Life After Graduation

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Jim Biaglow, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Jim Biaglow

    Jim Biaglow Jim

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    I'm currently a junior in high school and want to serve in the military by either attending USMA, USAFA, USNA, or through ROTC. I've learned what it takes on the application side of things, and now I'm looking for information on what happens after you get out and start your military career.

    Some questions I have Include:
    What determines your military station/job? I've read class rank and professor recommendations. Not sure if that is correct.
    What expenses are covered/not covered while stationed?
    What is the starting salary after you graduate? I've read $50,000 to $70,000
    What jobs are available? I'd like to study engineering, but I haven't been able to find what kind of military career follows this degree.
    After my initial required service, what are my options for a continued military career?


    Post military life (this is mainly towards graduates of the academies)
    Does having a degree from a service academy make it easier to get jobs? Similar to the impression left by a degree from Harvard, Yale, etc.
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Look up the DoD pay tables, if you want salary information. Graduates start at O-1, with BAS, and BAH for their station (Basic Allowance for Housing depends on rank, if you have dependents, and location. For a single LT, it should cover a decent 1-2BR apartment in the local area.)

    For USAFA, your AFSC (career field) is determined by what you request, and your order of merit (all your grades, plus some recommendations). Where you are stationed depends on what job you'll be doing, where you ask, and where the AF needs you.

    As for what is covered as far as pay and benefits, you'll get your base pay, BAS, BAH, any specialty pay (flight pay, etc), and full health and dental. You'll also be able to use the base/post facilities, like gyms, shopping at the BX/PX and Commissary (which are usually competitively priced).
     
  3. BR2011

    BR2011 USAFA Cadet

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    Your final paycheck depends on what city you're stationed in. If it's a place where housing is expensive then it will be more toward the 70k mark because your BAH will be higher. If it's less expensive then more toward 50k.

    As a single guy you will have more money than you'll know what to do with.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Your "base pay" isn't anything to write home about BUT the fact that your basic allowance for housing (BAH) isn't taxed is HUGE. I didn't realize how huge until I got out and 100% of my paycheck was taxed.

    As others have said, BAH varies with location, so while your base pay may not go up as you move from Oompteesquat, MT, to Washington, D.C., it will certainly feel like you've received a raise. That said, BAH varies because where you get higher BAH, there is also a higher cost of living. You may feel like you received a raise when you get to Washington, but you're also paying more to live.

    As far as "what are my options after serving your required amount"... it depends. If you haven't incurred more obligations, from grad school or flight school, etc.... well, you can either get completely out or continue to serve. It may be interesting to see how much say you have in it, as service budgets take a big hit, but it's up to you.

    There are plenty of paths in the military for "engineering", but I'm guessing at some point you'll narrow down the field a little bit.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'd also like to point out, that while approximately 50% of the academy graduates will "Get out and start their military Career", there's still the other 50% that will have "Additional Education". Yes, they are O-1's getting their full pay, housing, and food money, but many of them are "STILL" in additional school. Some are in pilot training for the next 1 1/2 - 2 years. Some have 6 months additional training for a specific job. Some will have 2-3 years of graduate school getting their MA/MS/PhD and then will continue on to more training for their job.

    But Ramius, LITS, and BR already mentioned the pay and how it works. I just wanted to let you know that approximately half or more of those graduating from the academies don't just "Start doing their job". They are getting paid regular pay; which may be what you really were interested in anyway; but they aren't actually doing their Job yet. Many won't be doing that for months/years to come.
     
  6. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Not a grad yet, but I realize now that having at least 7 years of job security (from my perspective) isn't a bad thing. Especially with the way the economy is right now.
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I don't know if I should consider my further 11-12 year commitment as job security or lock and key! :) lol
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Wait, where are those two extra years coming from?
     
  9. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Time here while still a cadet at the academy. Well really 6 1/2 years now I suppose...
     
  10. Eagle

    Eagle Member

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    "Some have 6 months additional training for a specific job. Some will have 2-3 years of graduate school getting their MA/MS/PhD"

    LITS and Christcorp please expand on thess directions.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    This is less true for the Coast Guard, and I would venture to guess SOME Navy.

    Going to school immediately after graduation for a master's or doctorate would put the person behind in their training. For the Coast Guard, it's usually a second, third... tour option.

    For the Coast Guard, with the exception of people going directly to flight school, most graduates will get their training at their first units. They will have sign-off sheets that experts from their units will "sign-off" once they have shown they are proficient in certain areas, like engineering or driving the ship.

    At some point you'll likely have advanced training, but generally not long long schools. Boarding officer school at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, SC is where the Coast Guard goes for that training (there are other FLETCs for other federal LE agencies).

    When I got to my first unit I had sign-offs. I also went to a two week Navy Electronic Key Management System (EKMS) school, which was VERY boring. Later I attended the Coast Guard Public Affairs Coast at the Defense Information School (DINFSO).

    But, in general, for the Coast Guard, most of your initial training and learning is compliments of your actual unit. You will likely have the opportunity to go to school or two as well.

    For other services, (the Army for sure) people go to school for their branch specific training. I don't know much about it, but that's what my Army friends say.
     

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