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How to join the U.S. Army

Find out the skills needed for a career in the United States Army

How to join the U.S. Army

What they do

Joining the Army means engaging in a career in which jumping out of airplanes and traveling to faraway places are valid job requirements.

A typical day in the life of a soldier starts with physical training, also known as PT. Then a typical 9-to-5 workday follows. After their work days are over, soldiers can take college classes, relax at home, go out with friends; anything that any other professional would do in his or her free time.


From someone who knows

“There are a lot of different things you can do. Money for college was one of my reasons [to join],” says Staff Sgt. Roger Simmons. “I was also looking at it as a progression for jobs because I knew the market wasn’t the greatest. The training and the experience is one of the big things.

Basic training is the same if you’re an infantryman or a cook. From there, you go on to your specific job training. Most people think that your whole time in [the Army] will be like basic training. But really, after basic training, it’s just like any other job. Out in the field, it’s a brotherhood. There really is a camaraderie that you can’t find anywhere else.” 


Your next step

If you’re interested in joining the Army, call your local recruiting office to see if you’re eligible. You can also visit to learn more about enlisting.

Once you enlist, your first job will be to succeed at basic training, a nine-week lesson in soldiering, rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and other skills.

As a soldier, expect to learn discipline, pride, leadership, teamwork and management skills.

Vital Stats

Enlistees must have at least a high school diploma. Officers need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Average salary:
A newly enlisted Private starts at $14,821 as a base salary, not including bonuses and tax-free allowances. Salary increases with rank and time in service.

Random fact:
Qualified military personnel can receive retirement benefits after 20 years of service.


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