Joining the Army can seem like a significant sacrifice. After all, you need to be willing to sacrifice your life to achieve your goals and work on behalf of your country. For many, this sacrifice is well worth it. They know they are making the world a better place and making their own country safer. From a philosophical standpoint, it’s obvious to see why joining the Army would be beneficial, regardless of the sacrifices you must make.
Whether you join the air force, the armed forces, the marine corps, the army reserve, or even the army national guard or some other military service, you are making a sacrifice for your country. But when it comes to actually making a decision for your future and looking at the “nuts and bolts” of how you can benefit from joining the Army, there are plenty of practical reasons why you might sign up, too. It’s about more than just making a difference and giving back to your country because being a member of the military comes with a variety of great benefits that aren’t available in other jobs.
What are some of the most important benefits of joining the Army?
Guaranteed Living Expenses
It’s no secret that finding a job can be tough, even when the economy is on the upswing. And even if you find a job, it might not provide you with enough income to make ends meet. There are plenty of young adults living with their parents or sharing a small space with multiple roommates because they can’t afford rent or a mortgage on their own.
Joining the army means you don’t need to worry about any of this. You get free rent (or housing allowance) and living expenses and a paycheck is guaranteed to be deposited into your account on the first and fifteenth day of each month. You don’t need to worry about layoffs and, for the most part, you don’t even need to worry about not getting paid if there is a government shutdown. There are threats of military members not receiving paychecks, but that rarely happens. And, even if a check is skipped, they’re paid retroactively once the government is back up and running again.
The bottom line? There’s a lot of practical adult things you don’t need to worry about when you’re in the Army. You get job security and housing security that even includes payment of at least some of your utilities.
Much the same as you would get benefits in any civilian job, you get benefits being a member of the Army. This includes paid vacation time and healthcare coverage. And, in some cases, the benefits offered with a military job are even better than what is offered in the public or private non-military sector.
As a member of the Army, you receive 2.5 days of leave for every month you work. This means you are entitled to 30 days of paid vacation every year. You aren’t going to find too many civilian jobs, especially ones that are entry level, that is that generous. You’re also entitled to time off if you relocate to a new duty station or if you become a parent.
In addition to paid time off, Army members also have access to free healthcare. And it’s actually free, unlike some “free” healthcare where you need to worry about co-pays or extra charges. For instance, you won’t need to pay for ambulance transportation with healthcare from the military. Nor do you need to pay extra for dental coverage.
Keep in mind this isn’t usually top-notch care. You get what you pay for (and you’re paying nothing), but for a reasonably healthy young adult, your free Army health care will be more than adequate.
And, of course, you get a salary, based on your rank. Everyone in the military gets paid a wage, regardless of which branch of service they choose.
Joining the military gives members the ability to attend college for free. This is an important benefit because college is so expensive nowadays. Most people go into tens of thousands of dollars of debt to get a higher education and commit to a lifetime of repayment before they even have a job.
Since 9/11, the GI Bill helps with tuition assistance while you are on active duty if you wish to attend college and be in the Army at the same time, and it will also pay for college tuition and rent after you are finished in the Army (as long as you are honorably discharged).
There’s an extra benefit even if you do not intend to attend college. Those who choose to remain in the army and build a military career can transfer their GI Bill benefit to their spouse or children, as long as they complete 10 years of active duty. Your spouse or child can attend college for free if you stay in the Army for a decade or more.
To learn more about the GI Bill, check out this page one Benefits.gov.
Military members get plenty of perks when it comes to traveling, which is one of the primary reasons people choose to sign up for the Army. Members of the Army can utilize military flight access (MAC) and as long as there is space available on the plane, they are able to fly for free.
To learn more about MAC flights and other travel benefits available when you’re in the Army, check out this article.
This is an option when a soldier wants to travel for leisure, but there are also plenty of opportunities to travel for your actual military job. Most soldiers are stationed in a variety of locations and get to spend time all around the world. Seeing the world is one of the primary benefits of military service. You’ll be able to learn about different cultures and see things that some people save their whole lives to see.
Discounts and freebies go beyond just travel, too. Military discounts are offered at a variety of locations and benefit from the respect people have for their service. Most military members have at least a few stories about getting bumped to first class on a plane, getting free drinks, or getting free admission to an event all because of their service. Not to mention Army members have access to commissaries and exchanges while on base, so they are able to buy necessities like groceries and other items at a discounted price.