Are you enlisting in the military out of high school?

Rewards of Enlisting in the Military Right Out of High School

Enlisting in the military right out of high school has certain rewards. To start, you can complete twenty years of military service, becoming eligible to receive a pension from the armed services while you’re still in your forties. You can also get college and university degrees from accredited postsecondary institutions while you’re in the military. Enroll in colleges and universities using military tuition assistance programs like the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you can save thousands of dollars.

Generally to enlist in the military right out of high school, you must meet entrance guidelines. Although each military branch has its own entrance guidelines, you must generally:

  • Have a high school diploma or general equivalency degree (GED)
  • Meet military height and weight requirements (If you’re interested in joining the military after you graduate from high school, start working out and eating healthy meals several months before you graduate. Also make sure you maintain a healthy weight.)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old (You can enlist in the military if you’re 17, but you’ll need your parents’ consent.)
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Pass military entrance examinations (If you can pass a college entrance examination, you can generally pass a military entrance examination.)
  • Consider Completing College Degrees during Your Military Career
  • If you have one or more children or a spouse, you may have to sign a form that verifies you are able to support your children and spouse financially during and after you graduate from basic training. After you complete your training and start working your regular military job, you can have a portion of your check automatically deducted and sent to your spouse and/or children.
Additionally, and depending on the job you work in the military, you also might have to take and pass psychological screenings and background checks. For example, if you sign up to work with classified information, you will have to undergo and pass an in-depth background check. After you complete basic training, you might be required to complete advanced training programs (e.g. mechanics).

While you’re in the military, consider enrolling in postsecondary degree programs at accredited colleges and universities. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of one of the key benefits associated with enlisting in the military, the robust tuition assistance programs offered by the government. Because many employers want you to have college degrees before they hire you, completing your degree coursework early can position you to step into high paying civilian jobs after you retire from the military.

In addition to getting college degrees and completing your military service early, when you enlist in the military right out of high school, you may also qualify to receive discounts on mortgages. Your spouse and children can also apply for scholarships and tuition assistance while you’re in the military and after you are honorably discharged. Because you will have started your military career at a young age, you can increase your take home pay by using your military experience to get hired into civilian jobs after you retire from the service.
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