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What Is The Minimum Years To Serve In The Army


A Most Important Document

The Military Service Obligation – Do you have to serve 8 years minimum in the military?

One of the key documents you must complete in your journey toward military retirement is DD Form 2656, Data for Payment of Retired Personnel which asks you to select:

  • Retirement pay options
  • Beneficiaries in the event of your death
  • Federal/State Tax Information
  • Survivor Benefit Coverage choices

You will need bank routing numbers and other sensitive data be sure you have your bank account details handy when filling out this form. You will be required to submit DD Form 2656 to your personnel center or orderly room.

Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News

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Army Or Civilian Career

Whether you choose to remain in the Army after your five-year commitment is a decision you do not need to make now.

West Point graduates are highly sought after. Those choosing a civilian career have attained great success in different professionsas doctors, CEOs of major companies, and engineers the possibilities are endless.

Graduates who pursue an Army career do so because they feel the commitment and satisfaction of serving their country. The Army family takes care of its own during active duty and upon retirement after 20 years of service, you receive a generous guaranteed pension and reduced medical care for life, plus many other benefits.

For more information about careers and jobs, visit the following website:

Join The Regular Force

Members of the Regular Force serve full time protecting Canada and defending our sovereignty. They contribute to international peace and security, and work with the United States to defend North America. They are ready to respond at a moments notice to threats, natural disasters or humanitarian crises at home and around the world.

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What Do I Need To Know Before Starting An Armed Forces Career

Armed Forces

In association with

Once you decide to talk to a recruiter, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible, develop some idea of what you want, and know the questions that you want answered.

In general, your questions should help you:

  • Understand eligibility and military life
  • Pick the right Service for you
  • Understand the jobs youre eligible for
  • Understand the benefits you can get
  • Get the best benefits package possible
  • Prepare for Basic Training and a military career

Here are some recommended questions to start you off:

1. How long do I have to sign up for? Whats the minimum commitment?The minimum commitment after completion of initial training for the different Services is:

  • Royal Navy 3 years and 6 months
  • Royal Marines – 3 years and 6 months
  • Army 4 years and 3 months
  • RAF 6 years

2. Am I eligible for any special enlistment programs or bonuses? Make sure you tell the recruiter all your qualifications and if you are thinking of doing any trades like engineering that are currently in demand as you might qualify for a Golden Hello.

3. What are the major differences in pay, benefits and job opportunities between Services? While the wages are broadly equivalent across each Service, the travel opportunities, job availability in the different trades and promotion rates can vary greatly. If you are considering more than one Service, ask the recruiters the same questions and compare the answers.

5. How long is Basic Training? Where is it?

Licenses Certifications And Registrations

US Military Enlistment Age Limits

Depending on the occupational specialty, members of the military may need to have and maintain civilian licenses or certifications. For example, officers serving as lawyers, also known as judge advocates, may need to have and maintain their state bar licenses to enter and remain in the U.S. military.

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Common Questions About Enlisted Soldiers

Can I become a commissioned Officer after I enlist in the Army?

Yes, you could earn your degree while you serve and a commission as an Army Officer by taking advantage of the Green to Gold programa two-year program available to Soldiers.

Whats the difference between a Warrant Officer and a commissioned Officer?

Commissioned Officers apply their advanced skills and knowledge to plan and lead missions, as well as train and mentor teams. Warrant Officers remain single-specialty Officers with career tracks that progress within their field, allowing them to serve as experts and advisors for strategic missions.

What happens after I join the Army?

Once youve enlisted, youll join other Army cadets in the three phases of Basic Combat Training, which usually take about ten weeks depending on your chosen specialty. Once you complete Basic Combat Training, youll receive your assignment.

How do I know if I meet the requirements for the Army?

Every situation is unique, so it may help to reach out to a recruiter or read the requirements to join. But generally, if youre a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, 17-32 years old with a high school diploma, youre off to a great start.

Can I change jobs after I join?

Yes, you can work with an Army career counselor to pursue new jobs and promotional opportunities with a reclassification request.

Get in Touch.

S For Joining The Military

Start by doing some research about your options for joining the military. Learn about the six active-duty branches and their part-time counterparts. Know the main differences between officers and enlisted members. And explore the career fields you can enter for each branch.

Once you know which branch youre considering, contact a recruiter. A recruiter will give you an overview and answer your questions about that service. If youre interested in more than one branch, contact a recruiter for each. If youre interested in joining as an officer, the recruiter will explain any options you may be eligible for.

