Soldiers rappel from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during an air assault course Soldiers rappel from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during an air assault course

Army Structure

The Army consists of the Active Duty, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard components. Each ensures the Army is prepared and efficient as a well-rounded force.

BUILT TO SERVE AND PROTECT

The U.S. Army is the country’s largest military branch, driven by a mission to serve and protect the American people. You’ll play a valuable role in the country’s future whether you serve full-time or part-time.

Two Soldiers performing a drill with a Stinger missile launcher Two Soldiers performing a drill with a Stinger missile launcher

MAKE A FULL-TIME DIFFERENCE IN ACTIVE DUTY

Active-duty Soldiers fulfill day-to-day operations in the Army full-time, specializing in a specific field of service while living on or near a base. This option is for you if:

  • You're passionate about serving the United States
  • You want a full-time, everyday career in the Army
  • You want daily training to develop a specialized skillset

A young male Soldier sitting in a classroom with his hand on a laptop A young male Soldier sitting in a classroom with his hand on a laptop

TRAIN PART-TIME AND STAY READY IN THE U.S. ARMY RESERVE

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers train part-time while continuing in the pursuit of career or educational goals. This option is for you if:

  • You want to earn great benefits while serving part-time
  • You want to pursue a career or education while you serve
  • You want flexibility for your individual goals

A male and female Soldier load boxes of groceries into a truck A male and female Soldier load boxes of groceries into a truck

SERVE PART-TIME WHILE PROTECTing COMMUNITIES WITH THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD

Army National Guard Soldiers serve locally as part-time anchors within the community, standing by for emergencies while maintaining the ability to work towards individual goals. This option is for you if:

  • You want to make an impact in your local community
  • You want to serve part-time while living close to home
  • You want to pursue a full-time education or civilian career while serving

BREAKING DOWN THE ARMY COMPONENTS

A semi-circle chart showing the breakdown of the three Army components, including Active Duty with a 48% share, U.S. Army Reserve with a 18% share, and Army National Guard with a 34% share. Source, FY22 Army Profile A semi-circle chart showing the breakdown of the three Army components, including Active Duty with a 48% share, U.S. Army Reserve with a 18% share, and Army National Guard with a 34% share. Source, FY22 Army Profile

Hear It From The Soldiers

Three people hiking on top of a mountain with rolling hills in the distance Three people hiking on top of a mountain with rolling hills in the distance

LIFE AS A SOLDIER

Becoming a Soldier doesn’t mean giving up the things you love. Not only will you have the opportunity to excel in your career, but you will also have the ability to pursue your personal interests and goals.

Common Questions

Do I get benefits with each type of service?

Yes. Active duty, U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers are all eligible for high-quality benefits but with slight coverage and cost differences depending on full-time or part-time status. You'll receive excellent health care, post-service benefits, and powerful educational benefits, including the GI Bill which can cover up to 100% of your college tuition.

What kind of training is required?

Preparedness is a top priority, which is why all Soldiers go through a form of Basic Training. Enlisted Soldiers complete an initial 10-week Basic Combat Training course, as well as their individual job training. Army Officers complete a three-phase training program called the Basic Officer Leadership Course. While active-duty Soldiers and Officers have ongoing training to keep their skills sharp, Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers attend one two-week training a year.

What is the time commitment?

New enlistments sign up for a Military Service Obligation (MSO). Contracts may vary from two to six years of service in active duty, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. Following this service, you'll finish out your service commitment in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)—a time when you're not required to train or fulfill any duties, but you're on call to return in case of an extreme, but rare event.

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.

Choose the Army career path you're most interested in.

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