Careers in the Military

Careers in the Military

In each branch of the military, there are enlisted personnel and officers

Generally speaking, those who are enlisted begin in the military after receiving their high school diploma but without any college degrees. To become an enlisted service member, an individual works with a recruiter for their branch of the military to review their options and make decisions about their future career. 

To become an officer in any branch the military, one must have a college degree. There are four typical paths a person can take to become an officer in their branch of the military:

  1. Attend a service academy after high school. Important details about the service academies can be found by going to their websites: the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, New York - U.S. Army), the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland - U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps), the U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado), or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut). For more information about the service academies, click here.

  2. Attend a college or university and participate fully in their Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. To learn more about ROTC programs & ROTC Scholarships (to help pay for college), click here.

  3. Enlist in the military, earn a college degree (which can often be paid for by the U.S. Government through the Montgomery G.I. Bill), and attend Officer Candidate School (or Officer Training School). 

  4. Seek a "direct commission" based on having specialized skills (and degrees) that fulfill a direct military need, such as: law, science, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, engineering, public affairs, or ministry.

Serving our country is an admirable and very serious commitment. Students are advised to discuss this decision at length with their families and other adults who they trust.


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Additional Resources

Students who are considering a career in the military may also find todaysmilitary.com and www.military.com very helpful.