Working Overview Working Overview

A sense of purpose. Lifetime career skills. It's work that matters.

  • Working Overview

  • Working Overview

    Working Overview

    Jobs in the Military vary in type of work and responsibility, yet each is essential to accomplishing the overall mission of defending our country. In this section, explore the different types of career opportunities available to service members, learn about the compensation they can expect to receive, find out how to transfer careers to the civilian sector and more. 

    Our Today's Military overview pages show the various stages of a military career, from the joining process to training, working and taking advantage of military benefits. Continue your journey below.

  • Enlisted & Officer Roles

  • Differences between Enlisted & Officer Careers

    • Enlisted


      Enlisted careers are varied, but most involve mechanical, transportation, human service or office skills that transfer to the civilian world. All enlisted jobs require a high school diploma. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee service members will receive their first choice for a career, as the Services determine where each individual's skills are needed most at that time.

    • Officer

      Officers are the managers of the Military, acting in leadership roles that require planning, directing operations and making critical decisions. Officer positions also include civilian careers that require advanced degrees, such as law and medicine. Officers have generally completed a four-year college degree or greater before serving.

  • Career Fields & Profiles



    Search hundreds of roles to find jobs in the Military that fit your skill set and interests. Each job page includes an overview of responsibilities, required training, and related careers for that field.

  • Career Compensation

  • What does each career earn?

    What does each career earn?

    They call it making a living for a reason. Whether a service member has a family to support or is responsible just for himself or herself, salary in the Military provides a comfortable lifestyle with pay that competes with most civilian careers. Salary in the Military comes from two sources: base pay and special pays. Base pay is the same across all Service branches, and increases are based on rank and time in the Service. While not a guarantee of exact compensation, our compensation estimator should give you an idea of the salary and benefits you can earn as an active-duty service member.

    Compensation EstimatoriThis estimate is for informational purposes only, and assumes compensation for one year of full-time active-duty service. Reservists are compensated for one weekend per month and two weeks per year unless deployed full-time.

    To get started, select your options from the dropdown menus below. You can update the information you've already submitted and see how your compensation might change over time.

  • Work After Service

  • Skills for a civilian career

    Skills for a civilian career

    Skills for a civilian career

    While the Military can be a lifelong career choice, featuring a structured environment of job advancement and both personal and professional success, service can also act as a springboard to a later civilian career. Either way, service members have access to resources to make a successful transition into life after serving.

Working Videos

See a sampling of the types of careers available to service members with highlights from our Working Videos page.

  • Road to a Career

    Road to a Career

    Is it possible to find a satisfying and rewarding career in the Military? Yes! Service members talk about the variety of job opportunities and finding the right career for themselves.
  • An Air Force Pediatrician

    An Air Force Pediatrician

    Capt. Ryan McHugh, an Air Force pediatrician, visits with a young patient and his mother at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
  • A Military Working Dog Handler

    A Military Working Dog Handler

    Cpl. Christopher Vogt works as a canine handler and trains his dog, Kepie, to help protect the president of the United States.
  • Career Profile: Aviation Rescue Swimmer

    Career Profile: Aviation Rescue Swimmer

    Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa Dixon explains how Aviation Rescue Swimmers stand alert for emergencies in order to save lives.
  • Ordnance Disposal

    Ordnance Disposal

    In Hawaii, Sgt. Michael Podemski and his unit dispose of unexploded ordnance by blowing it up.
  • 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.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    View answers to commonly asked questions about the Military.

    The Next Step: Living

    The Next Step: Living

    It's not all about work in the Military. Learn about the benefits service members receive and what they do when off duty.

Narrator: When it comes to work in the Military, there are thousands of jobs, and each specialty matters. The captain may be the one in command, but they can't do it alone. From the radar tower to the galley, from charting new courses to maintaining the ship, thousands of people come together in service. Like the parts of a complex machine, each piece fits together to form the working whole.

You've seen some careers in films and on TV. But that's only part of the story. Science, engineering, medicine and communications are just a few of the many fields available. And almost any job found in the civilian world also exists in the Military.

If you enlist, choosing a specialty is a careful balance between what fits you best and where you're most needed. A test will determine your strengths, how you fit into the whole and what your piece to contribute could be. Officer careers often involve leadership and working with enlisted service members to make critical decisions. This requires trust. Most importantly, you have to trust yourself, your own abilities.

With so many options, you're sure to find fulfilling work in the Military, with regular opportunities for advancement. And while service can last a few years or a lifelong career, the training and experience gained in these jobs is something civilian employers value highly. So whatever you do, with Military experience you're ready for the next step.