10 Possible Benefits of Joining the US Army (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 29, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated November 29, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A person wearing a U.S. Army T-shirt uses a laptop and writes in a notebook.

The United States military comprises the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard and Space Force. The Army offers a variety of opportunities to individuals interested in serving their country and gaining valuable experience. If you're considering joining the Army, it may be useful to learn about some of the benefits available to you.

In this article, we list 10 benefits associated with joining the U.S. Army and offer tips to help you prepare for military service in the Army.

10 benefits of joining the U.S. Army

Here are 10 potential benefits of joining the U.S. Army:

1. Skills and training

The U.S. Army can provide you with valuable training in self-discipline and response, which you can apply to a wide variety of careers in the civilian sector. You can also develop your teamwork and collaboration skills by working in groups and completing missions. As you progress in rank, you may also gain leadership skills, including delegation. Organization, precision, accountability and communication are other beneficial transferable skills that you may gain during your time in the Army. You can apply these skills to a variety of management and leadership positions in a range of industries.

Related: Job Search Guide for Former Military Members

2. Educational opportunities 

The Army offers several benefits to help you receive an education during or after your service, including tuition assistance and loan repayment programs. These benefits can help you gain additional skills and knowledge. Some of the benefits the Army offers include:

  • GI Bill: The GI Bill is available to U.S. Army soldiers and veterans who served on active duty for at least 90 days and who have a high school diploma. It entitles them to certain benefits and can help pay for their tuition, allowing them to attend college, trade school or technical school. 

  • Financial aid: The Army also offers a variety of financial aid opportunities to help active duty, reserve or Army National Guard soldiers. These opportunities allow for tuition reimbursement and the cancelation of certain student loans. 

  • Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC): ROTC is an organization that offers scholarships to students who want to join the U.S. Army as an officer. It allows them to earn a free college education in return for an eight-year service commitment upon graduation. 

  • Green to Gold: The Army's Green to Gold program provides tuition assistance to active-duty soldiers, allowing them to complete a bachelor's degree or master's degree program. As they complete their degree, they can also earn a commission as an Army officer. 

  • Certifications: While in the Army, soldiers may have the opportunity to earn a variety of certifications from the Army Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL). These certifications can be beneficial for a variety of positions in both the Army and the civilian sector. 

  • Postgraduate scholarships: The U.S. Army also offers graduate-level scholarships to people who want to study law or medicine or attend seminary school. Two-, three- and four-year military scholarships are available for candidates who fulfill certain criteria.

3. Pay structure 

U.S. Army personnel have the opportunity to earn a salary like they would in the civilian sector. Full-time enlisted soldiers can earn basic pay or a base amount. This amount varies depending on rank and experience. Higher-ranking soldiers with more experience have the opportunity to earn a higher salary. The longer you serve in the Army, the more opportunity you may have to advance in rank and earn more. If you decide to earn a degree and become a commissioned officer, you may be able to increase your earnings. 

Related: Q&A: What Makes Up a U.S. Army Salary?

4. Bonuses and allowances

The Army offers a variety of bonuses and allowances to incentivize longer service. Active-duty soldiers can receive free allowances that pay for their cost of living, food, clothing and moving expenses. Family separation allowances are also available. The Army also offers up to $50,000 in enlistment bonuses for certain jobs. Reserve and active-duty U.S. Army personnel earn a variety of additional bonuses when they develop certain specialized skill sets. 

Related: How To Choose the Right Career Path for You in 9 Steps

5. Leadership and advancement opportunities

The Army offers numerous opportunities for you to advance into leadership roles and help others increase their skills and improve their discipline. In the Army's nine-week Basic Training program, you can learn about the branch's basic tenets and receive the opportunity to demonstrate your leadership potential. While serving in the Army, you may be able to increase your rank and gain additional opportunities to lead and mentor others and advance your career. 

Related: How To Become a Squad Leader in the Army

6. Subsidized homeownership

The Veteran Affairs (VA) Home Loan federal program helps individuals who are currently serving or previously served in the Army receive better loans and terms when purchasing a home. The VA's home loans can make it easier to own a home with zero down payment. VA loans are available to active-duty soldiers who served for at least six months. A reserve soldier can apply after six years of service unless ordered to back to active service. 

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Join the Military (And 5 Reasons You Shouldn't)

7. Medical coverage

The U.S. Army offers high-quality health care benefits to active-duty soldiers, including dental, vision, pharmacy, and life insurance coverage. Coverage for military spouses and children is also available. Part-time soldiers can also enjoy low monthly costs. Included in the Army's extensive medical coverage are access to military hospitals and clinics at bases around the world, both in-network and out-of-network health care options and a variety of programs and services for families who have children with special needs. 

8. Work-life balance

The Army offers active-duty soldiers 30 days of leave each year, allowing them to spend time with their families. Family benefits like paid parental leave are also available to soldiers who have family obligations and require a certain amount of time off. While the Army requires soldiers to have some schedule flexibility, it may also offer them the chance to adjust their working hours and schedules, depending on their rank. 

9. Veterans' benefits

After completing your service in the Army, you can enjoy a variety of additional benefits for veterans, including travel, restaurant and hotel discounts. The Army's Transition Assistance Program (TAP) can help you prepare to leave the Army. The Army also offers employment resources to help you develop your resume and job application. Through the VA, you can access free personal and group therapy, mental health treatment programs, and drug and alcohol treatment opportunities. 

Related: 10 Best Career Paths for Veterans Looking for Work

10. Retirement benefits

The Army's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) functions similarly to a 401(k) plan, allowing you to save a small amount of your paycheck for your retirement. If you leave the Army, your account remains open, and you can continue to add money to it. The Army also offers eligible soldiers the opportunity to receive a pension, allowing them to earn a fixed paycheck after they retire. To qualify for a pension, you need at least 20 years of active-duty service. 

Related: What Is a Pension Plan and How Does a Pension Work?

Tips for joining the U.S. Army

If you have an interest in joining the U.S. Army, here are some tips to help you prepare for training:

  • Meet with a recruiter. Arrange a meeting with a recruiter near you to learn about the Army's updated requirements and determine whether you want to enlist or complete your education and become an officer. 

  • Use the Army's resources. Use the resources available on the Army's website to learn more about life as a soldier, find out what the requirements are for joining and discover what additional benefits might be available to you.

  • Prepare for the ASVAB. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple-choice assessment that can help predict what job you might qualify for in the Army, and you can prepare for this assessment by reviewing sample questions and using online resources. 

  • Develop fitness goals. To join the Army, it's necessary that you meet certain physical standards and pass a fitness test, so it can be beneficial to develop a set of fitness goals and work toward achieving those goals each day.

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