SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 – Whether you’re a military brat who comes from a long line of soldiers or you’re the first in your family to join the service, one of your first steps should be to talk to a recruiter. They can answer all your questions and help you plan your career. However, there are a number of other things you can do as well that will get you ready for a fruitful career as an officer in the United States military.
You’ll have a more useful conversation with recruiters if you do some research on your own first and start to get a better idea of what you want to do. This includes basics like deciding which branch of the military interests you. Make a list of the questions you want to ask your recruiter. Keep in mind that your plans may change more than once before you graduate high school, and that’s fine. You don’t have to have your entire future mapped out when you’re still a teenager. Your research will give you a sense of the scope of what is possible.
Study STEM and Foreign Languages
You should take as many math, science and technology courses as you can. This will put you in a good position to major in a STEM subject in college and make you an excellent candidate for all branches of the military. While foreign language is not a requirement, knowing one can’t hurt and may help, especially if you learn an in-demand languages such as Arabic or Chinese.
Go to College
You may need a college degree in order to become an officer. There are a number of different ways that you can do this. You could simply get your degree and then attend Officer Candidate School, or you could attend college as part of the Reserve Officer’s Training Core, which generally will cover some of your expenses. In both of these situations, if you needed more money, you could take out student loans from a private lender. Most online lenders have made it easy to check your eligibility. Yet another option is to go to a military academy.
Get Physically Fit
You don’t want to wait until you’ve joined to finally get in shape. You’ll need to meet certain minimum requirements anyway to join, and your training will be much less difficult if physical fitness is already a regular part of your routine. You don’t have to join a sports team or become an athlete, but you should have some kind of exercise program that includes both aerobic conditioning and strength training.
Questions to Ask Your Recruiter
You can ask your recruiter about all of the above points as well as any others that occur to you. A recruiter will be able to discuss preparation, benefits, lifestyle, what your options are and more. They might also be able to point you toward additional resources if you are interested, such as books or any local events that would give you an opportunity to talk to more service people. If your parents have questions, a recruiter can usually talk to them as well.