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Branches of the U.S. Military

Last updated August 17, 2023

Branches of the U.S. Military

Not sure which branch of the U.S. Military interests you? There are 5 traditional branches of the Military: US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Figuring out which branch is right for you is a personal journey, but we’re here to help! Enlisting in the Military can provide you a constant paycheck, on the job training, benefits, and more. Check out this article on the GI Bill to learn how military service can help you pay for college, certifications, and other educational costs.

Take time researching each of the different branches of the U.S. Military.

Read as much as you can, keep track of what interests you or what you are interested in experiencing, and make a list of questions you still have. Bringing this information when meeting with a recruiter is a helpful tool to get started.

Decide if you are interested in a full or part-time commitment.

Active Duty is a full-time commitment and equivalent to a full-time civilian job. You will live on base or in military housing. After boot camp, as a full-time member, you will be stationed at a base within the States or abroad. Service commitments last two to six years and depends on the unit’s mission.

Reserve is a part-time commitment where service members can become active duty in times of war or national emergency. Since you are part-time, you can work in a civilian job or take college classes simultaneously. After boot camp, you will participate in training drills one weekend a month. Each year you will also have a required two-week program. There is the option to switch to active duty to finish your service commitment.

National Guard is also a part-time commitment where the branches are controlled at the state level, where each state has its own Guard. As a service member, you can work in a civilian job or take college classes simultaneously. The National Guard have training drills one weekend a month with a required two-week program per year. The National Guard can be deployed overseas in times of conflict for combat or in humanitarian tasks (building schools, community projects).

Want to learn more? Check out how your military service and the GI Bill can help you pay for college! If you have any questions click here to text one of our college advisors for personalized help. 

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