The Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard are responsible for protecting the United States and its citizens both at home and abroad. Though members of the military endure incredible challenges throughout their careers, joining the military can be a great career choice for individuals who thrive in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
The military offers an array of career opportunities in almost every field imaginable, along with a wealth of other benefits. If you’re looking to start a new career, it’s time to consider just how lucrative joining the military can be.
It’s Easy to Enlist
Enlisting in the military might sound like a daunting process, but it’s actually easy. The requirements to join the military are few in number – you don’t need years of expensive education or decades of prior job experience. In fact, you can enlist as soon as you turn 18.
The U.S. military is one of the only employers that offers excellent long-term job opportunities for students just out of high school. Of course, there are some basic requirements you must meet. In order to enlist, you need to:
- Be a US citizen or Green Card holder who speaks, reads, and writes fluent English
- Be between 17-40 years of age
- Be able to pass a physical (medical) exam
- Have a high school diploma
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test
It’s important to know that each branch of the military does have slightly different age requirements. Some branches of the military will also accept a GED if you don’t have a high school diploma.
If you don’t meet all of the requirements but are a good candidate for the military, a recruiter may be able to ask for a waiver so you can enlist. If you’re interested in enlisting but don’t think you qualify, just speak with a recruiter.
The Benefits Are Great
Benefits packages are important in any job, but today great benefits are becoming few and far between. When it comes to overall benefits and compensation, no organization in the private sector can offer anything close to what the military does.
Joining the military offers incredible benefits like the following, Military.com¹ reports:
- Dependable pay
- Bonuses, including enlistment bonuses for continued service
- Education and career training
- Education benefits when you leave the military
- 30 days of paid vacation annually
- Travel and relocation opportunities
- Fully covered health, dental, and vision care
- Shopping privileges at tax-free commissaries and exchanges
- Tax-free room and board (or a housing allowance if you live off base)
- Special financing options for homebuyers
- Comprehensive leadership training
If you serve in the military for at least 20 years or are retired due to service-related medical issues, you’ll also be eligible for benefits through the Veterans Administration (VA). A military career ensures you – and your family – will be covered in so many ways beyond mere medical benefits during both your years of service and long afterwards.
You’ll Be Prepared for Any Career
Another big benefit of joining the military is access to endless career options. Whether you’re interested in chemistry, want to teach others, or plan on becoming a police officer, you’ll find a military career that offers all the training and education you need to succeed. Each branch of the military offers unique skills and positions that suit any interest.
Having an array of career options is especially helpful if you aren’t sure what career path you want to pursue. In the military, you have opportunities to work in different career arenas and find your strengths. Along the way, you’ll be mentored by experienced soldiers who excel in your chosen field.
When you retire or are discharged from the military, you’ll leave with skills that easily translate to the private sector. Many private employers recruit former military members because they value the extensive professional and leadership training these individuals received. Employers also know that former military members excel in high-pressure jobs and situations.
If you meet the requirements, Feds Hire Vets² writes that you may also receive preference points that help you secure federal jobs. These points give you an advantage over job seekers with no prior military experience. Federal employers are eager to hire veterans because they know vets have already received comprehensive training in their career fields.
How to Begin Your Military Career
If you think joining the military might be the right choice for you, you’ll need to contact a recruiter. You can fill out an online form and a recruiter will get in touch with you. You can also visit your local recruiter’s office. Recruiters work for specific branches of the military, so be sure to search for a recruiter for your chosen branch of service. If you’re not sure which branch you want to join, talk to several recruiters to determine the best fit.
Once you’ve met with a recruiter, you’ll begin the enlistment process. Your first task as a new recruit will be to undergo basic training and graduate. From there, most branches of service will send you to additional, specialized training.
If you’re considering the military but aren’t sure the full-time commitment is for you, consider joining the Reserves or National Guard instead. This is a great option if you’re currently in college but want to serve your country too. Much like full-time military duty, reserve duty offers many financial and training-oriented benefits.
Of course, it’s important to remember that joining the military isn’t like taking a regular civilian job. You’ll be making a commitment to serve your country. Be sure to discuss any concerns or worries you have with your recruiter prior to enlisting.
Ultimately, though, joining the military means you’ll be able to take great personal pride in knowing you served your country while getting excellent career training.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.