Joining the Military
By Rod Powers
Choosing a Service
The United States Military consists of five active duty branches and seven reserve componants. The active duty branches include the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. The Army Reserves, Army National Guard, Air Force Reserves, Air National Guard, Navy Reserves, Marine Corps Reserves, and Coast Guard Reserves make up the reserve componant branches.
- Pros/Cons of Enlisting in the Army
- Pros/Cons of Enlisting in the Air Force
- Pros/Cons of Enlisting in the Navy
- Pros/Cons of Enlisting in the Marine Corps
- 5 Things to Consider Before Joining the Military
- U.S. Military 101
- Which Service is Best for You?
- Recruiting Statistics
Qualifying to Join
There is no right to serve in the United States Military. Congress has given the services the absolute right to set standards for enlistment and commission, and the right to accept or reject applicants based on those standards. Factors such as medical condition, aptitude testing, age, criminal history, number of dependents, and citizenship/legal immigration standards must be met.
- Army Criminal History Standards
- Air Force Criminal History Standards
- Navy Criminal History Standards
- Marine Corps Criminal History Standards
- Criminal History Waivers
- Criminal History Waiver Statistics
The Army and Marine Corps calls their enlisted jobs "MOS's" (Military Occupation Specialties). The Navy and Coast Guard refer to their enlisted jobs as "ratings." The Air Force calls their enlisted jobs "AFSC's" (Air Force Specialty Codes), or "career fields." All in all, there are over 800 entry-level jobs available for enlisted applicants, depending on qualifications and needs of the service.
Enlistment incentives serve to entice people to join the U.S. Military. Some incentives, such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill, are available to all who enlist. Other incentives depends on the particular service, and -- quite often -- the particular job that one qualifies for.
- Incentives Overview
- Montgomery G.I. Bill
- Reserve Componant G.I. Bill
- National Call to Service Program
- College Loan Repayment Program
- Army Enlistment Bonuses
- Air Force Enlistment Bonuses
- Navy Enlistment Bonuses
- Marine Corps Enlistment Bonuses
- Army Advance Enlistment Rank
- Air Force Advance Enlistment Rank
- Navy Advance Enlistment Rank
- Marine Corps Advance Enlistment Rank
- Coast Guard Advance Enlistment Rank
Individuals who possess a bachelors degree may wish to consider joining the Military as a commissioned officer, rather than an enlisted members. Commission officers receive higher pay than enlisted members, but have a greater degree of responsibility, accountability, and authority.
- Army Officer Jobs
- Air Force Commissioned Officer Jobs
- Navy Commissioned Officer Jobs
- Marine Corps Commissioned Officer Jobs
- The Service Academies
- Army Officer Candidate School
- Army ROTC
- Becoming an Army Helicopter Pilot
- Becoming an Air Force Pilot
- Becoming a Navy Pilot
- Becoming a Marine Corps Pilot
Joining the Military is more than just talking to a recruiter and raising your right hand. You'll undergo weeks of processing and interviews, and tons of paperwork before you ship out.
- False Statements on Recruiting Paperwork
- Security Clearance Requirements
- Prior Service Enlistments
- Oath of Enlistment
- Delayed Enlistment Program
In most cases, shipping out requires a second trip to MEPS, where Military officials will recertify your qualifications, discharge you from the Delayed Enlistment Program, and arrange transportation to basic training. Then it's off to boot camp, followed by job training, and finally assignment to your first duty station.
- The 2nd MEPS Experience
- Surviving Military Basic Training
- Getting Married -- Before or After Basic Training?
- Leave (Vacation) After Basic Training