People who aspire to a military career often look forward to a role in a particular branch of their country’s military service. It may be the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps, or their equivalent, that has a particular appeal. In preparing for a military career, there are several things that you can both do and not do in order to work towards achieving your goal.
The first thing to avoid is anything illegal. People who want to be entrusted with their country’s safety have a much better chance of succeeding if they are law-abiding citizens. Second, you should apply yourself in school. Being able to communicate clearly and interpret documents, understanding your own culture, having a knowledge of history, understanding basic concepts in math and science, and being physically fit are important underpinnings for a military career.
Some people who are looking forward to a military career attend a military prep school, also called a military academy. These schools focus on both academic achievement and leadership skills, and — depending on the school — introduce the students to military hierarchy and military concepts, to a greater or lesser degree. There are both public military schools and private military schools, and they are completely distinct from the schools that seek to instill discipline in unruly young men and women with a so-called “military” approach.
Another approach to preparing for a military career is to become a member of a training corps or cadet group in high school. In the United States, this would be JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), and while this is required at some military academies, it is also available in many public high schools. In Canada, there are the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.
Another step towards a military career may be attendance at a summer program offered by one of the service academies, the institutions that train candidates for officer positions in the country’s armed forces. Service academies may be at the high school or college level. They combine academic degrees with specialized military training and a physical fitness regimen. The training will partly depend on the country’s geography. For example, a landlocked country will not have a branch equivalent to the United States Coast Guard.
Not everyone wants to become an officer, and there is another way to start a military career. You can enlist in the military branch of your choice. Of course, if there is a draft in place, you may find yourself in the military somewhat unexpectedly. In this case, your enforced acquaintance with the military may end up being the preparation that precedes what turns out to be a military career.