If you went to high school in the United States, you probably had a military recruiter speak to you about the potential of a military career. There are many benefits to choosing a military career, but you have to make sure you spend the right time researching your options so you end up in an interesting position. Here is some information to help you decide if a military career is right for you.
Benefits of a Military Career
There are many benefits and perks to choosing a career in the armed forces. More than just having an exciting job, you’ll have benefits that will last even after you retire. The Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Navy and National Guard all offer different opportunities in addition to the self discipline and training you’ll receive. Here are a few reasons why a military career is a good idea.
Stable Job and Competitive Pay
Depending on your position in the military, you could end up with a career which would enable you to easily care for your family or to afford some of the nicer luxuries of life. You won’t have to worry about the economy affecting your job since there will always be a need for people willing to serve in the armed forces. Military pay will be constant and reliable, allowing you to actually plan for your future instead of living paycheck to paycheck. Know that a chief warrant officer will make more than a petty officer, so look at a military pay chart to what enlisted personnel can expect to make as active duty personnel depending on rank.
Another great reason to have a military career is the military benefits as far as health insurance and similar services is concerned. Finding insurance for you and your family is expensive, but the military will provide this even if you only enlist in the National Guard.
One of the biggest benefits to joining the military is the pension you’ll receive when you retire. More and more companies are taking away retirement benefits from their employees because they simply can’t afford them anymore. When you have a lifetime career in the military, you’ll be making sure you have a military retirement plan ready when that time of life comes around for you.
In addition to these benefits, you’ll have an exciting career that will take you around the world to exotic locales, introduce you to different cultures and provide life-changing experiences you couldn’t possible get anywhere else.
How to Research a Military Career
Before you consider a career in the military, you should do some personal research to know whether or not it’s right for you. The military offers a lot of great benefits to its personnel, and you can form lifetime bonds with the people who you service with, but it’s also very demanding and requires a full commitment of your time and energy while you are enlisted. You don’t want to sign up for a 4 year commitment to find out the military isn’t for you and that you’ve made a dramatically wrong choice when it came to your career.
The first thing you should do is learn the differences between the different branches fo the military including what their duties are. Find out what career options you could have depending on which branch you enter. A good way to do this is to talk to recruiters, friends or family members who have served in the different branches. Find out what the different duties are during wartime and during times of peace, and look at the personal risk you’ll have to take when you enlist.
Next, determine how much training is required for the position you want. Do you have to go to a military school or college? Or do you simply need to enlist? Some military careers take only the top candidates, so find out early what skills you have to develop so you can get a head start on the competition. The requirements to be in Special Forces or the Navy SEALs are very different than just a basic enlisted person.
If you are already attending college, speak to the local ROTC representative at your school to ask about the possibility of becoming an officer. If you have college experience or a college degree, you can be an office instead of a normal lower-level recruit and instantly gain benefits from doing so.
You can also browse the website for the branch of the military you are thinking about entering to learn more about your career opportunities. Take a lot of time to decide if you want to join the military or not because it will dramatically affect the rest of your life.
How to Choose a Career in the Military
While a lot of people will simply sign their names and then ship off to boot camp, you can actually choose what career you want in the military. You’ll want to take a few steps to make sure you’re going to have the career you want instead of being forced to do something you don’t like. Follow these steps to get the right career as military personnel:
- 1. First, take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (the ASVAB). This is a test which is basically designed to determine your strengths and skills. The test isn’t hard, but you’ll want to develop your critical thinking skills. Your recruiter can help you find ways to practice before taking the test.
- 2. After you’ve successfully taken the exam, talk with your recruiter to find out what your career options are. Your fitness level and career goals will be considered along with your score on the ASVAB.
- 3. Determine what you career goals are. If you simply want to get out into the field as soon as possible, you’ll find a position quickly. If you want to serve in a specific position, though, you may have to wait until there is an opening. Some jobs like public affairs specialist are very competitive and it might be a long time until you find an opening as one.
- 4. Determine if you would like to spend the rest of your life in military service or as a civilian. This will greatly determine which types of positions you look for.
- 5. Always get recruiter promises in writing. It’s always better to have the promises you receive documented so you don’t get accidentally placed in a crummy position.
If you are interested in learning more of the specifics and details of obtaining a military career (such as more specific military pay information or other military benefits), you can speak with a recruiter at your local recruiting office. They’d be glad to tell you more about military jobs and military careers.