Miltary Academies and Careers

The United States military is the nation's single largest employer. It offers training and employment in over 300 job specialties, 75% of which have civilian counterparts.

  • There are four major branches of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
  • In order to enlist in the military, students generally must be high school graduates, earn a minimum score on the ASVAB, and be of good character. They must also be healthy, in good physical condition, and able to pass a physical exam given by the military.
  • Through the delayed entry program, high school students can be sworn in during their junior or senior year, and delay entry until after graduation. This enables students who want to receive training in a particular career field to have an opening held for them.
  • Because the various military branches each provide different career, training, and educational opportunities, it is a good idea to talk with more than one recruiter.
  • Recruiters can discuss opportunities with you over the phone, or they can set up a time to meet with you.


  • Students serious about exploring opportunities in the military should take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery).
  • The ASVAB is a ten-part, three hour test, which identifies a student's aptitude and strengths.
  • In order to be eligible to enlist in any branch of the military, students must obtain a minimum score on the ASVAB.
  • The higher the student's scores, the more career and training choices s/he will have to choose from.
  • Taking the ASVAB does not obligate a student to the military.

Obligations & Benefits

  • Enlisting in the military is a serious, long-term commitment.
  • When young people enlist, they obligate themselves to two to six years of active duty.
  • In additon to basic pay and free education/training, the enlistee also receives free housing, and free medical and dental care.
  • Most new enlistees begin a pay grade E-1 and receive about $1178.00 a month.
  • The GI Bill provides enlistees with an excellent opportunity to earn money for college while they are in the military. Enlistees contribute $100 a month into a college fund for a year. The government then sends you a check for $1034.00 per month for 36 academic months. The college fund is available to certain jobs and can pay up to $71,000.00.

Basic Training

  • Basic Training is 6-10 weeks of intense physical and mental preparation in which enlistees receive classroom instruction, field training and exercise.
  • Enlistees learn how to take orders and how to live and work in close quarters with a wide variety of people. They also learn discipline, self-control, physical endurance, and respect for authority.
  • Upon completion of basic training, enlistees receive 2-12 months of job training, called Advanced Individual Training (ATI).

The Reserves and National Guard

  • Reservists are part-time members of the military. They go through basic training and job training, but they don't go on active duty.
  • Reservists train for two days a month and two weeks once a year. They are paid for the days they work and also receive educational benefits.
  • Reservists can be called to active duty in the event of a conflict or in the event of a national emergency.

The Academies

  • The Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard each have its own academy (West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and the Coast Guard Academy).
  • These academies offer a free four-year college education to the students they accept.
  • After graduation, these students enter the military as officers.
  • Students interested in applying to one of the categories should start the process in the spring of their junior year, as the application process is somewhat involved.
  • Applicants should have a high GPA in a strong college prep program, high SAT/ACT scores, and be in good physical condition.