A U.S. Army Specialist poses for a photo in front of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter A U.S. Army Specialist poses for a photo in front of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Active Duty

Active duty is the largest component within the Army. You’ll help the Army perform day-to-day operations with a specialized skillset in a specific field.

FIND YOUR CALLING FULL-TIME

Serving on active duty gives you an opportunity to be a difference-maker for the United States as you pursue your dreams. You’ll have full-time responsibilities to fulfill, but you’ll still have time to strive towards your long-term goals on a day-to-day basis.

Two Soldiers work on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Two Soldiers work on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter

EVERYDAY Life as a Soldier

While the majority of your day will be spent on Army obligations and developing skills specific to your Army job, or what we call Military Occupation Specialty (MOS), active duty is a well-rounded experience. You’ll also have time to spend with family and friends, plus flexibility for other personal activities you may be interested in.

Explore a Variety of Career Opportunities

Find more than 200 jobs in active duty across fields like mechanics, engineering, science, medicine, aviation, aerial defense, and more. You can choose a familiar career path or take a different one to learn something new.

“By joining the Army, not only do I get to do this really important work, but I get to be a part of this community that feels like a family, and I feel like I found my purpose.”

– Capt. Margeaux Auslander

Soldiers board multiple Air Force C-130J Hercules andC-17 Globemaster III aircraft while conducting an airborne assault exercise Soldiers board multiple Air Force C-130J Hercules andC-17 Globemaster III aircraft while conducting an airborne assault exercise

Live Where You’re Needed Most

In active duty, your role and the Army’s needs will influence where you live—but you’ll have some preference and flexibility in where you’re stationed. The everyday responsibilities of your specific Army job may require you to live on or near a base.

Male Captain Officer wearing dress blue ASU standing inside a hangar during the daytime. Male Captain Officer wearing dress blue ASU standing inside a hangar during the daytime.

TWO PATHS IN ACTIVE DUTY

Understanding the different ways to join Active Duty can help you decide what's best for your future.

  • Enlisted Soldier: Works as an essential member of the team, performs specific tasks, and carries out missions

  • Commissioned Officer: Serves as a leader who trains and guides their team to success

Common Questions

What are the benefits of serving active duty?

As an active-duty Soldier, you can receive a number of great benefits, including a competitive salary, bonuses, and incentives, as well as excellent healthcare, retirement, and education benefits. Soldiers qualify for a variety of opportunities, like the GI Bill, to get help paying for their education, specialized training, and other certifications.

What is the time commitment?

As an active-duty Soldier, you'll serve in the Army full time for the duration of your service commitment. Active-duty service terms typically last two to six years, but your service length may vary depending on a number of factors, such as your Army job or decision to reenlist. If you choose to reenlist, you'll have the opportunity to be promoted, earn retention bonuses, take on special assignments, and more.

Do I need to attend Basic Training?

Before you can become a Soldier, you'll first need to complete a form of Basic Training—Basic Combat Training for enlisted Soldiers and the Basic Officer Leadership Course for Army Officers, as well as any additional training your job may require. Over the course of your training, you'll learn the skills, knowledge, and discipline needed to become a Soldier. Active-duty Soldiers and Officers also have ongoing training to keep their skills sharp, so they stay ready for anything.

Will I be deployed while serving active duty?

While there’s no way to predict whether or not you will be deployed in your Army career, it is possible. You could be deployed at any time for a variety of reasons, such as your Army unit and skill sets.

Deployment is when Soldiers are sent to a specific location to carry out a mission and are unable to bring their families. The average deployment length is nine months to a combat region and can be longer or shorter for a non-combat region, depending on the mission.

A Military Police Officer wearing OCP kneels while he photographs a crime scene during daytime with other male Soldiers. A Military Police Officer wearing OCP kneels while he photographs a crime scene during daytime with other male Soldiers.

Other Ways YOU 
CAN Serve

Active duty, along with the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, are the three components that make up the United States Army. Each has a critical role in serving your community and your country.

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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