To Choose Which Military Branch To Join!
If you are seriously
considering joining the military, you probably checked out at least
two of the branches. I advise you to check them all out, even of it
means just requesting literature and reviewing it. Although I was not
interested in joining the Army, I did look at its brochures first to
find out a little about its programs before I made my final decision.
word of caution though: Sometimes (in reality, most times) brochures
to not tell the complete story, and it is very difficult to base your
decision either for or against on the contents of a brochure. When I
was a recruiter, people were always telling me that they weren't interested
because of what they had read about it in a brochure. I'd usually say
something like "I understand why you wouldn't be interested in
joining, but how could you be interested in something you know so little
about? That's why I'd like to take a few minutes to meet with you in
person and tell you a little more about your opportunities."
Smooth sales talk?
Perhaps, but it was the truth. Would you buy a car based solely on the
information contained in a brochure? Probably not! And unless you TOTALLY
hated the car based on the information in the brochure, you would probably
not completely dismiss it as an option.
after checking into the military branches that interest you, there is
clearly only one choice, then your decision has already been made (although
I would question what you have based your decision on). But, if you
are like most people, you will have at least two branches in mind, so
Yourself "What Do I Really Want?"
process of choosing the right branch of the military for you is basically
the same process that you used to determine if joining the military
was right for you. You should start with your list of primary motivators
and use the "yes/no" method to determine whether each branch
can meet all or some of those motivators. Once you've determined which
branch or branches can best meet your motivators, it's time to compare
those branches. What the first branch meets, the second may not; but
what the first branch doesn't, the second one might meet in a big way.
Remember to look for the negative aspects as well as the motivators
of each of the branches as you compare.
After making your
comparisons, you may still find yourself with more than one choice.
What do you do then? You could flip a coin, but I wouldn't advise it.
Instead, you may want to look at some of these factors:
of enlistment- Some branches may require a longer term for
offering the same benefits that you could receive from another branch.
pay grade- You may be entitled to an advanced rank in some
branches based on certain enlistment options.
and type of training- How long will the training you'll receive
take? Usually the longer the training, the more in-depth and useful
it is. You'll also wan to consider how useful the training will be
once you've left the military.
bonuses- I caution you about enlistment bonuses as the only
factor in deciding which branch to choose. If it comes down to a tie
between two branches and only one offers a bonus, it's not a bad reason
to choose that branch.
pay and allowances- There may be additional pay you'd be entitled
to that can only be offered by a particular branch. For instance,
if you join the Navy, you may be entitled to Sea Pay and Submarine
pay, something obviously not available if you join the Air Force.
to pursue higher education- While all military branches offer
educational benefits, you must consider when you will be able to take
advantage of these benefits. If you are in a job requiring 12-hour
shifts and being out in the "field" a great deal, when will
you be able to attend classes?
Still Undecided. What Now?
you have considered these factors, and perhaps some of your own, you
should be able to decide which branch is right for you. If you still
haven't been able to select one branch over another, though, consider
- Ask your recruiter
if you can speak to someone who recently joined.
- If there is
a base nearby, you may be able to get a tour and look at its facilities.
- If you are well
versed in Internet chat rooms, you may want to look for ones that
cater to military members- then ask a lot of questions.
- Talk to friends
and family members who are currently serving in the military. Be careful,
however, not to talk to individuals who have been out of the military
for a while as they probably do not have an understanding of "today's"
military. Also avoid individuals who left the military under less-than-honorable
conditions (for example, someone who was discharged from basic training
If you still are
having problems deciding, maybe you should choose the service with the
best looking uniform!
from the book Guide to Joining the Military, by Scott Ostrow (ARCO Press,
2001) used by permission. (Available for sale online and in book stores)"
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