Enlisting in the military can help you achieve your career goals. In fact, there are even some jobs that you can only do as a service member, like drive a tank or fly a fighter jet. Here’s what you need to know about your future military career.
How you receive your military job
While every enlisted service member graduates from their branch’s basic training, where you head afterwards depends on your assigned military occupational specialty, or MOS. In the Air Force, this code is called an Air Force Specialty Code, or AFSC.
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Your preference for which MOS or AFSC you want to pursue will be considered. However, the military job you’re ultimately assigned to hinges on your personal talents – as evaluated by various exams like the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, and your initial military trainers – and roles the service needs filled the most when you enter.
Some branches assign jobs to service members when they sign their initial contract before basic training. Other services wait to assign codes until later. You may be guaranteed a specialty within a category – which we describe below – but not a specific military job code. Make sure you ask your recruiter how MOS or AFSC assignment works for your service before you enlist.
Different categories of military occupational specialties
While all service members will eventually receive a specific MOS or AFCS – such as a firefighter or artillery specialist – many enlistees enter boot camp only knowing that they will receive a position within a broad category of MOS. That is, enlisted recruits may know they will get a job within the broad protective services or combat categories, but they won’t know their particular military job code until after basic training or later.
Browse the categories below to see what range of military jobs interests you, and be sure to make your military career preferences known when asked by your instructors and other officers.
You can express interest in a specific military job specialty or even general category. However, your assigned MOS or AFSC will be based on your branch’s mission needs and your personal abilities, as determined by the ASVAB and other exams, as well as the training specialists you have during basic and advanced training.
What happens after you receive your military job assignment
Depending on their assigned MOS or AFSC, enlisted service members take more advanced coursework after basic training to fulfill their military job duties.
- Army soldiers will go to Advanced Individual Training, or AIT
- Marines will go to the School of Infantry, or SOI.
- Navy seamen will go to advanced training at one of 21 “A Schools.”
- Air Force airmen will head to technical training, where enlisted service members will automatically earn traditional college credits in addition to their military specialty.
Depending on your assignment, skills and performance on the job, you can request a transfer to a different military specialty. You’ll have to discuss how to do this with your unit commander and determine whether your desired assignment is available.
If you’d like to discuss anything about your military life or even vent to someone who understands what it’s like – knowing what you say stays completely confidential from your chain of command, peers and family – you can reach out to Military OneSource anytime.