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National Guard

Education and Training – High School Diploma
Average Salary – Varies
Job Outlook – Good

The National Guard is the reserve military force of the United States of America. Unlike other positions in the United States military, members of the National Guard serve part time, and also hold civilian jobs. There are a wide variety of roles within the National Guard, just as there are a wide variety of roles within the regular armed forces.
Some of the roles that people can apply for within the National Guard include positions within the infantry, medical, engineering, and logistical areas. There are a wide range of roles available which means that there is a position to suit almost any skill-set.

Once part of the National Guard, a person will give a portion of their time to train with the National Guard and undertake drills. This is often described as being one weekend a month and two weeks in a year. This has all changed since the September 11th attacks as it is now far more common for the National Guard to be deployed in Afghanistan.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to join the National Guard a person must have a High School Diploma or be actively working towards completing one. Prospective entrants into the National Guard need to be between the ages of 17 and 35 although there are exceptions to this for people with past military service. US citizenship is also required.

Getting the Job

There are a range of physical and mental requirements before someone is accepted into the National Guard. These include an upper limit on body fat percentage and passing an aptitude test. Recruits then have to complete a ten week Basic Training program which is an immersive introduction to the physical and mental requirements needed to be a soldier.

Other than meeting the basic requirements for eligibility, men and women seeking to join the National Guard will need to be mentally tough, physically fit, healthy, law abiding, patriotic, and ready to follow orders. The toughest part of joining the National Guard is the ten week Basic Combat Training program. This is an intense program which stretches the mental and physical capabilities of recruits to the limit.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

There will always be the need for a National Guard so it is a steady career. It is possible to advance through the ranks of the National Guard and this will bring increased pay and responsibility. Over time, members of the National Guard will gain new skills which will serve them in both their military and civilian lives. Some people who have spent time in the National Guard enjoy it so much that they enlist in the military on a full time basis.

Working Conditions and Environment

The working conditions for a National Guard member are varied and exciting. The exact nature of the working environment will depend entirely upon what the National Guard member is involved in at any given time. Training drills take place in a variety of environments, many of which are outdoors. If deployed in a combat operation then the National Guard soldier will spend time overseas in the land where war is taking place.

Salary and Benefits

The National Guard is unlike any other career in terms of salary as National Guard soldiers will also hold a civilian job. National Guard soldiers are paid for the time they spend with the National Guard and the rate of pay depends upon experience and the nature of the activity with the Guard. For this reason there is no salary as such and anyone looking for in-depth information on Guard Pay should contact their local National Guard recruitment center to find out more.

National Guard soldiers enjoy a range of benefits including health care, life insurance, and a Federal retirement plan.

Where to Go for More Information

The Air National Guard Readiness Center
3500 Fetchet Ave.
Andrews AFB, MD 20762-5157

The Army National Guard Readiness Center
111 S George Mason Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204

The National Guard Bureau
1411 Jefferson Davis Hwy.
Arlington, VA 22202-3231

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service