Should I Join The Military 11 Reasons The Military Is A Good Career Option
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Have you ever thought about joining the U.S. Military? If the answer is yes, then read on. These benefits of joining the military may be enough to persuade you to take the leap. If you havent considered joining the military, then treat this article as a primer for some of the benefits which may be available to you if you decide to take that next step. And the benefits can last a lifetime!
How To Join The Military After College
After deciding that joining the military after college offers a promising path, many students still have questions about the logistics of such a plan. This section reviews common general requirements alongside the steps students take to join. When reading these, remember that different branches vary in terms of how they enable college graduates to join, but some similarities can be applied across the board.
Are You Eligible To Join The Military
Eligibility rules can be a little confusing. There are different rules for enlisting and for officer programs.
Enlisting: Enlisted members do the hands-on work of the military. They need at least a high school degree a GED may not suffice.
Officer: Officers are the managers of the military. Most officer programs require a college degree at minimum and are very competitive. Many officers have master’s or higher degrees.
Before you visit your local recruiter, be sure you meet the minimum qualifications for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some qualifications are required by all five services:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- You must be at least 17 years old .
- You must have a high school diploma.
- You must pass a physical medical exam.
For each branch, there are slightly different enlistment requirements:
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Becoming An Officer In The Military After College
While its common knowledge that basic training sets recruits on the pathway toward becoming an enlisted service member, those with a desire for leadership opportunities and a bachelors degree can take another route into a military career as a commissioned officer.
The Reserve Officers Training Corps program for college students and Officer Candidate School or Officer Training School for graduates are great options for those who want to earn a four-year college degree before joining the military. Each service branch offers both ROTC and officer schools as entry points to an officer commission.
For Me Joining The Military Was A Grand Adventure A Heros Journey
Joining the Army seemed like an adventure I thought Ill live my action movie fantasy and get college money while Im at it. At that age, I didnt give a millisecond of thought to my own mortality. After all, as 80s action movies illustrated, bad guys have horrible aim.
When my Army recruiter in Texas used to talk about his job in artillery, his eyes sparkled. It was clear that he loved his job . But my mind was firmly set on the infantry, due in part to some weird fascination with hypermasculine men saying catchphrases and shooting bad guys from the hip.
Kids from my generation rushed into military service. Morale was high. By the mid-90s the Soviet Union had collapsed, and our military had just defeated the fifth-largest army in the world in Desert Storm. Twenty years after the end of Vietnam, America was back in the winners circle.
But only a shockingly small percentage of todays young people are considering joining the military. To be clear, my generation, GEN X, was born between 1964-1981, Millennials 1981-1997, and Gen Z 1997 to present.
So, as a member of Generation X, how does my decision to join the Army, , differ from todays youth? And whats stopping them from considering the military as a viable career option, or at least considering the military as a transition between high school and college?
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Enlisting In The Military
Once you have talked to a recruiter, youâll set a date to visit a Military Entrance Processing Station to finish the enlistment process.
The MEPS is a joint Service organization that determines an applicant’s physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service. There are MEPS locations all over the country.
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About Ryan Guina
Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet’s founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.
Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.
Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.
Featured In: Ryan’s writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine , Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.
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Long Periods Away From Family Or Home
Traveling and seeing the world can certainly be advantages of military life, but for some, homesickness and missing important family eventsholidays, the birth of a child, caring for a loved onecan be too much to sacrifice.
Most military members must regularly travel throughout their time in service. This travel could be within the United States or across the globe. It’s important to determine if traveling is something you and your family are willing to commit to for the length of your contract before joining the military.
It Is A Huge Commitment With A Contract
Joining the military is a life-changing commitment. When you join the military, you sign a contract that states how long you will serve. This contract is a legal document and cannot be broken or changed. The typical time of commitment is between four and five years, but can be anywhere from two to nine years. Once you’ve signed this contract, you are legally bound to stay in the military for that length of time, and leaving the military early could have serious legal consequences.
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If Youre Overweight But Want To Join The Military These 6 Tips Can Get You There
Over the years, I have had the honor of working with people who wanted to serve but were overweight and didnt meet the height and weight standards required by our military’s recruitment process. Unfortunately, not meeting those height and weight standards is now the number one reason why young men and women cannot join the military.
Previous generations of Americans have faced a lack of education, criminal records and medical issues as the primary reasons for not being qualified to join. With more than 70% of our population considered overweight or obese, the pool of applicants who qualify for service is smaller than ever before. We’re now at the point where obesity can be considered a national security threat.
If you are considering military service, but currently overweight, do not think you cannot serve. I have seen many people drop 50, 75, 100, even 150 pounds to meet the standards to serve.
When we decide to serve, we all will arrive at the recruitment table with a variety of strengths and weaknesses, given our academic and athletic backgrounds. The military still needs you.
You may be a strong former football player and overweight and want to be an Army Ranger. The military still needs you.
Consider this multi-pronged attack on your goals to meet and exceed the recruitment standards of the military.
What Are Your Interests
Joining the military will provide you with specialized training in any number of fields, depending upon the branch you are considering. Think about what skills you would like to possess at the end of your term of service. Learn as much as you can about each branch of military service and see which one will suit your needs. This way, you can serve your country to the best degree possible. US Military 101and Choosing a Military Servicemay help you decide which branch is the best for you.
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If You Really Cant Imagine The Idea Of Complete Structure
If you cant imagine being told what to do, where to go, what kind of tattoos you can have, and how to dress every day, dont join.
Additionally, the rank structure in the military is a one-way road. No exceptions.
