Every service member has a reason for deciding to transition out of the military. Some make this decision to focus on their family, go back home, go to school, or many other reasons that may come to mind. Transitioning out of the service can happen after one tour, many tours, or even when retiring, but either way there will come a time when you will have to leave. Leaving the service can be a time of uncertainty so be sure to have a plan to make the process easier. Below we have listed a few options for those who have served one tour.
Many service members choose to attend school once they get out of the military. If you plan on taking this route, keep in mind the career you want to pursue so you can choose which education course is best for you. Look into the education requirements needed for your career choice to determine if you should attend a public university, community college, or vocational/technical school. Next it is best to keep in mind as to whether you will have the time and finances to go to school online or on campus. Depending on the benefits you receive after the military will also help you in making this decision. For example, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay you a monthly housing allowance (MHA) which is based on the military’s Basic Allowance Housing rates (BHA). If you take classes on campus or hybrid form as a full-time student, you will be paid the full amount of MHA. However, if you take only online courses or are a part-time student you will be paid half of that amount. One of the final steps is to choose your school that best meets your needs. Every school has a different atmosphere so make sure to create a list to determine what you’re looking for.
Depending on your situation, getting a job may be a better option. However, you have to decide what you are looking for in a job and if you meet the requirements. Do you already have the education qualifications for your chosen career? Does the job you want match the skills you learned from your previous military occupation? Is there a specific location or salary that you are looking for? It can feel overwhelming to find a career that matches your skills and interests, but it is key to ask yourself these types of questions. Once you have figured out what job you want, use different resources to help you allocate these jobs. Employment agencies, job sites, or job fairs can help you in your search. After you have located the job you want and reviewing the qualifications and skills needed, it’s time to write your resume. When writing your resume, target your objective, market your accomplishments, highlight your skills, and list your military experience. Everyone doesn’t understand military jargon or acronyms, so make sure to translate everything into terms the employer can understand.
Continue to Serve
If service members leave active duty with less than 20 years of service, some may find that it’s a good idea to transition to the Reserves, National Guard, or other branch of service. This may be a good option for your if you want to earn the retirement since the years you’ve already served will carry over. Each branch has their own policies and procedures when it comes to keeping your rank. Some may let you keep your rank or bump you down, but it all varies based on the branch. Depending on which route you take, there are a few factors that can be taken into account. Your Reentry Code (found on your DD Form 214) is used to determine your eligibility for continued service. Also, the branches of service have limits of the number of prior service enlistments they allow each year. Lastly, whether or not you have to go through bootcamp will depend on which service you choose. Schedule a meeting with a recruiter who will be able to answer all your questions as well as help you pursue your enlistment.