A Cadet performing a wall climb in a forest A Cadet performing a wall climb in a forest

Basic Training

This is an official start to your development as a Soldier where you'll learn the traditions, tactics, and skills to be successful in the Army and beyond.

Soldiers Start Here

From building character and camaraderie to learning discipline and teamwork, Basic Training is your introduction to the Army and the start to becoming a Soldier.

U.S. Army Drill Sergeant inspecting soldiers in a formation. U.S. Army Drill Sergeant inspecting soldiers in a formation.

The Basics of Basic Training

Basic Combat Training, also known as "boot camp," is required of all new enlisted Soldiers to create a strong foundation for their Army experience and future goals. Once it's over, your day-to-day will focus more on what’s required for your specific job, as well as pursuing your personal goals and interests.

"The best advice I can give you is to expect change and embrace it. It’s not something to be afraid of."

-Spc. Kirsten Lindberg, Active Duty

A Soldier crawls under barbed wire during assessment and selection A Soldier crawls under barbed wire during assessment and selection

Your Ten-Week Introduction To The Army

"In Basic Training, you’re going to learn discipline… and you’re doing it alongside people to your left and right that you will know the rest of your Army career."

Sgt. 1st Class Jean-Noel Howell, Active Duty

A Cadet climbs over the inclining wall as part of an obstacle course A Cadet climbs over the inclining wall as part of an obstacle course

Expectation VS. Experience

You've likely seen and heard a lot of different things about Basic Training. We'll help clear up any misconceptions, so you know what to expect.

A group of Soldiers stand in formation A group of Soldiers stand in formation

Completing Basic Training

By the time you finish Basic Training, you'll be equipped with a wealth of skills and knowledge, including:

  • Physical and mental strength to carry out the duties of a Soldier
  • Confidence and the ability to make informed decisions
  • Advanced knowledge of survival skills like First Aid, navigation, and hand-to-hand combat

A basic training graduation ceremony being held outdoors A basic training graduation ceremony being held outdoors

Meeting The Requirements

From your physical fitness to your personal background, there are certain requirements you have to meet in order to become a Soldier. Learn what it takes to ensure your place in the Army.

Joint Commissioning Ceremony Joint Commissioning Ceremony

Training To Become An Officer

While enlisted Soldiers attend Basic Training, those pursuing commissioned Officership go through a different program called Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) to help them prepare for the Army.

Common Questions

What happens if you don't keep up with the rest of the recruits physically?

Drill Sergeants will divide Soldiers into groups based on ability in order to help you build up your physical strength and endurance. The goal of Basic Training is to get the best out of everyone by creating a foundation for Soldiers to reach their full potential.

How does the Army look out for me during Basic Training?

Personal safety for all Soldiers is a priority for the Army. Specific programs are designed to address this core value during Basic Training, such as This Is My Squad, an initiative focused on emphasizing the shared experiences between Soldiers.

Do I have to cut my hair short?

Most men receive a haircut within the first few days and are required to keep it short throughout Basic Training. Women’s hair doesn’t have to be cut, but it must be neat. It can be short or pulled back in a ponytail, braid, or pinned up. That being said, the Army is aware of the importance of self-expression through grooming and hair and have updated the Hair and Appearance Guidelines to reflect that.

Do you get paid in Basic Training and would you be able to send money back home to pay bills?

Yes, you do get paid in Basic Training on the first and fifteenth of every month. The amount depends on your rank. See salaries by rank on the Money & Pay page. You're welcome to send money home via cash or check.

Is there a church service on Sundays and if so, what is it like?

Religious expression is important to the Army, so there are services available on Sundays for a range of denominations. The standard is about an hour for the services. Once you know what location you’ll be training at, we encourage you to check the fort's website for details.

Are Drill Sergeants as mean and tough as you see in the movies?

Movies tend to exaggerate many elements of Basic Training. Drill Sergeants are there for your own benefit—to motivate you to reach your full potential. They're professional and care about your well-being. That being said, they are also tough and will demand the most out of you, which can be intimidating. At the end of Basic Training, you'll really appreciate what they've done for you and how you feel about yourself.

I'm not good at doing push-ups. What happens if you can't do all the push-ups that the Drill Sergeants tell you to do?

Don't worry. You'll be surprised at what you can achieve. Your Drill Sergeant will motivate and help you. Their priority is ensuring you improve every day and ultimately succeed in every aspect of your training.

Talk to a Recruiter

Don’t worry, there’s no obligation if you reach out.

Thanks for reaching out,

Here's What Happens Next

  1. You'll receive an email confirming your request

  2. We'll provide additional information about next steps

  3. You'll work with us to decide whether the Army is right for you

Questions you may have right now

Who will reach out to me?

One of our recruiters will either call or email you to set up time to talk.

Who will reach out to me?

One of our ROTC recruiters will either call or email you to set up time to talk.

