Once a person has decided to opt for a military career, the next step is to choose between active and reserve duty. This is a major decision that will determine the entire course of a stint in the military. Here are some things an incoming soldier should consider before making this life-changing decision.
Perhaps the most important factor a person must consider is the trajectory they desire for their outside civilian career. By enlisting for active duty, a soldier ensures they will have at least two years of constant work in their field. They will then have this experience to call upon when they enter the civilian workforce. The problem, of course, is that during their time in the military active duty members will not have the opportunity to work a civilian job at the same time.
Reservists, on the other hand, will have to dedicate much less time to their military careers. This means that, despite considerable vocational training, they will not get the same vital on-the-job experience as their active duty counterparts. The benefit of reserve duty, of course, is the time it provides for beginning a successful civilian career. Reservists often choose to avoid active duty because they want to work an outside job.
It is also important to have location in mind when deciding between active and reserve duty. While a choice is often granted to active duty members after training is completed, they can still be sent anywhere in the country (or the world). Active duty members must accept the fact that their hometown will always be decided by the needs of the military. Reservists, on the other hand, are able to train close to home and will only be sent abroad if changed to active duty, making reserve duty an excellent option for people who feel a need to stay put.
Active duty is of course a much greater time commitment. Active duty members have the military as their full-time jobs. They are granted leave (of which they receive thirty days per year) and liberty, which allows them to take some time off. Reserve duty members, meanwhile, don’t need leave or liberty because they are only called in a few days a month anyway.