Service Branches


Today’s Navy handles operations on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground. It spans 82 international ports and the open ocean. Elite groups within the Navy, such as the SEALs and Navy Divers, receive specialized training for advanced warfare situations. A Navy Sailor generally serves a term of four years aboard one of the Navy's 290 deployable ships, though options for shorter time commitments exist.

Learn more: Navy

Serving in the Navy

Service members share their views on the Navy.

Video Published on July 29, 2021

Length 1:09 View Transcript


Lt. Alex Burtness: I knew that I wanted to go to a service academy and for me the Naval Academy was the obvious choice just because you had the option of you know, flying jets, becoming an EOD tech, you know leading Marines, driving ships, driving submarines.  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Crandall: After high school, I decided that I didn’t want to just go right to college. I figured I would join the Military, do something for my country, and maybe get a little money for college on the side.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Glaude: Talking with friends who are back home, it’s actually pretty exciting because, you know, they’ve been in Texas the whole time, and I’ve been in two years and I’ve seen eight different places. Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more than — than what I can measure. Like, in college courses or in money in the bank account — the life experiences I’ve gotten, I’ve got from the Navy and just the growing up, the maturity that I think I’ve gotten from the Navy.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover: You really see how much you impact the Navy. It’s definitely humbling.

Lt. Alex Burtness: Military service is very fulfilling. The opportunity to serve your country and work with other like-minded people and particularly for me the opportunity to do this job, I really can't imagine a line of work that is more fulfilling.

Before Serving in the Navy

To enlist in the Navy, you must be between 17 and 41 years old, or between 19 and 37 to become an Officer. A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may also be accepted. All Navy recruits must take the ASVAB test to determine placement within the Service. Interested college students are encouraged to investigate the Navy ROTC program.

Navy training begins with seven to nine weeks of Boot Camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Rigorous physical and classroom exercises transform civilians into Sailors and prepare them for their first tour of duty.

Navy Careers

Navy Careers

Today's Navy is a high-tech organization with career paths in more than 150 different fields. You might picture yourself aboard aircraft carriers and submarines, but you're just as likely to monitor nuclear power operations or be in the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Whether you are interested in full-time service, or part-time service with the Navy Reserve, find your place among the aviators, scientists, nurses and technicians who call the Navy home.

Navy Benefits

Yes, the Navy provides a regular salary, health care and occupational training to all its members, plus additional pay for eligible specialists such as aviators, divers and submariners. But the employment benefits don't stop there. From educational support to 30 days of vacation to extensive travel in exotic places, the Navy has more benefits than meet the eye.

Types of Military Service

The U.S. Military consists of six active-duty Service branches and their respective Guard and Reserve components. Together, they offer a broad variety of ways to serve.