• Entrance Requirements FAQs

    Entrance Requirements FAQs

    Age, physical, educational and other requirement-related questions for those considering joining the Military.

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    Careers FAQs

    Careers FAQs

    Questions about military career fields and how careers are assigned.

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    Military Pay & Benefits FAQs

    Military Pay & Benefits FAQs

    Questions about service commitments, pay, educational, health and other benefits available to service members.

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    Military Recruiting FAQs

    Military Recruiting FAQs

    Military Recruiting FAQs

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    • Expand What should candidates and parents ask recruiters?

      Whatever they are curious about! Recruiters are the very best source of information about what the Military is like, what young people can get from the Service and all the steps in the process of recruiting. It matters that people get accurate and current information, and recruiters are the best resource for answers to even the most difficult questions regarding the Service.

    • Expand Don't recruiters just pressure young people to sign up?

      Recruiters are there to find the right recruits, not just any recruits. The image of military recruiters as high-pressure people who stop at nothing to get a candidate to sign on the dotted line is not only old-fashioned — it's wrong. The Military needs candidates with the ability and the real desire to join. As such, pressuring people to join would do a disservice to both the recruit and to the Military.

    • Expand How can I find a recruiter to talk with?

      A recruiter is the best resource to what the Military — and the specific Service he or she represents — is truly all about.

    • Expand What's the difference between a recruiter and an advisor?

      There is no difference. All recruiters are advisors, helping you understand more about the options available to young people today.

    • Expand Why won't a recruiter call me back/return emails, etc.?

      If you have made attempts to reach a local recruiter but received no contact, try again. And if you are having trouble finding a recruiter, be sure to visit our recruiter page to make sure you locate a recruiter convenient to you.

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    Types of Military Service FAQs

    Types of Military Service FAQs

    Questions about service commitments, pay, educational, health and other benefits available to service members.

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    Parent FAQs

    Parent FAQs

    Common questions parents have about their child serving.

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    • Expand Is my child eligible to serve?

      The minimum age required to join any Service is 18, or 17 with parental permission. Upper age ranges vary by Service and may be waived in some cases. Each Service also has specific height, weight and fitness requirements. Other factors that affect enlistment include education level, number of dependents and financial obligations.

      See more requirements

    • Expand What are the differences between Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard?

      The main differences between Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard are in time commitment and where service members are stationed. After enlisting, your child will leave to complete his or her Service's form of Basic Training. After that, active-duty service members are deployed to military locations in the U.S. or overseas and serve on a full-time basis.

      In contrast, Reserve and National Guard units serve on a part-time basis in the U.S., so your child can still live close to home and maintain a career outside the Military. Reserve and Guard members drill one weekend a month and serve on Active Duty for roughly two weeks out of the year, mostly for advanced training. Both Guard and Reserve members can be activated and deployed overseas if called upon.

    • Expand How long is an average term of service?

      While total length of service commitment varies based on Service branch need and occupational specialty, a first term is generally four years of Active Duty followed by four years in a Reserve unit or Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). IRR members do not drill and are not paid, but may be recalled to Active Duty in times of need until their eight-year total commitment has expired. For more specific information, contact a recruiter.

    • Expand Will my child be able to choose a specific career?

      Jobs, or Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), are assigned based on several factors:

      Essentially, the recruit has some say in career choice, especially once all critical jobs in a Service have been filled. A recruiter will discuss opportunities with your child to ensure the best career fit.

      Explore possible career opportunities

    • Expand What are the day-to-day living conditions like?

      On-base housing varies by rank and family situation. Most single service members starting out are required to live on-base for a period of time. Their housing is similar to a modern college dormitory or apartment complex. Soldiers with families who live on base have a variety of options, such as apartments or single-family homes.

      Service members who live in off-base housing are given a housing allowance based on the number of people in their family and the cost of living in their area. Keep in mind that off-base housing is granted based on a service member’s rank, family status, job responsibility and performance. A commanding officer must approve any request to live off-base.

    • Expand What kind of lifestyle will my child have?

      As in the civilian world, military life varies depending on a service member’s job. Once work or training is done for the day, however, a service member can do as he or she pleases. Many people are surprised to find the Military is much like any other job. Even during deployments, service members may have time for recreation and exploring new destinations.

    • Expand Can my child have a family while serving?