What will you ask me?

Our conversation will likely begin with some basic qualifying questions, like your age and education level. From there, the conversation will be about getting to know you and your goals for the future. Expect us to ask about your interests and skills so we can suggest Army jobs that might interest you.

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

How can the Army help me pay for college?

Do I have to go to Basic Training?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

How can the Army help me pay for college?

What is the time commitment for part-time service?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

Can the Army help me pay for medical school?

Do I have to go to Basic Training?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

How do I apply for ROTC scholarships?

How do I join ROTC at the college I want to attend?

Will I be expected to join if I talk to someone?

No. Our goal is to answer your questions and help you decide if the Army is a good option for you. We understand you may not be ready to join yet, or that we may not be the right fit, and that's fine. There's no obligation for talking to us.

Thanks for reaching out,

Here's What Happens Next

  1. You'll receive an email confirming your request

  2. We'll provide additional information about next steps

  3. You'll work with us to decide whether the Army is right for you

Questions you may have right now

Who will reach out to me?

One of our recruiters will either call or email you to set up time to talk.

What will you ask me?

Our conversation will likely begin with some basic qualifying questions, like your age and education level. From there, the conversation will be about getting to know you and your goals for the future. Expect us to ask about your interests and skills so we can suggest Army jobs that might interest you.

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

Do I qualify to join the Army?

Can I join as an Officer?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

Do I qualify to join the Army?

Can I join as an Officer?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

What type of health care jobs are available in the Army?

Can the Army help me pay for medical school?

How can I prepare for the conversation?

While we'll ask you questions, this is your opportunity to ask some of your own. Here are a couple to get you started:

Can I join ROTC at my age

Can I join as an Officer?

Will I be expected to join if I talk to someone?

No. Our goal is to answer your questions and help you decide if the Army is a good option for you. We understand you may not be ready to join yet, or that we may not be the right fit, and that's fine. There's no obligation for talking to us.

Thanks for reaching out, .

We admire you for considering such a big career decision at your age. Unfortunately, we're unable to directly reach out to you until you are at least sixteen years old and a junior in high school. However, the following ROTC info is something that may interest you now.

Questions you may have right now

How old do I have to be to serve in the Army full-time?

To become an enlisted Soldier, you must be 17 years old. To become an Army Officer, you must be at least 18 years old and have a college degree obtained either through ROTC, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, or from another college or university program. Learn more about Army Eligibility Requirements and how to receive Officer training while in college.

How can the Army help me pay for college?

There are a variety of options available to help you pursue education with flexibility, such as ROTC programs, the GI Bill, and other programs that help pay for college tuition, trade school, technical school, or trainings. View all of the Education Benefits available to you

How do I apply for ROTC Scholarships?

Army ROTC has several scholarships available for college-bound high school students. Review your options at ROTC Scholarships, or immediately apply by creating an account at my.goarmy.com to get started.

How old do I have to be to serve in the Army part-time?

To become an enlisted Soldier, you must be 17 years old. To become an Army Officer, you must be at least 18 years old and have a college degree obtained either through ROTC, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, or from another college or university program. Learn more about Army Eligibility Requirements and how to receive Officer training while in college.

What are the ways to serve part-time?

You can serve part-time as a Soldier in the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard. By serving part-time, you are able to continue your college education or work a civilian job, while earning an extra paycheck and maintaining many of the benefits of military service.

How can the Army help me pay for college?

There are a variety of options available to help you pursue education with flexibility, such as ROTC programs, the GI Bill, and other programs that help pay for college tuition, trade school, technical school, or trainings. View all of the Education Benefits available to you.

How do I become a health care provider in the Army?

You can serve part-time or full-time as you train in our health care program. Upon graduation of the program, you will enter the Army health care team as a Commissioned Officer.

What types of medical careers are available in the Army?

There are numerous health care careers available through the Army Medical Education Deparment (AMEDD), including physicians, dentists, nurses, veterinarians, and many more. View your career options.

How can the Army help me pay for college?

There are a variety of options available to help you pursue education with flexibility, such as ROTC programs, the GI Bill, and other programs that help pay for college tuition, trade school, technical school, or trainings. View all of the Education Benefits available to you.

What are the benefits of joining ROTC?

ROTC makes it possible to achieve your ambitions. Become a leader and serve your country in one of the nation's top leadership training programs. You can do this while maintaining your college curriculum and earning up to 100% tuition coverage. Upon graduation, you're guaranteed a career as an Army Officer.

How do I prepare to join ROTC?

When you're at least 16 years old and at least a high school junior, you can reach out to us, or even talk to your high school counselor. Together, we'll talk options and decide if ROTC is the right path for you.

Will I become an Officer if I complete ROTC?

Yes. After graduation, you are commissioned as a highly respected second lieutenant in the Army, entrusted with leading other Soldiers.

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