Explore the Several Ways To Serve

Generally speaking, all the services offer active duty (full time) and Reserve (part time) careers. If you have the right qualifications, you may have the opportunity to train to be an officer (i.e., through Officer Candidate School, or military academies). Individual services may also have other options. The chart below provides more details on the ways you can join each military branch.

Ways of Joining

U.S. Army
  • Active duty (full time)
  • Reserve (part time)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Direct Commission Officer)
National Guard
  • Drilling Guardsman (part time reserve)
  • Fulltime Guardsman (fulltime reserve)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Direct Commission Officer)
U.S. Navy
  • Active duty (full time)
  • Reserve (part time)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Direct Appointment)
U.S. Air Force
  • Active duty (full time)
  • Reserve (part time)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Air Force Academy, Direct Appointment)
U.S. Marine Corps
  • Active duty (full time)
  • Reserve (part time)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Direct Commission Officer)
U.S. Coast Guard
  • Active duty (full time)
  • Reserve (part time)
  • Officer (including ROTC, Officer Candidate School, U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Direct Commission Officer), Coast Guard Auxiliary (Volunteers)

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