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After high school is it an obligation to go to college for become a soldier?

Always trying to improve, try more than my best. #college #higher-education

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Kim’s Answer


Each branch of the service has both enlisted personnel (non-commissioned officer) and officers (commissioned personnel). You can enlist as a non-commissioned officer (NCO) straight from high school. You can make the military your career, without ever going to college. You will progress through the ranks, gaining increasing responsibility as you do so. If you do not do well enough to get promoted, you will have to leave the military.

If you want to go to college first, you can enter the military upon graduating college. If accepted as an officer, you would be over enlisted personnel. That is, at the age of 23, you could be telling 40 year olds what to do. The smart officers learn that those 40 year olds have a wealth of knowledge. Then there are those who have to learn the hard way. lol!

There are all sorts of variables. It may be that you go to college but for whatever reason they won't accept you as an officer, and offer you an enlisted position. This happened to my neighbor. Or, perhaps you go in enlisted, take some college classes, and 8 years later, get a degree. You could try transferring from enlisted to officer.

One thing I was told, way back when, was that officers did not get career choice guarantees like the enlisted do. I do not know if this is still true. If I was determined to go into the service as an officer, I would try to find a way to get help with the cost of my schooling. If going in enlisted is okay, I would look at my high school ROTC program. It used to be that years of ROTC helped get you a higher rank upon entering.

The military has some awesome training programs. One thing we all stress, and cannot stress enough: watch out for recruiters! They have quotas to meet, and are not always honest. Let's say you want to be a tank driver and he needs someone to be a radio operator, he will try to get you into that slot. IF IT IS NOT IN WRITING, IT IS NOT REAL. Make sure you are getting what you want!

Here is a link to a pay chart. (E1-E9) is Enlisted (no college required). (O1-O10) is Officer (college required) . W is for Warrant Officers. I don't know enough about that to explain it! The military also has all kinds of specialty pays, which I also don't know much about. But often, these specialty pays make up a substantial portion of your monthly income.

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Kay’s Answer

First and foremost, joining the military right out of high school is an honorable decision! Secondly, once you gain interest in joining the military it is best to touch base with your local recruiters. Since many of these recruiters work with the local high schools you may even get to meet with them and make an early decision prior to graduating high school. When it comes to additional schooling some branches may require school depending on the job within the military selected. Some jobs will require a basic level of training and you can go right into the career with supervision type of training but not in a classroom while other jobs will require classroom training but include additional bonuses. There will be opportunities to take courses to move up in rank but at those times you can decide if that is what you want to do but initially not needed. Best of luck!

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Rufel’s Answer

No. You can go from high school graduation to enlisting in the military. You’ll get training (in “A”: school) after Basic for your MOS (military occupational specialization).

However, your commanding officer may send you to take college courses (which the service will pay) as part of your rank promotion. It depends on what your MOS will be and just how long you plan to stay in the service.

The longer you stay in (and the more civilian transferable your MOS is, like medic), then the likelier you’ll take college-equivalent courses to stay on the promotion track.

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Christine’s Answer

Hi Stanley,
Wanting to be the best at what you do and always striving to improve is very admirable. You are going to do wonderful things as you grow up. Now, to your question, o you do not have to go to college to be a soldier, BUT, you do need a degree to become an officer. So, the question is doing you want to make the military a career or just do a few years? One thing you can do is go to college and enter ROTC which is Reserve Officers Training Corps. This is reserve military, not regular military. Another possibility is you can enlist in the military and go to college with your GI bill. I am not sure if any of this is helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know. Good luck to you Stanley. Christine

Christine recommends the following next steps:

Use your GI Bill to go to college
Talk to a recruiter and ask them the best choice

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Ari’s Answer

It is not an obligation to go to college before enlisting. You could serve for a while and then when you are released go to college and get a degree (military will usually pay after you serve). You could also make the decision to go to college and join ROTC which will still allow you to serve it just means that you finish college first. I think it really depends on what you want for yourself in life.