ScholarPath provides high school students with many pathways to choose from, so they can follow the one that best suits their interests. Military service is one of the many career paths available to high school students, and it offers a lot of advantages. Check out some of them below.
1. Finding Your Pathway
We all have trouble figuring out who we are and where we fit in the world. College dropout rates are high, and those who finish usually take longer than four years. What’s the deal? It’s not for everyone. Enter the military. A military career provides one with the direction and independence one needs to succeed in adulthood.
2. Defending Your Nation
In terms of trust, the military consistently ranks higher than organized religion, medical institutions, and banks. Military service is fueled by a strong sense of patriotism.
3. Cheap (or Free!) College
College costs are getting higher and higher every year. Because of that, many high school graduates are considering alternative career paths.
According to US News, the average tuition for in-state students at a public four-year college is $10,423 per year. For students at private four-year colleges, that number goes up to $39,723. In 4 years (and most students take over 4 years!), that’s about $41,000 for a public college, and over $157,000 for a private school. That’s a lot of money. There are scholarships and grants, but those are only a couple of thousand. Most students take out student loans to finance the rest of their education. People’s student loan debt can make it hard to buy a house, get married, and have kids. To pay off their student loans, most graduates work long hours or get second jobs that aren’t even related to their careers.
Service in the military can defer college entry and provide financial aid throughout and after the service. All military service members are eligible for tuition assistance while on active duty. You do not have to repay this loan, which covers up to $4,500 per year in tuition and fees.
Veterans and service members can receive additional financial assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill for up to 36 months. Check with your recruiter to see what college tuition assistance applies to you.
4. Diverse Opportunities for Life After the Military
Training programs offered by each branch of the military will enhance your civilian career after military life. Their training programs cover everything from computer science to aviation to healthcare and culinary programs. As a member of the military, you can get college credit for your training, as well as professional and technical training for civilian jobs like electrical work.
In addition, employers love veterans’ leadership and teamwork skills and discipline.
5. Lots of Travel
The U.S. military maintains over 750 bases across 80 countries. The average active-duty service member receives 30 days of paid vacation a year, plus 1-2 days off during the work week. That’s a lot of opportunities to see the world.
There are also military discounts on airlines, car rental companies, and hotels for service members and their immediate families.
Work is what we do for a living, but why do we do it? Money, money, money! In terms of pay and benefits, the military is very competitive. E-1 is the starting level for most recruits. A typical E-1 earns $1,785 a month. Over time, your level and pay grade will increase. Annual rate increases for cost of living are automatic. Besides military pay, there are other ways to earn extra money. Special pay and enlistment bonuses are among them.
- Enlistment Bonuses
Upon enlisting, you are eligible for your first cash bonus. Ask your recruiter about enlistment bonuses as they vary by branch and change based on the service’s needs.
Recruitment agents can offer recruits higher pay grades in addition to enlistment bonuses. Most recruits start out at E-1 (the lowest pay grade), but qualified enlistees may begin at E-2 or E-3, which results in a higher base salary.
- Special Pay
You might get special pay on top of your base salary depending on your job. Submarine duty pay and hazardous duty pay are two examples.
7. Good Benefits
Aside from good pay, joining the military has other benefits as well. A few of them are:
- Free Room and Board
Unmarried enlistees without children live in barracks on base. The military usually gives extra pay to recruits who share a room, and it offers a tax-free housing allowance to soldiers living outside the base. Active-duty members receive a tax-free food allowance that they can use on or off base.
- Free Uniforms
Maintaining a polished uniform is important in the military. For this reason, all recruits receive uniforms during training. After that, they receive an allowance for replacing worn-out uniforms.
- Free Health and Dental Care
Through Tricare Prime, active-duty members get free health and dental care. You can get VA health care for life if you’ve served for over two years and have a service-related disability.
- Home Financing
The federal government guarantees VA housing loans. Private lenders, not the Department of Veterans Affairs, make these VA loans. They are available to current service members and veterans. The benefits of these programs include 0% down payments! Veterans can use the VA benefit many times. Additionally, many states offer veterans housing and land purchase financing at below-market rates.
The military is a great option for those looking for direction and wanting to build useful career and life skills. Research the different branches and more on scholarpath.com.