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Parents want the best for their children — a meaningful and rewarding career, training and preparation for the future, and fun and adventure.  Today’s Army offers all this and more to America’s young people.

Be able to answer your children’s questions about the U.S. Army and what it has to offer them. These questions provide a starting point for you to discuss an Army career choice with your daughter or son.


How does the military compare with the private sector?

The Army offers stable but challenging careers with regular promotions and often accelerated responsibility.  It provides training in over 150 specialties, many of which have civilian counterparts.  The Army also provide leadership experience and training that help people excel if they choose to leave the Army following their commitment.  Other benefits that make the Army a good choice include: early retirement programs, health and dental care, 30 days paid vacation each year, veterans benefits, competitive pay, and a variety of ways to earn money for college and training.


When is the next time that I will be able to see my child after they leave for Basic Training?

In most cases you may see your child when they graduate from boot camp.  However, this depends on the service and assignment they select.


How often will my child be away from home?

Travel is part of military life.  The amount of travel varies greatly from service to service and assignment to assignment.  However, some services will guarantee applicants’ duty locations if they meet certain qualifications.


Will the military prepare my child prepare for a civilian job?

Yes. The Army offers over 150 careers, most of which have direct counterparts in the private sector.  Additionally, service in the military builds leadership skills and personal responsibility traits that many employers look for in employees. Lean more about translating military skills to civilian jobs.


Can the Army help my child pay for college?

Yes.  The Army offers a variety of ways to pay for school. Check out our money for college topic. Or Check out Education Channel for detailed information on the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance programs.


What is the difference between enlisting and commissioning?

Enlisting and commissioning (becoming and officer) offer different career paths.  Not all jobs are available in both career paths so you should help your children make sure that their interests and abilities are reflected in their choices.  Becoming an officer is generally available only to college graduates commissioned through ROTC, one of the service academies or another commissioning program.


How much will they get paid?

A person may decide to go Active Duty (Full-Time) or Reserve (Part-Time).  Here are the pay scales for each:


How long is my child’s commitment?

This depends on what route they choose (active duty or reserve), what career field they pick, and the training they accept. Some enlistment terms are as short as two years.


Could my child get hurt?

Like any job, possibility for accidents exists and some careers are more physically demanding than others.  However, the Army makes every effort to ensure that all of its members are safe.


Are there medical benefits?

Members of the military and their families receive outpatient care at military hospitals and clinics at no charge. There is a nominal charge for inpatient care of family members. For families not located near military health facilities, the military medical insurance program (TRICARE) pays 80-100 percent of the costs at civilian hospitals and clinics. Dental care is free to service members. There is a minimal cost for family members.


How much vacation time will they earn?

30 days of vacation with pay each year and federal holidays.


How old does my child have to be to enlist?

People must be at least 17 years old to enlist with parental consent. Without parental consent people must be 18.


What if my child wants out?

Commitment to the Army is based on a contract, which means that people are legally bound to serve their term. However in some cases, if during basic training they are found to be grossly incompatible with the military they may receive an administrative discharge for the convenience of the service.


What sort of training will they receive?

The training that your student receives depends on the service and career path that they select.  Training will include both job specific proficiency and general military training like team building and leadership.


How can I help?

Be sure that you help your children think through the process completely.  You may want to help them find ways to prepare for the ASVAB (a standardized test used to determine applicants talents) and to evaluate their choices.