The U.S. military has six branches of service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. Each branch has different opportunities and ways to serve, which include full-time active duty and weekend or part-time military service. There are both risks and rewards of joining the military. All branches and types of service require training and can be called upon during a time of need nationally or internationally. Military service benefits can help you pay for college, acquire life skills, travel, learn discipline and teamwork, grow your leadership skills, and serve your country. It is important to have an understanding of the risks, as well as the benefits, of military service and what the commitment to a career in the U.S. armed forces entails.
Enlisted service members are paid based on their contract and rank. Military service is a contract that you sign, with an obligation to serve for a specific amount of time. Some military service contracts include health benefits and housing in exchange for your considerable commitment.
The initial commitment is typically 2-5 years, but can be more depending on the length and cost of training a servicemember receives. Pilots and doctors, for example, commit 8-10 years in exchange for their training. After you have completed your initial service time, you may be asked to extend your contract or re-enlist. It is important to do your research before enlisting to fully understand the risks, rewards, pros, and cons of your decision.
Military housing is available to some enlistees based on their contract, job, rank, location and family situation. During the initial 8-12 week Basic Training period, men and women live in separate quarters known as barracks, which consist of bunks and communal bathroom facilities.
You first must have a high school diploma or a GED to enlist. Each branch of the military has age, test, and fitness requirements. More information can be found at Join the Military.
Military veterans are great candidates for the workforce as they have demonstrated that they can work with others, perform under pressure, and be disciplined. Depending on their service contract, they may be permitted to work another job during their time of service. During or after their time of service, they may also have their college tuition paid in part or in full by the GI Bill. The federal government provides up to date information about military service opportunities at Join the Military.