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What does a Military Officer do?

Do you think you have what it takes to serve your country and protect its citizens? A career as a military officer is a distinguished, disciplined professional path that you must pursue with pride, honor, and dedication to core American values.

Becoming an officer

Military officers are leaders and organizers who are expected to excel both physically and mentally while under pressure. There are five branches of the American military - Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard - and, depending upon which branch you serve, your duties can vary widely. Your duties and responsibilities will also vary depending upon your rank.

In order to become an officer, you must at least hold a high school diploma, though generally, officers are preferred to have completed at least a bachelor's degree. Then, you may pursue an officer career track in one of three ways:
  • Enlist in the military and apply to officer candidate school
  • Attend an accredited college or university and enroll in the school's ROTC program
  • Attend a service academy such as West Point, Annapolis, or The Citadel
As a military officer, you will be assigned to and trained in a specialty based partially on what you're good at, partially on what the military's needs are.

Made in the U.S.A.: career pathsfor a military officer

Officer ranks consist of commissioned officers (the highest ranks) and warrant officers. As a military officer, you may be assigned to one of the following occupational groups:
  • Combat specialty officers could plan or direct military operations, or lead units in a number of information gathering, offensive, or search-and-rescue missions.
  • Health care officers might provide medical, dietary, or psychological services to soldiers at military facilities.
  • Media and public affairs officers might direct training or news-related video, radio, or television broadcasts, or handle press inquiries into military-related activities.
  • Protective service officers protect people and property on military bases, and might help prepare for and execute responses to emergency situations.
It is also possible to take skills learned through the military and apply them to civilian careers. Many skill sets cross over for those who choose to leave the military after their set-service time.

Commissioned military officer earning potentials

Military wages are fairly cut and dry: You will be paid according to your rank and the number of years you have been serving. In addition to salary, military officers receive free room and board (or stipends to cover these expenses), medical and dental benefits, 30 days of paid leave annually, and a host of other benefits. Before joining the military, it is important to do very thorough research on your committments and requirements.

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