If you decide to enlist, you will report to a military entrance processing station . Youll spend a day or two completing pre-enlistment steps. These include taking the ASVAB, having a physical exam, meeting with a career counselor, and if youre accepted, taking the oath of enlistment. From there youll receive orders for basic training, usually to start within a few weeks. If you enrolled in a delayed entry program, youll go home and get orders for basic training within a year.

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Army Promotion Timeline For Junior Enlisted Ranks

An E-1 is the lowest rank in the Army. E-1 is the initial rank for those just coming out of basic training.

Also, to promote to an E-2, which is a private second-class, you need six months of service.

Afterward, promotion to an E-3, or private second class, happens after 12 months as an E-2.

Lastly, to continue to a Specialist , you will need two years of service and at least six months of time in pay grade.

There are three levels of Noncommissioned officers in the Army.

Submit Your Application 3aptitude Test

2-6 Year Army Contracts | What’s The Difference + Pro Tip

You will take an aptitude test to determine which military occupations are the best fit for you. Preparation is key so make sure you are well rested, healthy, on time, and careful with your answers. You will be tested on verbal skills, spatial ability and problem solving. It will take approximately 60 minutes to complete a series of three Canadian Forces aptitude tests. The following practice aptitude test will provide you with an example of the style and structure of what you will experience when you write the real test at a Recruitment Centre near you.

You will also complete a personality inventory which provides information on your personal characteristics and qualities. To learn more about your personality and how it can influence job choices, check out this personality assessment.

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What Are The Most Common Complaints About Army Life

Most soldiers enjoy their contracts in the Army. That said, gripes on army life do occur.

The heavy work periods and long durations away from family are amongst the top complaints.

Some say it has been difficult to complain when needed, others are only offended by annual leave being affected by operations.

Submit Your Application 4medical Exam

You will then take a two part medical exam: First there is a questionnaire on your medical history including specific information on your medication. Then the medical staff will conduct a physical exam to measure your height, weight, evaluate your vision, colour perception and hearing. The second step is a medical file review to determine any limitations that will affect your training and career.

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Can I Join With Asthma What About Poor Vision Or Hearing

In some cases, yes. Asthma is only disqualifying if it occurred after an applicants 13th birthday. Hearing, vision, and asthma qualifications are typically determined by medical exams and are not service-specific. If a doctor denies an applicant, that applicant can still request an asthma, vision or hearing loss waiver.

My Asvab Scores Are Too Low Does This Mean I Can No Longer Join

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Not necessarily. The Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery helps the Army determine who is or isnt qualified to become an enlisted Soldier. However, we understand extenuating circumstances can impact ones ability to test or test well. The Army does offer ASVAB waivers for potential recruits. The easiest way to learn about your eligibility, the waiver process, and your next steps is to talk with your recruiter.

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Changes In Length Of Active Duty

When you join the Navy, whether as an enlisted person or an officer, no matter what it may say about your required minimum length of time on your service contract, in theory at least, you may find your active duty length of service extended beyond the contract. In practice, that has only rarely happened. What is less unusual, is for sailors and especially Naval flying officers, who have completed active service and who remain in the Naval Reserve, to find themselves recalled to active duty. This happened after 9/11 these additional duty tours were generally for a 24 months.


Joining The National Guard

You must meet specific requirements to join the National Guard, advises the Army National Guard. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident between the ages of 17 and 35. You must have a high school diploma, GED, or be at least a junior in high school. Individuals who are under the age of 18 must have permission to join from their parent or legal guardian, specifies the Army National Guard.

In addition, you must be able to pass a medical exam and physical fitness test. Prior to enlisting in the military, you take the multiple-choice Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. Your score on the test determines what jobs you are eligible for.

There are more than 150 MOS options to choose from. You can pursue a career in fields such as administration, aviation, intelligence, mechanics, police, medical, logistics, munitions, technology or transport, advises the Army National Guard. You can also become a special forces soldier or select a career in STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


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Whats My Obligation If I Join The National Guard Or Military Reserves

Joining the military reserves or National Guard is a significant time commitment. This is true, especially at the beginning. You will get settled in your permanent unit. Then, you can expect to attend unit assembly, known as drill, one weekend per month. You will also participate in a two-week annual training each year.

