Army Reserve Training Program Information

Sep 19, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an Army Reservist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and Basic Combat Training (BCT) to find out if this is the career for you.

Army reservists are not full time military personnel. Anyone interested in enrolling as an army reservist should be prepared to complete the same training that active duty military do. Army reservists complete physical and mental conditioning and receive military weapon, advance combat, and safety training.

Essential Information

Upon enlisting in the Army, recruits attend Basic Combat Training (BCT) in Fort Jackson, located near Columbia, SC. Broken down into three phases, the training mentally and physically prepares recruits for life in the military. Army reservists do not serve on active duty. They instead perform their military duties part-time while working a civilian job or are enrolled in school. Reservists' pay reflects two weeks of annual training and one weekend of training each month.

Required Education Advanced Individual Training (AIT)
Other Requirements Basic Combat Training (BCT)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* Steady growth
Base Pay (2018)** $3,431.43 (E1 rank)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **U.S. Army

Basic Combat Training

Phase One

Recruits begin phase one with the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which includes a 2-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. After passing the APFT, recruits receive classroom instruction in topics including military law, nutrition, the Seven Army Core Values, personal finances and land warfare. Hands-on training consists of land navigation, marching, rappelling and rope climbs. Recruits learn how to react to biological and chemical weapons, and gain confidence in their gas masks by entering a tear gas chamber.

Phase Two

During the fourth and fifth weeks of basic training, recruits participate in rifle marksmanship drills. Recruits learn to adjust rifle sights, fire a rifle in different positions and hit targets at various distances. Phase two of training also teaches recruits to move within combat zones by practicing tactical foot marches.

Phase Three

The last three weeks of training focus on advanced combat skills. During phase three, recruits complete a 9-mile tactical march in full combat gear and learn to attack targets as a team. Recruits also learn to handle advanced weapons, such as machine guns, rocket launchers and hand grenades. Upon completing phase three and passing a final APTF, recruits attend a graduation ceremony and transition from civilian to soldier.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Army Reserve pays its reservists depending on their duty status, rank, years of service and responsibilities. For example, a private with the rank of E1 and no years of service would earn a base pay of $3,431.43 per year, according to the 2018 pay system. That's the combination of the reservist's annual training pay and weekend drill pay. If the E1 reservist is on active duty, the base pay was $20,170.80 in 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected employment in all branches of U.S. military service to remain steady from 2018 to 2028.

Advanced Individual Training

Soldiers prepare for their assigned jobs within the Army Reserve by attending Advanced Individual Training (AIT) after completing BCT. At AIT schools, soldiers learn skills pertaining to their career fields while continuing the training they received in BCT, such as marksmanship and drills. The length of AIT depends on the career field, but most last at least four weeks. According to the U.S. Army website, soldiers finish AIT after passing all academic tests, the Army Physical Readiness Test, mental and physical evaluations and advanced rifle marksmanship tests.

Ongoing Training

Army reservists must complete regular training after AIT since they only work for the Army part-time. Reservists improve their job skills by attending a training session, called Unit Battle Assembly, one weekend per month. Soldiers receive advanced training in their career fields and work to build camaraderie within their unit during annual training programs lasting two weeks. Reservists also participate in Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), conducted by the Department of Defense. In IRT, reservists use their specialized skills to provide services, including health care and road construction, to impoverished communities.

Army reservists must first enroll in the army and complete a three-phase training program before being considered an army reservist. These military personnel have civilian lives and work only part-time for the armed forces. They are able to improve their military skills through continuous training sessions and an annual training program.

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