      In general, DoD prohibits the enlistment of any applicant who has more than two dependents under the age of 18. While the Services are allowed to waive this policy, they often will not. In fact, most of the Services are even stricter in their policies:

      * Army: Allows married applicants to have two dependents (or more with a waiver)

      * Marine Corps: Waiver for any dependents is required. Eligibility for waiver is based on applicant's relationship to the dependent (married, unmarried, separated, divorced, etc).

      * Navy: May require a waiver for applicants with dependents, and each case is reviewed independently to determine eligibility

      * Air Force: Allows married applicants to have two dependents (or three with a waiver). Single applicants require a waiver for up to three dependents. No waivers granted for anyone with four or more dependents

      * Coast Guard: Considers dependent waivers based on service needs

      Once serving, all service members are free to marry and have children as they wish. Military health care can be applied to family members and female service members can take maternity leave. For more specific information, contact a recruiter.

    • Expand Can my child still go to college?

      Yes. All Service branches offer the opportunity for higher education, both during and after service. Many military training programs count toward class credit, while some branches offer classes on-base or online (the Air Force, for instance, has its own community college). All service members are eligible for tuition support through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other tuition repayment programs.

      Learn more about money for college

      High school students interested in officer careers may wish to enroll in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at the college of their choice. In exchange for a service commitment, ROTC provides college scholarships and leadership training.

      Learn more about ROTC

      Service Academies offer another opportunity for young adults. These academies provide a strong college education with the discipline of officer training.

      Learn more about Service Academies

    • Expand What kinds of jobs are available to my child in the Military?

      There are thousands of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) across hundreds of fields. Some jobs require prior experience or advanced degrees, but most come with full training. The jobs available at any given time depend on what the Services need, so it’s best to speak with a recruiter for specific information. In the meantime, you can explore possible career opportunities.

    • Expand What kind of training will my child receive?

      To begin with, all recruits undergo their Service branch’s version of Basic Training, commonly known as boot camp. While boot camp varies in duration from Service to Service, the focus is the same: preparing recruits physically, mentally and emotionally for their future in the Military.

      Learn more about boot camp

      Following Basic Training, service members receive advanced training in their specialty. A variety of training methods are used, including classroom instruction, field exercises and simulations. Ongoing training is also available in most specialties to keep service members’ skills sharp.

      Learn more about advanced training

    • Expand Will my child be shipped off right away?

      Following boot camp, most Service branches allow new service members a short break to spend time at home. After that, service members generally spend another six months to a year in advanced training for their occupational specialty before deploying overseas or stateside.

    • Expand Where will my child be stationed?

      With installations all over the globe, it is impossible to predict in advance where a service member will end up stationed. Service members are assigned jobs based on the Service’s needs, their skills and training. The good news is that service members generally know well in advance where they’ll be going. The other thing to keep in mind is that deployment does not automatically mean going to war. Service members may also be deployed for support in noncombat areas, or may be deployed domestically to help with disaster relief.

    • Expand How often will I see my child?

      All active-duty service branches offer 30 days of paid vacation per year during which service members may spend time with their families or plan other Rest and Recuperation (R&R). Options like Space-Available Travel allow troops to fly free of charge on regularly scheduled military flights, provided there is a seat available. This is a great, inexpensive way to get to a destination. Family members are also welcome to visit their service member on-base.

    • Expand How will we stay in touch?

      Even while deployed, service members will usually have access to postal mail, email, instant messaging and phone service (even while at sea). While communication may be restricted during certain missions, modern technology makes it relatively easy for your child to keep in touch.

      If there is a family emergency, you should contact your local American Red Cross office, which can relay messages to U.S. military personnel worldwide.

    • Expand What will my child earn in the Military?

      Military pay is based on rank and time in service, with raises occurring at regular intervals. Compensation is a combination of Base Pay and allowances (housing, medical insurance, and more). All Services use the same Base Pay scale.

      Explore factors that affect compensation

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  • Resources

    Contact a Recruiter

    Schedule a meeting with a recruiter and learn what to expect from your visit.

    Request Info

    Get a complimentary DVD and magazine, plus additional information from each Service, sent to your home.


    Continue your exploration with hundreds of Joining, Training, Working & Living videos. 

    FUTURES Magazine

    Want to see even more of what life in the Military is really like? Check out our FUTURES magazine page! Order or download a complimentary magazine featuring an in-depth look into the lives of the people who make up today's Military, and be sure to check out the accompanying videos.