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Benefits of Joining the Military


Choosing a military career is a life-altering decision with unique advantages and significant challenges. There’s much to consider, from financial stability and career opportunities to the potential risks and sacrifices involved. These issues are why it’s important to do some research, apply some clear, future-focused thinking, and  weigh the pros and cons of joining the military.

Pros of Joining the Military

When you join the military, you experience everything from a deeply personal sense of duty to serving your  country to the more practical role of financial security and healthcare benefits. Let’s take a look at what you can expect as a servicemember in the armed forces.

Financial Stability

Your military service will provide you and your family with financial stability through competitive salaries, comprehensive healthcare benefits, and housing and food allowances.

Additionally, deployment entitlements, such as hazard duty pay and per diem allowances, further contribute to your financial well-being. 

No matter where you’re stationed and what your job in the military entails, you can expect to be fairly compensated and receive  benefits to help take care of your family.

Travel the World

One of the distinctive perks of a military career is the opportunity to explore the globe. Joining the military can allow you to experience different cultures, landscapes, and lifestyles. You may find yourself heading anywhere from Europe to Asia. 

Beside the possibility of traveling globally for work, military personnel often benefit from substantial discounts on vacations and travel. These discounts, ranging from flights to accommodations, can make it more feasible for servicemembers and their families to turn their travel dreams into a reality.

Job Training and Experience

Military service is an exceptional opportunity to develop professional skills, cultivate discipline, and foster adaptability. Through rigorous training and real-world challenges, you’ll acquire lifelong problem-solving skills and learn to work effectively in all kinds of environments. The military's training programs are designed to prepare individuals for success in a wide range of careers, both within and outside the military. 

Skills acquired in the military, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking, are highly transferable to the civilian workforce, making military service a truly career-enhancing experience.

Education Benefits

Thanks to their service, military personnel (and their dependents) can take advantage of several types of higher education benefits.  These include the GI Bill, tuition assistance (including a Tuition Assistance Top-Up program), and certain scholarships designed exclusively for servicemembers. Programs like Yellow Ribbon can help with tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn't cover.

Joining the military means making yourself available to a wide range of programs designed to help you attend college and earn the degree you want to get ahead.

Retirement Benefits

The military has always been known for its exceptional retirement benefits. Active Duty servicemembers are entitled to impressive retirement benefits, which include a defined pension based on the number of years of your service and your highest three years of pay. Additionally, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers tax-advantaged savings opportunities. Retirees and their eligible family members can also enjoy ongoing comprehensive healthcare benefits through TRICARE. Overall, these advantages make military retirement an attractive option for those who want guaranteed retirement benefits.


Joining the military is an excellent decision for those seeking comprehensive and reliable healthcare benefits. With access to top-notch medical care, servicemembers and their families can trust that they’ll be taken care of throughout their military journey. TRICARE is the military's health insurance program and provides a wide range of services, including routine check-ups and specialized medical treatments. After retirement, servicemembers can continue to benefit from these services through retiree health programs.

The military's commitment to healthcare is especially notable when it comes to mental health services. It’s a culture that understands there are specific challenges faced by servicemembers and prioritizes their mental well-being. Counseling, support programs, and resources are available to address the psychological aspects of military service.

Family Support

The military community recognizes the importance of a strong family foundation and implements various programs to bolster this aspect of military life. Support networks, counseling services, and educational resources are readily available to help military families navigate the unique challenges that may arise during deployments or relocations.

For example, the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), which assists in coordinating medical, educational, and community services, ensures that families with special needs members receive the necessary support and resources.

Sense of Duty

The deep sense of duty that permeates every aspect of military service is at the heart of your decision to join the military. People who opt for a military career are usually motivated by a strong commitment to something greater than themselves — a commitment to safeguarding and serving their nation and its values. 

Many Fields to Choose From

The military provides countless career opportunities, allowing you to pursue diverse fields aligned with your interests, skills, and aspirations while equipping you with valuable skills transferable to civilian careers. 

Here are some of the many fields one can choose from in the military:

  • Administration
  • Aviation
  • Chaplaincy
  • Communications
  • Cybersecurity
  • Engineering
  • Intelligence
  • Legal
  • Logistics
  • Medical
  • Military Police
  • Special Bands
  • Special Operations

Physical and Mental Challenges

Enlisting in the military presents both physical and mental challenges, which military personnel may regard as opportunities for personal development, building resilience and self-discovery.  And of course, you will be required to maintain a high level of physical fitness throughout your service.

Military service helps to develop critical thinking, adaptability, and decision-making skills. Servicemembers constantly enhance their cognitive abilities as they navigate complex strategic situations or unpredictable environments. These challenges build mental fortitude that lasts beyond Active Duty and into civilian life or retirement.

Potential Drawbacks of Joining the Military

While there are many great reasons to join the military, there are also some disadvantages that you should take into consideration. 


Military service exposes you to challenging and hazardous situations, ranging from training exercises to active combat zones. While the military prioritizes safety through extensive training and protective measures, the inherent uncertainties of certain assignments or deployments mean that risks cannot be eliminated entirely. If you join the armed forces, you must be willing to shoulder these risks.

Deployment Challenges

One of the constant aspects of military life is the possibility of sudden deployments that require servicemembers to be ready at a moment's notice. Such unpredictability can pose challenges for both individuals and their families, as deployments often entail extended periods of separation. Families, unfortunately, must grapple with the emotional strain of prolonged absences from their loved ones. While the military will make every effort to provide support to both you and your family, a high level of resilience is required of all of you to navigate these challenges.

Serious Commitment

Joining the military is a substantial and binding commitment that demands dedication and endurance. Military service is not easily abandoned. This underscores the gravity of the profession and the obligations one undertakes when choosing a career in the armed forces. 

Physically Demanding

While military training is designed to enhance physical fitness, the actual demands of the job can be brutally challenging, especially for those new to the military. The rigorous nature of your tasks, from demanding exercises to navigating challenging terrains, will require a high level of  stamina and endurance. If you’re considering a career in the military, you need to understand that physical fitness is an ongoing requirement throughout your military career.

Highly Structured

Military life is characterized by highly structured and disciplined routines, often starting with early mornings and meticulously planned schedules. If you thrive in a regimented environment, you’ll find this structure easy to follow. 

However, for individuals who struggle to stick with a strict routine, military life may pose a significant challenge. The military training  emphasizes discipline and order, something you need to take into account.

Should You Join the Military?

Joining the military is a big decision that requires you to reflect on your personal values, goals, and adaptability to its challenges. You must assess your commitment, physical readiness, and compatibility with this highly structured lifestyle before you take on this career, and life, choice. 

To help you make the decision, you can check out resources like GoArmy.com or MilitaryAptitudeTests.org and gain insights into military life. Speak with current or former servicemembers and consult recruitment offices for comprehensive information. As you gather information, you will be better able to determine if your decision aligns with your aspirations and the demands of military service.

AAFMAA Helps Those Who Serve

For over a century, AAFMAA has been helping those who serve. If you join the military, consider joining AAFMAA as well. AAFMAA Member benefits are enjoyed by thousands of Active Duty and retired servicemembers, Veterans, and military families.

Learn more about AAFMAA and what we can do for you.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.  Photo by Sgt. Seaira Moore. U.S. Marine Corps recruiters with Recruiting Station Sacramento pose for a photo in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 29, 2023. Recruiters are responsible for seeking out, mentoring and shaping the future of the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Seaira Moore)