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Army Careers: Salary, Job Options and Duties

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a member of the U.S. Army. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career field for you.

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Provided you can meet the physical requirements and pass the medical examination, there are almost limitless opportunities for employment in the U.S. Army. Duties and responsibilities will be dictated by your occupational specialty, rank and whether you are enlisted or an officer. Job openings are expected to remain consistent for the foreseeable future.

Essential Information

The Army offers more than 150 career options in fields such as administration, arts and media, construction and law. Salary includes base pay, as well a housing allowance (for those not living in Army-provided housing) and additional or bonus pay based on the career and working conditions. Experience and preparation requirements vary by specific career in the Army, but generally no experience is required for enlisted soldiers. However, all members of the military must have a high school diploma or GED.

Required Education High school diploma or GED for enlisted personnel; bachelor's degree or high for officers*
Other Requirements Fitness test and medical screening*
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) No change**
Starting Base Salary (2016) $18,802.80 (for lowest ranking enlisted soldier); $35,668.80 (for lowest ranking officer)*

Sources: *GoArmy.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Job Options and Duties in the Army

Army Arts and Media

Army arts and media careers include working in communications and creative arts. Job duties may include creating media communications, publishing Army media items and performing as a member of the Army band. Careers in this category include:

  • Public affairs specialist
  • Multimedia illustrator
  • Bandsperson

Army Legal and Law Enforcement

Army legal and law enforcement careers focus on safety and security within the Army. Job duties include controlling and extinguishing fires, maintaining order, working on court cases and providing support to troops. Careers include:

  • Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps attorney
  • Paralegal
  • Firefighter
  • Police officer

Army Combat

Army combat positions are those directly related to battle and include many Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) careers. Job duties include operating communication gear, preparation of the AVENGER system, operating cannons, maintaining communications between units, identifying targets, spotting enemy locations and securing the area. Combat careers include:

  • Special forces
  • Communications sergeant
  • Air and Missile Defense crew member
  • Cannon crew member
  • Cavalry scout

Army Administrative Support

Army administrative support careers involve work with personnel, finances, legal, and religious affairs. Most jobs in this category are clerical or supervisory. Duties include providing soldiers with spiritual guidance and tracking financial records, as well as assisting soldiers with career development and maintenance duties. Job titles include:

  • Chaplain
  • Financial management technician
  • Human resource specialist
  • Unit supply specialist

Army Mechanics

Army mechanics work on various pieces of equipment and vehicles used by troops. The main job of any Army mechanic is to ensure all equipment, machinery and vehicles are operating correctly through inspections, repairs and routine maintenance. Mechanics specialize in different areas and job titles include:

  • Avionic communications equipment repairer
  • Construction equipment repairer
  • Artillery mechanic

Army Computers and Technology

Army computers and technology careers cover informational and technical job titles that involve work with computers, communications and intelligence. Duties may involve locating foreign communications, performing maintenance on cable and wire communication systems and troubleshooting various communication networks. Careers in this category include:

  • Cryptologic linguist
  • Cable systems installer-maintainer
  • Networks switching systems operator-maintainer

Army Medical and Emergency

Army medical and emergency careers involve jobs that provide health care to Army personnel. Individuals in these careers may supervise health care staff, manage Army medical facilities, treat Army animals and dispense medications. Careers in this field include:

  • Chief medical noncommissioned officer
  • Animal care specialist
  • Pharmacy specialist

Army Construction and Engineering

Army construction and engineering careers include all careers related to construction. Job duties include providing support to troops through duties like placing explosives, keeping all construction equipment in good working order and monitoring all pipe systems in buildings, equipment, aircraft and ships. Job titles include:

  • Combat engineer
  • Construction equipment repairer
  • Plumber

Army Transportation and Aviation

Army transportation and aviation careers are involved with all aspects of transportation used by soldiers. Duties in these careers involve maintenance, repair, operation and installation of radar equipment, ensuring communication devices onboard Army aircraft are working properly and handling all electrical work onboard aircraft. These jobs include:

  • Avionic communications equipment repairers
  • Radar repairers
  • Aircraft electricians

Army Intelligence and Combat Support

Army intelligence and combat support careers include the staff that supports the soldiers in combat. Soldiers in these careers provide intelligence information, food service, translation and topography services to combat personnel. Job titles in this category include:

  • Commissioned officer candidate
  • Interpreter
  • Translator
  • Food service specialist
  • Signals intelligence analyst

Salary for Careers

Every soldier in the Army receives a base pay, which is directly based upon a soldier's rank and how long he or she has been enlisted. According to the Go Army website, the lowest-paying active solider, a private (E1), received a pay of $18,802.80 as recently as 2016.

Soldiers in the Army Reserves receive a base pay for participating in two weeks of annual training and one weekend a month of training. The base pay, as with active soldiers, is based on the soldier's rank and amount of time served.

The website also noted that the lowest-ranking reserve soldiers with less than two years of experience received approximately $3,300 for their annual and monthly training, which does not include any allowances or bonus pay, as of 2016. Soldiers receive additional pay for special circumstances or skills, including foreign language proficiency, health care providers or those on diving duty.

In addition to those in combat arms, there are well over 100 numerous military occupational specialties that you may be suited for including army intelligence, transportation, construction and computers. Required experience and preparation vary with the career field. Pay is commensurate with rank and time in service, in addition to bonuses for specialized skills or duties.

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