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How do I Join the Military Reserves?

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The main difference between joining active military or the military reserves is time. In the reserves, instead of working full-time, you typically serve only about one weekend a month and attend a few weeks of training every year. As a reservist, however, you may be called upon to serve full time during times of war. In general, joining any branch of the military requires either U.S. citizenship or proof of legal residency, a minimum high-school diploma, and a criminal-free background. Otherwise, requirements vary slightly by service branch.


Potential Army reservists must be between 17 and 41 years old. They can begin their application online through the link listed under resources. Through the Web forms, individuals explain their interests and abilities and search for and prioritize available jobs. They can then approach a recruiter with any questions and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude (ASVAB) test to determine their strengths and aptitudes,. Finally, they visit a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to undergo physical and drug testing, select an occupational specialty and be sworn in as a soldier to defend the U.S. Constitution.


Navy Reserve applicants must be between 18 and 39 years old. They start by visiting a recruiter for an initial physical prescreening. They must then take the ASVAB test to determine their best careers and their training aptitude for those professions. A medical exam at MEPS allows doctors to verify that applicants are physically ready to enter the Navy. Applicants then select an occupational specialty and complete a preenlistment interview. Any additional tests are administered during the interview. Finally, applicants then take an oath of enlistment to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Air Force

Joining the Air Force Reserve requires an age range of 17 to 34. The application starts with a visit to a recruiting advisor who can explain qualifications and answer any questions. Applicants then proceed to recruiters who can start the process by scheduling the ASVAB test and the medical check-up at MEPS. After selecting an occupational specialty, applicants then train to become airmen.


The process for joining the Marines Corps Reserve requires being between 17 and 29 years old. Otherwise, the process is similar to that of the other services. Applicants meet with a recruiter for preliminary information and screening, take the ASVAB test and pass the MEPS physical. After selecting an occupational specialty, they then undergo training to become a Marine, which takes about 12 weeks to complete.