  • Initial training: As a new military member, you will attend your branchs basic military training. That may last from eight to 12 weeks. Depending on your job, you may also attend an advanced training course.
  • Monthly drill: Youll need to drill for 48 periods or units per year. Most units drill one weekend per month. A typical weekend drill has four periods. Some military units have additional drilling requirements, which may include the weekday.
  • Annual training: Youll also need to participate in annual training for two weeks per year.
  • Activations: You may be activated to full-time service in a voluntary or involuntary status. This can be with your unit or individually. These activations may vary in length and location. They may include 30 days in a unit near your hometown. Or up to a year supporting a mission outside of the United States. Generally, you cannot opt out of involuntary action. This is because the military has ordered you to active service.
  • Length of commitment: Your total contract may range from three to eight years. This depends on the branch of service and your specific occupation/job.

Minimum Military Enlistment Age


The minimum age to enlist in most military branches is 17 with the written consent of a parent or 18 without parental consent. If you are interested in joining the U.S. Navy Reserves, you must be at least 18 years old.

Minimum age limits are considered along with minimum education requirements. You will need at least a high school diploma or General Education Development certificate regardless of age or parental consent. Potential candidates for officer programs must also meet the minimum age limit.

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How Old Do I Need To Be To Join The Regular Army

To join as a soldier you must:

  • You must be at least 16 years old to join the Army as a soldier.
  • You can start your application when you’re 15 years and 7 months.
  • Be enlisted before your 36th birthday
  • If you’re under 18, you’ll also need parental consent to join

To join as an officer you must:

  • Be between 18 and 29
  • Higher age limits apply for specialists, eg Doctors
  • Over 30s are considered only by exception, on a case by case basis. Please contact us on to discuss your options
  • Scholarship applicants must be under 18 on 1 August in the year of the award

What Kind Of Benefits Will I Earn

For your commitment to the National Guard or military reserves, youll receive many benefits including:

Joining the National Guard or military reserves can be a great way to serve your country without leaving your full-time job. Once you decide to join, you can learn more about your new community. See Military OneSources New to the Military resources. Military OneSource can answer your questions about military life. Call 800-342-9647 or connect via Live Chat 24/7/365. OCONUS/International? View calling options.

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Help Defend Australia And Its Interests

Whatever your role, it’s important to remember this key purpose of the Army. You could be called upon to deploy to or near a combat zone, or find yourself supporting a peacekeeping mission. Other work could include helping communities devastated by natural disasters and engaging in search and rescue operations.

I Have Adhd Can I Join The Army

What Is The Maximum Age to Enlist in the Military?

Yes. Previously ADD or ADHD was automatically disqualifying, but today it is only disqualifying if the applicant has been treated with ADD/ADHD medicine within the previous year or if they display obvious signs of the condition. If you are concerned about ADHD medical prescriptions, talk to your recruiter about potential options.

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Us Coast Guard Age Limits

The United States Coast Guard has over 40,000 active-duty personnel.

There are a small reserve fraction of approximately 7,000 members.

The Coast Guard also employs a sizable civilian workforce.

Overall, the U.S. Coast Guard is the smallest of the military branches .

Here are the minimum and maximum ages required to join the U.S. Coast Guard:


Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 31 years old


Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 31 years old*

*Up to 32 if qualified for attending guaranteed A School.

What Are Minimum Service Years In The Navy


There was a time in the U.S. Navy when all enlisted personnel signed up for a three-year enlistment period. Today, the three-year enlistment period for enlisted personnel is just one of several possibilities. For officers, the most common duty tour is for eight years – three or four years in active duty, plus four or five more in the U.S. Navy Reserve, bringing the total to eight years. Other service lengths for Naval officers, however, are not unusual. Some Naval officer occupations – flight status, for example – usually require eight years of active duty service from the date of graduation from flight school.

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How Long Would You Have To Stay In The National Guard


The Army National Guard offers an opportunity to serve in the military part-time while still attending college or working your regular job. National Guard length of service is eight years, although you may not need to be active during that entire term.

Us Marine Corps Age Limits

Age Requirement to Join the National Guard

The United States Marine Corps has 182,000 active duty service members.

Its a competitive military branch to join and the second smallest.

Additionally, the Marine Corps utilizes 38,500 reserve personnel.

The Marine Corps has straightforward rules for their age limits:


Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 28 years old


Minimum Age: 20 years oldMaximum Age: 28 years old

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How Old Do I Need To Be To Join The Army Reserve

As a Reservist soldier:

  • Be at least 17 years and 9 months when you apply.
  • You can join most roles until you are 43 – check rolefinder for more information about the role you are interested in joining
  • There are higher age limits for some specialist roles

As a Reservist officer

  • Be at least 17 years and 9 months when you apply. Apply by the time you’re 48 years and 9 months.
  • There are higher age limits for some specialist roles

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