1. What Do Army Officers Do?
The duties of army officers include:
- Engaging in combat and other military operations such as disaster relief
- Leading junior soldiers while in combat
- Monitoring the welfare of newly-recruited soldiers
- Engaging in specialist activities, such as repairing and maintaining aircraft and warfare systems
- Distributing guns and other pieces of warfare equipment to junior soldiers.
2. Work Environment
Protecting American people and interests is a round-the-clock job. When army officers are not on active duty, they spend their time in military bases, where they continue receiving training.
When on active duty, the environment sharply changes. They could be deployed to a warzone in a foreign country where typical working conditions are inevitably dangerous. This also means they spend long periods of time away from their family.
The job is physically challenging. Imagine carrying heavy weapons while navigating difficult terrain!
According to Goarmy.com, officers on active duty earn an annual basic pay of between $34,862 and $69,987. With bonuses, allowances and other benefits, you can expect these figures to rise.
4. Entry Requirements
The first step to becoming an army officer is to, of course, enlist yourself with the Army. To enlist, you must:
- Be a high school graduate
- Be at least 17 years old and at most 41
- Be an American citizen
- Pass a criminal and drug background test
- Meet minimum physical standards for weight, height, vision and overall health
Before joining the army, it is important to seek the advice of a career counselor or an experienced military personnel to learn about the pros and cons of the profession.
To progress from being a new recruit to an officer, you must undergo officer training in the US Military Academy in West Point. Training lasts four years.
However, if you are a college graduate, you don’t have to go to West Point. You can join an Officer Candidate/Cadet training school, after which you will be commissioned as an Army Officer
Other professionals, like engineers, physicians and lawyers can become officers through direct commission.
5. Important Qualities
To be an effective army officer, you need:
- Excellent leadership skills
- Excellent practical and technical skills
- Mental preparedness –You must be able to persevere through tough working conditions
- Readiness – You must be prepared to go to war at any time
- A passion for your country
- Physical fitness
- Good communication skills
- Good teamwork skills
- The ability to think quickly and make sound decisions
- Self-confidence and discipline.
6. Career Advancement
In the military, securing a promotion to a higher rank largely depends on:
- Time in service and grade
- Fitness levels
- Job performance
- Leadership ability
Therefore, as a beginning army officer, you will begin as a Second Lieutenant and gradually rise to First Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General and finally General.
Although obtaining college credentials can help you fast-track your upward movement, pursuing post-secondary education after joining the service is a tough task, unless you are exempt from active duty deployment.
7. Employers and Job Outlook
The US Army is the sole employer of army officers.
Each year, about 155,000 military personnel are hired in replacement of those who leave or retire from the force. Regular promotions within the Army also create additional employment opportunities for army officers and other personnel.
So, if you possess the desire and the mental and physical strength to defend our country at the time of need, it is high time you answered the call to be an army officer.