Many high school students are faced with a difficult decision. Should they get a job, go to college or join the military?
For those considering the military, there’s an additional choice. Which branch of the military would they like to join?
While an interested prospect can rely on the military recruiter for information, unfortunately, most recruiters only provide information about their military branch. In other words, you would not get information or advice about the Army from an Air Force recruiter. Here are seven questions you don’t dare forget to ask your recruiter.
This article can serve as a starting point for those who have already made the decision to join the military but are unsure about the branch they want to choose. In order to make an informed decision, they need to compare what each branch offers. This article can also help people who don’t know if the military is the best choice for them.
The first part of the article will help create a needs assessment. This will be used to determine which branch best meets your personal needs. The second part explains the mission of each branch and offers a short comparison of each branch’s Basic Training.
Joining the Military
If you’re seriously considering the military, then you’ve probably checked out one or two branches already. I advise you to look at all of the branches, even if you only visit them on the recruiting website.
I was not interested in joining the Army, however, I did look at their brochures first in order to find out about their programs before I made my final decision. Back then, there was no internet, so I had to look at paper brochures.
One word of caution on making this choice: many recruitment brochures and websites don’t tell the whole story. That’s why you should not base your decision based on the contents of a website or brochure. Nor, should this information be used for or against any one military branch.
When I was a recruiter, many people told me that they weren’t interested, based on what they’d read in a brochure. I would usually tell them that I understood why there they were not interested in joining, but then I’d ask how they could be interested in something they knew so little about? That’s why I tried to take a few minutes to meet people in person, in order to explain more about the opportunities.
Maybe that was a little smooth sales talk, but it was also the truth. Would you want to buy a car based solely on the information on the car maker’s website or brochure? Probably not. Most people would not dismiss a car based on this information unless they totally hated the car.
Are You Sure The Military Is Right For You
Before you set foot in a recruiter’s office, you should have a list of your primary motivators. Your list may be long and include things like job security, technical training, money for college, the opportunity to travel and good pay.
Some lists may only contain one item, such as the chance for full-time employment. The number of items included on your list is not important. What’s important is that you are able to satisfy these motivators.
Regardless of your list’s contents, your first course of action is to put the motivators on your list in order of importance. This is known as ranking order and will help you determine if you should proceed with the military enlistment process.
It should be noted that you will not have the necessary information to determine whether or not to enlist at this time. For instance, if your primary motivator is that you want technical training, you will not be able to know if these motivators will be met unless you’ve taken the physical examination and Armed Services Vocational Battery (ASVAB). In this case, you must assume you’d qualify for technical training and base your decisions on the information you recruiter provides.
Will The Military Meet All Your Needs
You can use the same process that you used to determine if the military is the right choice, to help you choose which branch of the military to join. Start with a list of your primary motivators. Use a yes/no method to determine if each branch of the military can meet your needs. By looking at your list, you can see if any branches meet some, or possibly all, of your motivators.
Once you’ve determined the branch or branches that best meets your motivators, you need to start comparing those branches. You can start by seeing which needs are and are not met by each branch. Consider the negative aspects of not meeting your motivator, as well as the motivators themselves, when doing your comparisons.
After you make your comparisons, based on your motivators, you may still have more than one choice. What should you do? You could flip a coin, but that’s not the best way to make this decision. Instead, you should look at these factors:
Enlistment Length: Some branches have a longer enlistment term that others while offering the same benefits. Ask about the minimum enlistment length.
Advanced Pay Grade: If you meet certain enlistment options, in some branches, you may be entitled to advanced rank.
Training Type and Length: Some training takes longer than others. How long will your training take? The longer the training, the more useful and in-depth is it. You may want to consider how useful your training will be after you leave the military.
Enlistment Bonuses: Don’t use an enlistment bonus as the only factor when you’re trying to choose a branch. However, it if comes to a tie between two or more branches, and only one offers a bonus, that’s not a bad reason to choose a branch.
Additional Pay and Allowance: Some branches may offer additional pay. For instance, if you join the Navy, you may be entitled to Submarine Pay and Sea Pay. Obviously, these are not available to those joining the Air Force.
Ability to Pursue Higher Education: All military branches offer some type of educational benefits, they don’t all provide time for you to take full advantage of these benefits. If you have a job with a 12-hour shift and places you out or in the field, when can you attend classes? In the field, it may even be difficult to take an online class.
Joining the Military
The decision to join the military is a difficult but important one. Choosing a military branch is just as important. You don’t want to make this critical decision based on the general information you receive on a website or from a recruiter.
The purpose of this article was to provide guidance to those trying to decide if the military is the right choice and which branch best suits their needs. It was meant to help you make an informed decision about your military enlistment.