There are many reasons to join the Armed Forces, but many people do not realize that, in addition to being a soldier, someone who enlists can also contribute on a professional level. Doctors, scientists, engineers, combat specialists, lawyers, mechanics, and technicians of all kinds are needed and valued members of the military. Even when there are no active military operations taking place, the military still has many important duties that require a massive amount of coordinated work and energy.

Military personnel are divided into two categories: enlisted and officers. Each category has different requirements and qualifications, and each has different career opportunities available to them. Both have a wide variety of positions so it is best to check which category the military requires for the career you are looking for. These military divisions include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Air National Guard, and Army National Guard, as well as the Reserve divisions.

Even sole branches of the military can encompass massive operations of thousands of people, all of whom must be working towards a common goal, with a clear understanding of their place and contribution. Officers are often a part of the managerial job category, overseeing or directing the work of enlisted personnel. Becoming an officer usually requires additional training and education that is not required of enlisted men and women.

Responsibilities and duties may include:

  • Using and repairing important equipment for military use
  • Training and advising personnel
  • Creating plans for organization and action for military operations
  • Overseeing the training and deployment of troops
  • Coordinating personnel and supplies over large distances
  • Providing technical support in a variety of ways
  • Using professional/career experience and skills to contribute overall


There is no single path to joining the military. People interested in joining can visit a recruiter to learn more about what they can offer and what the military is looking for. Depending on a person's education, experience, and interests, there are many opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way, in a well-matched career. Each branch of service has different occupational programs and options. Training and education in civilian life can be very beneficial and assist with career training in the military. Someone with a background in mechanical engineering may be assigned similar work, as would a person in the healthcare industry.

A four-year college degree is not typically necessary, but future workers still need a thorough education. Just how thorough depends on the kind of mechanist, machinist, or technician you wish to be. Because several of these categories of focus involve critical and intricate work, workers frequently need licenses and certifications in order to work professionally. Graduation from a formal educational program can add to a resume when applying for jobs, because the employer knows the person has been thoroughly trained.

Joining the military is a big decision, because unlike other careers, military personnel sign a contract for a set amount of time to serve. Quitting in the middle is not an option. Candidates should thoroughly research the life and expectations of military personnel and even speak with people currently serving to learn more about the experience. There are usually more than one kind of enlistment option offered, so people can commit to service for different lengths of time.

To truly be proficient and efficient, the worker must have thorough understanding of the materials and technology he or she works with, along with detailed knowledge about safety rules, policies, and practices. The training doesn't truly end for this occupation. As technology continues to evolve, workers must keep up to date with new models, applications, and technologies. This may require additional classes or training, or simply self-education.

And yes, it is possible for the military to reject a candidate; there are no guarantees. The Armed Forces put candidates through a wide selection of tests to evaluate physical and emotional health, intellect, aptitude for certain skills or kinds of work, and other details. This process helps them choose suitable personnel and to make sure they and their skills are put to the best use possible. Additionally, candidates must pass a drug test and background investigation, be a U.S. citizen or be a permanent resident, and have no felony convictions. There are also physical requirements for age, weight, and overall health.


  • Mental preparedness Much of the work in this industry is specifically for a customer-installing, maintaining, or repairing a person's car, refrigerator, computer, or appliance. Knowing how to interact with customers, how to explain assessments and fees, and solve problems is a critical, overlooked aspect of these jobs.
  • Physical fitness. The bigger the job, the more parts involved. Machines and technology involve complex designs and structures and problems arise when even the smallest piece malfunctions. Workers need to be able to focus and have a critical eye for all parts of the project.
  • Readiness. Because so much of the work is physical, workers know they will have to get their hands dirty. Pieces, parts, and technology can be delicate and the work precise.


Opportunities in the Armed Forces are projected to be good. The needs of the military change along with changes in national defense or armed conflicts, but they depend on a steady stream of enrolments to compensate for personnel who retire or choose to leave after their contract ends. Military spending relies on decisions by big government, so they are subject to fluctuation. 

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Military careers Military careers

Members of the U.S. military service train for and perform a variety of tasks in order to maintain the U.S. national defense. Servicemembers work in occupations specific to the military, such as fighter pilots or infantrymen. Many other members work in occupations that are equivalent to civilian occupations, such as nurses, doctors, and lawyers.'

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