If you?re graduating soon, or you?ve graduated recently but haven?t decided on a career path, consider making the National Guard the next stop in your career search. For many young adults, the Guard is the perfect ?first career.?
National Guard’s Mission
The National Guard?s primary objective is to maintain a standby force of citizen-soldiers for America?s defense. But the Guard must also maintain a staff of business professionals to perform the full-time duties needed to remain ready to serve at a moment?s notice.
(Note: The Air National Guard is a separate branch of the military that operates with the U.S. Air Force. Most of its operations mirror those of the United States National Guard.)
While there are some full-time Guard jobs, most Guard soldiers work at a full-time civilian job while serving part-time in the Guards. After a 10-week basic training program, a soldier?s commitment to the National Guard is one weekend a month, plus an annual two-week training period. The total enlistment period is eight years, although some specialties serve only three or six years before transferring to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for the remainder of the enlistment. In the IRR, soldiers no longer train with their units, but they may be called up for active service.
While the National Guard is a part-time job, you might consider it your first career, too ? a part-time career that can help you define a lifelong career.
First, the National Guard can provide you with college funds. For example:
? The Montgomery GI Bill offers a monthly allowance for books and supplies of more than $350.
? Federal Tuition Assistance offers up to $4,500 a year for four years to cover tuition and fees.
? The post-9/11 GI Bill can help cover your tuition if you?ve served at least 90 days of active service.
? The Army National Guard Kicker can provide up to $350 each month for living expenses.
State education programs and specialized training assistance programs can provide additional funds to help you pay for college expenses.
Second, even if you?re not going to college, National Guard Careers can provide you with training for your selected career in fields such as engineering; aviation; security; medical; and machinery and equipment servicing.
Finally, in addition to the career training it provides, National Guard service always looks good on a resume.