What Happens After You Get Out of Basic Training?
Anyone who joins the military must first go through basic training, sometimes referred to as “boot camp.” Basic training gives new recruits a solid foundation of skills and knowledge that they’ll rely on for their entire military career.
Each branch of the military has its own basic training program, which lasts from about 7 weeks to 13 weeks depending on the branch. After you successfully complete basic training, you’ll be invited to a graduation ceremony. Approximately 90% of new military recruits graduate from basic training.
Where you go after graduating from boot camp varies depending on which branch of service you belong to. Let’s look at what happens after you get out of basic training in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
What Happens After Army Basic Training?
After graduating from basic training in the Army, you’ll move on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). During AIT, you’ll learn the skills required to do your specific job or Military Occupation Specialty.
The amount of time you spend in AIT can vary from a few weeks to several months, depending on the career field you choose to pursue. There are 17 career fields to choose from, including:
- air defense artillery
- aviation logistics
- financial management
- military police
No matter which field you choose, you can rest assured that during AIT, you’ll receive in-depth, hands-on training that will prepare you for your military career. After you graduate from AIT, you’ll be assigned to your duty station where you’ll be working and living for the next few years.
What Happens After Marine Corps Basic Training?
New Marines are required to attend Military Occupational School (MOS) after graduating from boot camp.
However, there’s a brief stop for all Marines before MOS depending on whether you plan on becoming a combat Marine or a non-combat Marine.
If you plan on becoming a combat Marine, then you’ll attend the School of Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) for 59 days. You’ll receive advanced training to become an expert rifleman, tank missileman, infantryman, or an anti-tank technician.
If you plan on becoming a non-combat Marine, then you’ll attend the Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT) for 29 days. The term non-combat Marine is kind of a misnomer because you do learn basic combat skills that you would use on a battlefield, such as hand-to-hand fighting, first aid, navigation, and marksmanship.
The reason the Marines require you attend ITB or MCT after boot camp is because they want every Marine to be a combat-ready Marine, regardless of whether you are likely to see action or not.
Once you’ve completed either ITB then MCT, then you’ll move on to your MOS. There are many exciting career fields to pursue in the Marines including, but not limited to:
- field artillery
- amphibious assault vehicle operations
- communication strategy
- explosive disposal
- aircraft maintenance
Once you complete your MOS, you’ll be deployed to your first assignment where you’ll live and work for the next several years as a Marine.
What Happens After Navy Basic Training?
After your graduation from basic training, you’ll be required to attend Navy A school. Similar to AIT, Navy A school is where you go to learn essential skills you’ll need as a sailor. Depending on what you decide to study, you can be in A school for up to two years.
These are some of the career fields you can train for in Navy A school:
- navy diver
- sonar technician
- air traffic controller
- aviation mechanic
- cryptologic technician
- special warfare operator
Once you’ve completed A school, you’ll have about 10 days to visit family and friends before you’re deployed to your assignment.
What Happens After Air Force Basic Training?
Just like other service members, recently graduated Airmen are required to complete additional training. This additional training takes place at Air Force Tech School and could last from four weeks up to two years depending on what you decide to study.
Here are some of the topics you can study at Air Force Tech School:
- aircraft maintenance
- missile maintenance
- civil engineering
- medical services
- air traffic control
- cyberspace defense
- health services management
- pararescue services
The Air Force is a bit different than the other branches of service. You’ll have some say in where you would like to be deployed after you graduate from tech school. The Air Force will take your preferences into consideration, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get your first pick.
What Happens After Coast Guard Basic Training?
Unlike the other branches of service, the Coast Guard does not require additional training after boot camp. Instead, you’ll have five days off immediately after graduation.
Then, you’ll be assigned to your duty station. The Coast Guard takes these three things into account before sending you to your first assignment:
- The needs of the Coast Guard
- Your qualifications for the role
- Your indicated preferences for a specific assignment
Basic Training Is Just the Beginning
Basic training is an essential first step in anyone’s military career. However, after basic training, you can develop skills to help you succeed while in the military and after you transition to civilian life.
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Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was 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.