Military Education & Careers

Military Options

When it comes to learning about the Military, knowing where to start your research may seem daunting. The first steps to considering service include understanding the Military's basic entrance requirements, exploring the different Service branches and deciding between enlisted and officer career paths.

Visit  Today's Military for an overview of the various stages of a military career, from the joining process to trainingworking and taking advantage of military benefits



The U.S. Military consists of five active-duty Services and their respective Reserve and National Guard units.



Army Army

As the oldest branch of the U.S. Military, the Army protects the security of the United States and its resources.

Army Reserve

The Army Reserve trains part time near home until needed, and members deploy alongside the Army.

Army National Guard

Army National Guard members deploy with the Army on a part-time basis, with a special focus on homeland security and relief programs.

Marine Corps Marine Corps

The Marine Corps is often first on the ground in combat situations.


Marine Corps Reserve

Marine Corps reservists train domestically until needed, then deploy with the rest of the Corps.

Navy Navy

The Navy defends the right to travel and trade freely on the world's oceans and protects national interests overseas.

Navy Reserve

The Navy Reserve trains service members close to home until they are needed in action.


Air Force Air Force

The U.S. Air Force protects American interests at home and abroad with a focus on air power.

Air Force Reserve

The Air Force Reserve gives service members the opportunity to train and serve on a part-time basis, as needed.

Air National Guard

The Air National Guard trains part time to assist in domestic disasters and international conflicts.


Coast Guard Coast Guard

The Coast Guard protects America's waterways and deploys with the Navy during wartime.

Coast Guard Reserve

The Coast Guard Reserve offers a part-time service opportunity for service members to train near home.



All branches are equal parts of the United States Uniformed Services, headed by the President as Commander-in-Chief.  The Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD).  The Coast Guard reports to the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and to the DoD (by way of the Navy) during wartime.  Reserve and National Guard units perform as active-duty service members on a part-time basis.  These troops train close to home, deploying when needed to aid in international conflict or domestic disaster relief.
Before serving in the Military, there are a few things a young adult can do to prepare.  The ASVAB Career Exploration Program can help young adults discover suitable jobs.  Likewise, they must meet certain requirements to serve, including age, educational and physical prerequisites.  Once committed to service, training begins in the form of boot camp (officially called Initial Entry Training).





Founded in 1926, ROTC stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) .  It’s a college program offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.  In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation.  Each Service branch has its own ROTC program. Click HERE for more information.   



There are five service academies. Entrance to these schools is highly competitive. Applicants for every academy but the Coast Guard’s need a nomination from the vice president or a member of Congress.

Students attend the service academies for free. In return, they agree to spend the next several years as military officers.

  • U.S. Military Academy (Army) in West Point, New York. 
    Trains future Army officers aka West Point.
  • U.S. Naval Academy (Navy/Marine Corps) in Annapolis, Maryland.  
    Trains future Navy and Marine Corps officers (there is no Marine Academy)
  • U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Coast Guard) in New London, Connecticut.
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.
    Trains students for military and civilian careers. New graduates have two choices. They can join the Navy or the Coast Guard as an officer. Or they can get a job in the civilian maritime industry at sea or ashore.

Service academies offer an outstanding education and full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years.  The competition to get in is fierce.  Admissions criteria include:

  • High school academic performance
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • Athletics and extracurricular activities
  • Leadership experience and community involvement
  • A congressional letter of recommendation (not required by the Coast Guard Academy)

Graduates of all four academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their respective Service branch. In all cases, there is a service obligation of a minimum of five years.



The U.S. military operates many types of schools to train members of the U.S. military, foreign militaries, and civilians in certain fields. The military academies are colleges that train future officers.

The military also operates its own medical school, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Students pay no tuition or fees, and receive a salary and military benefits.

Some of the military schools include:




Senior military colleges are civilian schools that combine higher education with military instruction.  Students participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and can go on to become commissioned officers following graduation. Every cadet must participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, but only those cadets who receive an ROTC scholarship are required to enter military service following graduation.  For example, about half of Virginia Military Institute’s cadets earn commissions as second lieutenants (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force) or ensigns (Navy)




The United States Merchant Marine is the fleet of civilian-owned merchant ships that transport cargo and passengers on behalf of the United States.  In times of war, the Merchant Marine is an auxiliary to the Navy and can be called upon to deliver service members and supplies for the Military. The education of merchant marine officers is an essential Maritime Administration responsibility to meet national security needs and to maintain defense readiness. 

Midshipmen at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., receive full scholarships in exchange for a service obligation in the Merchant Marine Reserve or Navy Reserve.  The other Merchant Marine academies also produce shipboard officers for vessels integral to shipping and transportation needs, but a service commitment is not always required.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point, NY
California Maritime Academy Vallejo, CA
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Traverse City, MI 
Maine Maritime Academy Castine, ME
Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buzzards Bay, MNA
SUNY Maritime College Fort Schuyler, NY 
Texas A&M Maritime Academy Galveston, TX 



New four-year college graduates go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) to join as officers. Each service has its own OCS, which lasts around three to four months. Enlisted members can also apply to attend OCS and graduate as commissioned officers.



Lunchtime visits are scheduled regularly as follows in the Career Center:

1st Wednesday of the month during 

2nd Wednesday 

3rd Wednesday 

Air Force 4th Wednesday 
If you cannot meet with a rep during their regular lunchtime visit, please see Mrs. Wilson in Career Center for rep's contact info or to set up an appointment.