay for a four year school even if you need just 3 classes like I do for a B.A. It pays you the following month so you have to come up with the initial tuition if you are in California. Out of state is almost 3K for the required four classes. Leave it to our government to dangle a carrot and make it almost impossible to go to school. If you find a tech school that is 100% on line it won’t authorize it. I’m sure it works for some but most of the guys I know in this age group it sucks.

  7. Keith Parker says

    I agree it is the same for KY, and remember you must be not employed to qualify, but yet you have to come up with the first months money to go to school. I looked under the high demand jobs in the transportation section and pilot co-pilot is listed, yet you can’t go to a four year school to get the training. Anyone that understands working in the flying business commercially understands it needs a four year school to get hired. Great ideas not thought through. I would love to get help with training to finish my degree in Aviation, but this VRAP doesn’t seem to be the help. I was hoping some helicopter flight or ground school would be VRAP approved but have not heard back yet. In the program but unable to get a penny of help to date. Disapointed with the system at this point.

  8. Keith Jefferson says

    I recently learned about this VRAP program. Do anyone know what school is avaliable in the Los Angeles area for Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media Occupation (under the VRAP system)?

  9. Keith says

    I will tell you the advice I have been given. Find the school first, get with there VA representative to confirm that they are part of the VRAP program, and that they can give you a certificate that can be completed within the 12 months required. It is hard to find programs in many of the choices…good luck. Plus to qualify you had to be unemployed and between 30 and 60. But if you do not have do not have extra cash at your disposal to start the first month you can’t even use the VRAP. Make sure the school or training is not at a 4 year university of college.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *