Start by doing some research about your options for joining the military. Learn about the five active-duty branches and their part-time counterparts. Know the main differences between officers and enlisted members.
Once you know which branch you’re considering, contact a recruiter. A recruiter will give you an overview and answer your questions about that service. If you’re interested in more than one branch, contact a recruiter for each. If you’re interested in joining as an officer, the recruiter will explain any options you may be eligible for.
If you decide to enlist, you will report to a military entrance processing station (MEPS). You’ll spend a day or two completing pre-enlistment steps. These include taking the ASVAB, having a physical exam, meeting with a career counselor, and if you’re accepted,taking the oath of enlistment. From there you’ll receive orders for basic training, usually to start within a few weeks. If you enrolled in a delayed entry program, you’ll go home and get orders for basic training within a year.
Contact a Recruiter
- Active duty & Reserve: 1-888-550-ARMY (1-888-550-2769)
- National Guard: 1-800-GO-GUARD (1-800-464-8273)
- Active Duty: 1-800-423-USAF (1-800-423-8723)
- Reserve: 1-800-257-1212
- National Guard: 1-800-TO-GO-ANG (1-800-864-6264)
- Active Duty and Reserve: 1-800-USA-NAVY (1-800-872-6289)
- Active Duty and Reserve: 1-800-MARINES (1-800-627-4637)
- Active Duty and Reserve