The citizen soldiers of the Army Reserve have a dual mission: helping communities and supporting the regular Army forces.
The Army Reserve is open to newcomers as well as those with prior military service in any other branch.
To join the Army Reserve, you must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien between the ages of 17 and 27. Seventeen-year olds need parental consent.
You must have a high school diploma, and have no more than two dependents.
In addition, you must take and pass the ASVAB test, as well as a Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam. For more on joining the Reserve, see the Joining the Reserve page.
Education Benefits and Skills Training
Montgomery G.I. Bill
If you are prior service joining the the Army Reserve, then this is your second chance to take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill. This allows you attend school full-time while serving in the Reserve and get $255 a month in addition to your Reserve paycheck and any other Reserve educational benefits you may be eligible to receive.
For more on the GI Bill for Reservists, go to the Reserve GI Bill section.
Reserve Officer Training Corps - Hundreds of colleges and universities offer Army ROTC as an elective course for college credit. Through ROTC, the Army offers merit-based scholarships that can be worth over $50,000. In addition to tuition and fees, the Army pays ROTC students a monthly allowance for living expenses. There is no military commitment for at least the first year in ROTC. So students can feel free to take a course and see if becoming an Army officer is right for them. The leadership and management training ROTC provides can serve as the foundation for future success in either a military or civilian career.
Visit Army ROTC for more
Tuition Assistance - The Army Reserve can reimburse you for up to 75% of tuition costs for up to 15 credit hours per fiscal year.
For more on this program, see the Tuition Assistance Overview.
Loan Repayment Program
- The Army Reserve helps soldiers pay off student loans they've taken out in the past, if they attended schools on an approved Perkins, Stafford or other Department of Education Guaranteed Student Loan. Soldiers can qualify to have their loan repaid at the rate of 15% of the loan for each year of Reserve duty served, up to a maximum of $20,000. Not many 38-day-a-year jobs offer benefits like that.
Credits for Experience
Members of the Reserve can also take advantage of free College Level Examination Program tests (CLEP). For every test you pass on a particular subject, you earn three transferable college credits.
Earned College Credit
- You can attend college and serve in the Army Reserve at the same time. Many schools grant college credits for military training and experience.
- You can also pursue college and university independent study courses through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) as a member of the Reserve. The program is comprised of over 1200 colleges and universities nationwide which help sevicemembers transfer credits from school to school and get college credits for military training and experience.
Education and Learning Facilities
- Most Army posts have education counselors who help soldiers identify their educational and professional goals, and determine how best to reach them within the Army Continuing Education System. Counseling services include academic and vocational planning, testing, college application processing and financial aid advice.
- Most Education Centers have language labs where you can study new languages or brush up. The Army has Linguistics Schools that offer more in-depth, specialized training to people interested in pursuing military assignments that require language skills.
- The Army Reserve offers training in nearly 200 different specialties. You don't have to join the Army full-time to reap the advantages of skills training. The Army Reserve is full of "part-time soldiers" who learn skills to enhance their present career or prepare them for a new one.
Promotions and Career Path
The Army Reserve bases its promotions on a system called: Select, Train, Promote and Assign. Accomplishment and professionalism are the criteria facing individuals. That individual then enrolls in professional development courses before being promoted and assigned to a position of greater responsibility.
- The prior service career path for enlisted in the Army Reserve is just like that of the regular Army from ranks E-1 through E-9. In many cases, if you were discharged with a rank of E-6 or below, the Reserve can enlist you at the same rank.
If you are prior service enlisted wishing to gain a commission then the Army Reserve might be right for you. As prior-service enlisted you are encouraged to pursue advanced leadership roles. The option of Officer Candidate School, which allows candidates to continue civilian employment during this period, is also available. Training is usually held one weekend a month and during two, 14-day periods.
For the Officer Candidate School Enlistment Option you must:
Have already completed 60 semester hours from an accredited college prior to enrollment
Be able to apply for this program prior to your 29th birthday (There are a few exceptions for people between the ages of 30-34)
If you are an officer, your prior-service experience and leadership can also be put to good use in the federal and state missions of the Army Reserve.
The Army Reserve Experience
The Army Reserve allows you to attend school full time or pursue a civilian career while serving your country.
- As a member of the Army Reserve your commitment will be to attend one drill per month and one period of annual training per year.
- A drill consists of two days of training per month. You'll earn pay for your two days a month of training, plus 15 days of annual tour and compensation for any additional days you choose to put in. Your pay will also be adjusted automatically for cost-of-living increases. You'll also get pay increases for every two years of accumulated service and additional pay for special duty.
To calculate your drill pay, visit the Drill Calculator.
- With the increased reliance on the Reserve, more units are training in other countries and performing vital and exciting missions. Annual training is held for 15 days per year.
Also there may be opportunities to apply for additional training days in which to participate in exercises or further skills training.
- As a member of the Reserve you will have the opportunity to travel both on duty and off. You can take advantage of free travel on military space available flights within the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam.
For more on military travel options and benefits, see the Travel Center.
Life Insurance, Medical Care, Re-Employment Rights
- The Army Reserve provides comprehensive medical care while on duty. You are eligible for low-cost Serviceman's Group Life Insurance. You will also enjoy job security, with re-employment rights that enable you to return to your civilian job after being ordered to active duty for training or during a national emergency. For more on these and other benefits, visit the Reserve Help Pages.
Home Loan Program
- Members of the Army Reserve with at least six years of service are eligible to apply for the Department of Veterans Affairs Home-Loan Guarantee program.
For more on this program, go to the Home section.
- You are allowed to access to all military base recreational facilities such as gyms, tennis courts and libraries. Your privileges are also extended to the use of base exchanges (BXs) and commissaries.
For more on recreational and family benefits, see the Reserve Family and Individual Help page.
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