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Going into the Military after College: What you should know

 

 

A career in the US military may be gratifying and exciting, with greater progression chances than many traditional employment. After college, joining the military is a quick method to rise in any branch of the military. Those who enlist with a college degree are instantly eligible for officer training, bypassing the time required for general recruits. 

In this essay, we’ll go over how to join the military after college and the advantages of doing so. Also, discuss how to enroll after receiving your degree and provide examples of officer jobs in each branch of the military.

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How to Join the Military after college

Officer Candidate School (OCS) requires a college graduate to be between the ages of 18 and 29, with a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. A potential officer must also be a US citizen and capable of completing the basic training standards that all troops must complete. Instead of signing up for active duty, a college graduate can join the Army Reserve until he or she is 35 years old. 

Officer Candidate School 

A college graduate is sent to Officer Candidate School after nine weeks of basic training (OCS). It is now housed in Fort Benning, Georgia. There are two parts to this 12-week course. The first teaches commissioned officer leadership abilities in the classroom and in the field, while the second puts those talents to the test on an 18-day training mission. After completing the training, the candidate will be commissioned as an Army officer. 

Direct Commission 

College graduates with particular abilities may be qualified for the Army’s direct commission program, which allows them to receive a commission without having to go through officer training. Medical physicians, lawyers, and chaplains are all eligible for the direct commission scheme, although they will need more education than just a bachelor’s degree. 

Reserve Officer Training Corps

The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program assists you in financing your education while also teaching you the leadership skills you’ll need as an Army officer. According to the Go Army website, there are scholarship programs for high school students as well as two-, three-, and four-year choices for students already enrolled in college, depending on how long it takes to get the degree. 

For qualifying students, ROTC scholarships might include lodging and board as well as a monthly living stipend of $420 as of 2021. On the Go Army website, you can start your application for an ROTC scholarship. 

Joining as an Enlisted Soldier or Warrant Officer

A college graduate can join the military or apply for a warrant officer position, both of which do not require a college diploma. Enlistees must be between the ages of 17 and 35, with warrant officer candidates being eligible up to the age of 33. It is necessary to have a high school diploma. Other qualifications for warrant officer candidates vary based on the disciplines they intend to pursue. After serving honorably during the initial commitment, enlisted troops and warrant officers may be able to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS).

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What are the Advantages of Joining the Military After College ?

There are numerous reasons to join the military after earning a degree, and the perks tempt many people to put their education first before taking the plunge. The next section outlines a few compelling reasons why a student would seek to postpone military duty. 

Faster Promotion

Whether joining the AirForce, Army, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard, individuals with four-year degrees can skip general enlistment and go straight to officer training. Officers take on leadership roles and earn better salaries, in addition to saving time spent working their way up the ranks. 

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Repayment Program for College Loans 

Qualified individuals who have not previously served in the military but have current student loans from their undergraduate education can apply for CLRP when they join. While Congress set a ceiling of $65,000, each branch determines its own maximums. The Army and Navy both allow for full payback, whereas the Marine Corps allows for $20,000 and the Air Force $10,000. The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, run by the Coast Guard, is a similar student loan payback program for officers (CSPI). 

Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals 

This program, which is specifically designed for military personnel who have or are in the process of obtaining a health profession-related degree, pays back up to $40,000 per year — minus 25% taxes. Applicants must be a Selected Reserve officer in the armed forces and plan to pursue a job that the Secretary of Defense deems important during a time of war. 

Vouchers for Graduate Education are available through the Graduate Education Voucher Program. 

Any qualifying Navy officer can receive up to $40,000 toward a graduate degree under the GEV program if they plan to fulfill program requirements while off-duty. Applicants must show leadership potential and be pursuing a degree that is related to the Navy’s mission. 

Dental School for Navy Postgraduates 

This program, made possible by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, allows Navy members with a passion for dental health to join the Dental Corps and receive their education for free if they agree to serve in the military for a specified number of years after graduation. 

Legal Education Program with Funding 

Those interested in joining the Army Jag Corps can apply to this highly competitive program, which selects 25 active military lieutenants or captains each year to acquire a government-funded J.D. degree. Individuals selected for this program had an average GPA of 3.47 and an LSAT score of 159 at the time of their selection. Individuals attend a public or private school that offers military members in-state tuition rates. 

Increasing life experience and education. 

Many Americans believe they made the best option for themselves by joining the military right after graduation. Other students, on the other hand, may profit from their time in school, gaining information as well as practical, real-world skills that will help them in the military and beyond.

