Should I Join the Military Reserves?
If you’re considering military service, there’s a good chance someone has mentioned joining the military reserves. Many consider the reserves as another stepping stone to serving their country. It offers valuable benefits without having to give up your civilian job or schooling, with part time commitment requirements.
Known as the best military-to-civilian resume writing professionals, we have worked with many people who are interested in serving in the military reserves. The only way to know if the reserves is right for you is to fully understand what the reserves are and what it means to be a part of the reserves.
Today, we’ll give you a rundown of the eligibility requirements, provide information on how to join, and discuss the expectations and benefits of the military reserves.
What are the Military Reserves?
The reserves are the support factor of the active-duty military. When the U.S. Armed Forces is in need of additional manpower, the President of the United States or Secretary of Defense will call up reservists from the seven reserve components of the military in support of military missions and operations.
There are seven reserve components that provide support to the active-duty military:
- The Army National Guard
- The Army Reserve
- The Air Force Reserve
- The Air National Guard
- The Navy Reserve
- The Marine Corps Reserve
- The Coast Guard Reserve
Many people transfer to the reserves from active-duty military life, because it’s another way to use their prior military experience and continue to reap the benefits. But you can join the military reserves without military experience and get a taste of what it’s like to be in the military while maintaining a civilian identity.
Reserves Eligibility Requirements
Although there are small differences between each military reserve component, many have similar requirements, obligations, and benefits. National Guard members who perform state active duty are eligible for state benefits.
Overall, you must meet these requirements to join the reserves:
- Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- Be between the ages of 17 and 43
- Pass an armed forces physical exam
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB)
- Meet the minimum ASVAB eligibility standard. You must receive a sufficient score on the ASVAB composite called the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
Each military branch and job specialty may have more requirements in addition to the above.
How to Join the Military Reserves
Just like the active-duty military, you should contact a recruiter to join the military reserves. The recruiter will be able to explain the process and opportunities available to you. Visit the websites below to get more recruiting information:
- Army National Guard
- Army Reserve
- Air Force Reserve
- Air National Guard
- Navy Reserve
- Marine Corps Reserve
- Coast Guard Reserve
Expectations When Serving in the Military Reserves
The reserves may have a part time service commitment, but it is still significant. Once you’re a member of the reserves, or guard, you will become settled into your unit.
You can expect to work one weekend a month, known as drill. You will also participate in a two-week annual training session every year.
Your obligations are broken down in detail below:
- Initial training
Your first training session will be your chosen branch’s basic military training. This training lasts anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. You may need to attend an advanced training course, depending on your job.
- Monthly drill
You’ll need to drill for 48 periods or units per year. Most reserve and guard units drill one weekend a month, with each weekend counting as 4 drill periods. 2 drill periods for Saturday and Sunday. Some units may have additional drill requirements, which may include a weekday.
- Annual training
For two weeks each year, you’ll attend annual training.
Being activated into full time service during war time and even peacetime is an option. You may be activated, voluntarily or involuntarily, with your unit or on an individual basis. Activations may include 30 days in a unit near your hometown or up to 1 year supporting a mission abroad. If you are activated involuntarily, you cannot opt out or decline because the military has ordered you to active service.
- Length of commitment
Your military reserves contract can range from 3 to 8 years, depending on the branch of service and your occupation.
Benefits of the Military Reserves
By being a member of the military reserves, you’ll receive several benefits including:
- Part-time pay
Reserve Component pay is based on your rank and time in service. Sometimes, cash bonuses are available for certain job skills and the military’s current needs. Your pay will be based on the Active Duty Pay Table during full-time and annual training, and active duty.
- Health care
Military reserve service members receive TRICARE Reserve Select, a subsidized, fee-based health care coverage, to be used when the member is not on active-duty. When members are on active duty for more than 30 days, they receive medical and dental at no cost, and the reserve family members receive health care coverage too.
Reserve or Guard members who made at least a 6-year commitment can access up to 3 years of educational assistance through the Montgomery GI Bill® for Selected Reserve. Learn how to use your GI Bill benefits.
Service in the military reserves earns points towards reserve retirement.
Besides the benefits above, you will receive training for your job in the guard or reserves, and will be eligible to use the shopping facilities available on base or post.
Empire Resume: The Military to Civilian Career Services Liaison
Joining the military reserves is a wonderful way to serve your country without leaving your full-time, civilian job. As a way to bridge the gap, the 944th Fighter Wing Reserve at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, organized 2021 Employer Day for reserve Airmen to invite their civilian managers to the base to see what the military mission is all about. Learn more at the April 22, 2021, article, “Civilian, Military Careers collide for Employer Day.
While your commitment to one of the seven reserve components of the military is long-term, unfortunately, civilian employment is not.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12, and many workers spend five years or less in every job. As a result, more energy is spent transitioning from one civilian job to the other. Statistically, it’s highly probable you will change civilian jobs multiple times while you are a member of the reserves.
While you maintain your military job, let Empire Resume be your career services resource. Our military-to-civilian resume writing services, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters will highlight your value and place you above other candidates when searching for a new civilian job.
Contact Empire Resume to get the job you deserve while serving in the military reserves. Our professional resume writing services delivers results, guaranteed!
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.