Soldiers entering the Army have a choice between two basic types of service: Active Duty and Army Reserve.

Active Duty: Active Duty Soldiers make up America’s ready, full-time defense force. They perform the Army’s in-need jobs, and carry out day-to-day operations. Generally, Active Duty terms range from two to six years.

Army Reserve: Soldiers keep their civilian careers while training part-time. Service ranges from one to six years, depending on the job and the location of the Soldier's Army Reserve Center. Many professionals and college students serve in the Army Reserve. In times of need, Army Reserve Soldiers may be called to Active Duty.

Learn more about Active Duty and Army Reserve


“I think the Army is a great opportunity for a young man or woman because it gives them the time to really see what they want to do. I think it helps you grow up, whether you stay in just for two years or three years or you make a career of it.”

— Kathy, mother of Staff Sergeant Ryan Yates



Enlisted Soldiers are the backbone of the U.S. Army. Much like employees at a company, every enlisted Soldier has a trained specialty, and plays a part in the success of his or her unit. Ranks for enlisted Soldiers range from Private to Sergeant Major of the Army.

Warrant Officers are specialized experts and trainers. They make up the technical foundation of the U.S. Army. Unlike commissioned Officers, who focus more on commanding troops and staff duty positions, Warrant Officers are focused solely on advancing within their chosen career specialties.

Commissioned Officers are the managers and planners of the Army. They are generally tasked with leading Soldiers. One of the best ways for your son or daughter to become an Army Officer is to join Army ROTC as a college student.


“The Army definitely offers young people a good option which I would never have considered before our daughter presented it to us.”

— Deb, mother of Specialist Jodie Wood