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Positions that are available in the Military

The following is a list of possible officer posts available to college graduates who join the military in each branch of the military: 

Military Police Officer: Military police officers lead soldiers on Army missions to protect lives and property. Reconnaissance and surveillance, site security and reaction, law and order operations, military internment and resettlement, and police intelligence activities are all supervised by these officials. 

Military Intelligence Officer: Intelligence officers provide critical information to help the Army achieve its objectives. Within the post of Intelligence Officer, there are a variety of specializations available, including counterintelligence and electronic warfare intelligence. 

Infantry Officer: During active land combat, an Infantry Officer is in charge of guiding troops. 

Naval Flight Officers are responsible for coordinating and participating in search and rescue operations, anti-submarine warfare, and sea control missions. 

Surface Warfare Officers: These officers are in charge of the aircraft carrier’s daily operations and defense. 

Nuclear Submarine Officer: Nuclear Submarine Officers are in charge of all areas of naval submarine management. 

A Nurse Corps Director is in charge of overseeing other nursing professionals in the Navy and assisting in the development of naval healthcare policy. 

Weather Officer: A Weather Officer is in charge of providing accurate weather forecasting for planes. Officers who have completed the basic meteorology curriculum and have an undergraduate degree in meteorology or a related discipline are eligible for this position. 

Combat Systems Officer: In electronic warfare, weapons systems, and navigation, Combat Systems Officers serve as mission commanders. To lead missions, these officials use technical equipment. 

This highly trained and elite corps of officers performs a variety of tactical tasks, including personnel recovery, fire support, and battlefield trauma treatment. 

Officers in charge of airfield operations, air traffic control, and airspace management are known as airfield operations officers. As consultants to airfield commanders, they give leadership and technical help.

You can join the military part-time and attend college at the same time

You can join the military part-time (reserves), receive free career training, train once a month and twice a year (annual training), and earn money while attending college. The military not only compensates you for your weekend job and two-week annual training, but they also pay you extra money on a monthly basis while you attend school. The GI Bill is the name for this additional college funding. Furthermore, you may be eligible for funding for part (or all) of your tuition at a state-run institution or university. 

You can join the military full-time while also attending college

You don’t have to pick between the military and college because there are numerous universities that cater to military personnel. You can join the military full-time and then enroll in online college classes or go to a college close to your duty station. As more institutions offer comprehensive online degree programs, enrolling full-time and taking classes part-time is becoming a viable alternative. There are other advantages to this choice as well. You can be trained for free by the military, earn experience, and find a job when you leave the service if you choose a military career that is also useful in the ‘civilian’ world. For example, if you joined the military as an air traffic controller, you’d have the necessary training and experience to operate as an air traffic controller in the civilian market. 

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Serve in the military full-time, complete your service obligation, and then enroll in college

Of course, you might not know why you want to go to college or even if you want to go at all. You could potentially retire from the service after a long career in the military. In either case, if you join the military and follow through on your commitment, the military will support your college education. 

With a Deferred Judgment, Can I Join the Military? 

Before adjudication or probable sentencing, a deferred judgment allows the defendant to complete a probationary term to see if he has cleaned up his behavior. If he is not convicted, the deferred judgment may be removed in several states. In other states, however, it appears on his record as neither a conviction nor an acquittal, and it may be seen by any law enforcement or government body. 

Individuals with excellent moral character are sought by the military. The type and severity of your offense, as well as other factors, determine whether you are eligible to join the military. The military examines your entire record, including your financial and legal records, before making a decision in each case. A deferred judgment indicates the judge didn’t believe the crime justified incarceration, thus it’s in your favor even though it stays on your record. 

Why Is It Best To Join The Military At 25? 

While some high school grads are eager to leave home and join the military right away, this is not the best option for everyone. 

You took the time at the age of 25 to gain some essential life skills that have paid off. 

By the time you’re 25, for example, life has banged you around a little and you’ve had time to learn from your mistakes and mature. 

When it comes to making military career decisions, you probably have a different viewpoint at 25 than you did at 17 or 18. 

Some decisions, such as which military branch to join or which employment best meets your long-term objectives, may require a different strategy. 

Also, while you are older, you are not so elderly that maintaining physical condition is too difficult. Some may claim that giving your physical strength more time to develop will offer you an advantage. 

Furthermore, there is a transition in mental toughness around the mid-twenties, especially as you work to confront life problems. 

To your 25-year-old self, what seemed unfathomable to your 17-year-old self is just another Tuesday.

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