If you're mustering out of the U.S. military, you should put Pittsburgh, Pa., at the top of your shortlist of the best places for veterans to start civilian life, new research shows. Pittsburgh winters too cold for you? Then Phoenix in Arizona's Valley of the Sun may be more to your liking.


These cities top a list of the 10 U.S. metro areas that offer America's most recent veterans the best job and education opportunities and provide a higher quality of life in an affordable location. Other cities  on the list were Dallas; Cleveland; Atlanta; Warren, Mich.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; and St Louis.


Researchers evaluated 379  U.S. metropolitan areas based on employment opportunities and sectors that align with military skill sets such as defense, engineering, medical services and aviation, as well as the overall jobs climate based on unemployment rate and job growth.


They also looked at the presence of colleges and universities and high-quality local primary schools, and general quality of life and pocketbook issues such as affordability, crime rate, taxes and recreational opportunities.


The research was sponsored by USAA, a financial services organization serving the military and their families, and Military.com, a military and veteran membership organization.


"Today’s veterans are battling a highly competitive job market and need to proactively plan for life after the military," said Scott Halliwell, a certified financial planner at USAA. "This study allows us to help recent and soon-to-be veterans identify preferred locations throughout the U.S. where they can launch a civilian career and use the G.I. Bill to further their education."


"The millions of young veterans who have already entered the work force and the many more that will join them in the coming years have the opportunity to use the discipline and determination they’ve acquired in the armed forces to make a significant impact in their workplaces and communities," said retired Cmdr. Ward Carroll, editor of Military.com. “Best Places for Veterans was commissioned to help equip this remarkable group with tools for a successful transition."


Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.


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This story was originally written for BusinessNewsDaily and is republished with permission here. Copyright 2012 BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Best U.S. metro areas for veterans
These cities offer America's recent veterans the best job and education opportunities and provide a high quality of life in an affordable location.