Your leadership should never belittle you.
However, there will be times when you are expected to take verbal and/or physical punishment.
On top of that, you are not allowed to give your side of the story.
What You Need To Know Before Joining The Military
If you are considering military service, first of all, THANK YOU! Thanks for considering serving our country. Second, are you really ready? Not just physically ready, but do you know everything you can know about your future profession?
Most people who visit the recruiter get their first education on the military opportunities from the recruiter with very little real research on their own. If you leave your education up to the recruiter, you could be placed into a job that the military needs filling more than your personal interest.
Obviously, the recruiter will fill in the missing pieces, but you have to do your research. You have no excuse every military branch has its own website with forums to ask questions and get answers long before you visit the recruiter for the first time. See the official websites for the hundreds of job opportunities and skills training available in each of the service branches. Have a top three list of what you are interested in doing.
Here are some general rules and information you should have a fair understanding of before you step foot into a recruiter’s office.
What Do You Qualify For?
Most jobs require a certain score on the ASVAB. Make sure you know what you need and study for the test by taking a few practice tests on your own.
If you have a college degree, do you want to enlist or become an officer?
Where Will You Likely Live?
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Travel Opportunities And Vacation Time
The military has installations all around the world and pays for you and your family to get there and back. Your off duty time is yours and you are free to travel and see the world. The military gives you 30 days of paid leave per year, not including weekends and federal holidays.
The military also has several resorts around the world, including the Hale Koa resort in Hawaii, Shades of Green at Disney World in Florida, and resorts in Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Most major military installations also have base lodging , where you can stay on a space-available basis for less than the cost of an off-base hotel.
To top it off, you may be able to jump on a military hop and fly for free if there are available seats. A military hop is a scheduled military flight that may take on passengers on a space-available basis . These tickets are either free, or a very minimal charge . Its an inexpensive way to see the world!
Questions To Ask A Military Recruiter
So youre thinking about joining one of the branches of the Armed Forces, but you have absolutely no idea where to start.
One of the first things anyone will tell you if youre thinking about joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines is common sense advice: talk to a recruiter.
Recruiters know the ins and outs of their respective branches, and can answer literally any question you may have.
However, what exactly should you ask them when you get there? You want to be sure youre getting all the information you need to make an informed decision.
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Going in to your first meeting with a military recruiter without a list of questions is about as smart as it sounds.
Weve compiled this complete list of 41 Questions You Should Ask Your Recruiter from a wide variety of sources, including:
- Military branch official websites
- Forums like Reddit, Quora, and Rally point
- Former recruiters from all branches of the military
- Youtube videos
- and many more
If you already have your heart set on a particular branch, simply click on the branch below and it will take you to the questions you should ask.
If youre still undecided about which branch to join, you might want to check out this article.
It details things like what basic training is like, cool jobs you can do, what a typical day is like, and more, for each branch of the military.
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Questions You Should Ask An Army Recruiter
Note: for a printable version of these questions to bring with you to the Army recruiters office.
1. Can you explain what happens in Army boot camp?
Just like with the Marines, knowing what kind of physical shape you should be in is a plus. The Army recruiter should be able to walk you through the entire process from start to finish.
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2. Do I have to get a haircut?
This question really only applies to women, as men are required to get a haircut in every branch of the military.
3. What happens after boot camp?
Some Army recruits will go straight to a division or brigade right out of boot camp. Others, depending on what job you end up with, will have a much different path.
4. I want to be a . What MOS should I choose?
If you want to be a cop, you might want to go the Military Police route. If you want to be a doctor / nurse, youll want to go the Army Medic route. This assumes, of course, that your ASVAB score qualifies you for the job.
for a full list of Army MOS available.
5. Can I go to college while Im in the Army?
This question really applies to all branches, but the Army does have some special incentives to help you with your continuing education.
6. Where will I be based after boot camp? Can I choose where I want to go?
You Do Not Or Cannot Relocate
Relocations are not uncommon if you join the military. Therefore, if you know that you do not want to or cannot relocate, do not enlist. Since the military has many international bases, military personnel are frequently deployed to foreign soils.
During certain missions, especially in wartime and emergencies, you will likely have to live by the border or combat site, away from your original base. Sometimes, you may have to relocate to places you have never even heard of!
In addition to relocating, you will have to move your residence and family often. If you think this is too much for you to handle and become accustomed to, then you should not join the military.
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Questions You Should Ask A Marine Corps Recruiter
Note: for a printable version of these questions to bring with you to the Marine recruiters office.
1. Whats Marine Basic Training like?
2. Will I go to Parris Island or San Diego for recruit training?
Generally speaking, if youre east of the Mississippi youll go to Parris Island, and west of the Mississippi youll go to San Diego. With that said, if you live in any of the states that the Mississippi runs through, you might go to either.
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3. What happens after marine boot camp?
This will vary dramatically, and will ultimately depend on what MOS you choose .
4. Whats the average drop out rate for recruits?
Its a fact that a certain percentage of Marine recruits will simply not have what it takes to be a Marine. That percentage varies from year to year, and the Marine recruiter will have the most up to date info on that.
5. What are the best jobs for me in the Marines?
Again, this will be contingent upon how well you score on the ASVAB. A higher score will guarantee more job opportunities, while a lower score will limit your options significantly. Other things should be taken in to consideration, like your personality, interests, and potential career opportunities after service.
for a full list of Marine Corps MOS available.
6. Does my MOS have a bonus?
7. What are the benefits after my time in the Marines is up?