Is Joining the Army Worth It? Examining the Pros and Cons

Joining the army is a life-altering decision that requires careful consideration. While the army provides many benefits, it also comes with potential drawbacks. Understanding army life and personal factors are crucial in deciding whether joining the army is worth it.

The benefits of joining the army are numerous. It provides job security, a sense of duty, and the opportunity to serve your country. The army offers excellent training and education opportunities, which can help you develop valuable skills that can be used in civilian life. Additionally, the army provides healthcare, housing, and other benefits that can be difficult to obtain in the civilian sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Joining the army can provide job security, a sense of duty, and valuable training and education opportunities.
  • Potential drawbacks of joining the army include the risk of injury or death, long deployments, and the possibility of being stationed in undesirable locations.
  • Personal factors such as family, career goals, and personal values should be considered when deciding whether to join the army.

Benefits of Joining the Army

Joining the army offers numerous benefits that can help you grow both personally and professionally. Here are some of the benefits that you can expect when you join the army:

Education Opportunities

The army offers various education opportunities that can help you acquire new skills and advance your career. For example, you can take advantage of the Army’s tuition assistance program to earn a college degree while serving your country. The program covers up to 100% of tuition costs and provides you with the flexibility to attend classes while on duty.

In addition, the Army offers specialized training programs that can help you gain valuable skills that are in high demand in the civilian job market. For example, you can receive training in fields such as cybersecurity, logistics, and healthcare, which can help you secure a well-paying job after you leave the army.

Career Advancement

Joining the army can also help you advance your career. The army has a clear and structured career path that allows you to move up the ranks and take on more responsibilities over time. This can help you develop leadership skills, which are highly valued in the civilian job market.

In addition, the army provides you with opportunities to work in different fields and gain experience in various roles. This can help you develop a diverse skillset that can make you more attractive to potential employers.

Personal Fitness

When deciding if joining the Army is worth it, you should also consider that the Army will get you into shape physically and keep you at a high fitness level. But honestly, it’s not like you might see in some movies where someone is in your face and yelling at you to MOVE IT! You may get that kind of “personal attention” when you attend your initial entry training, but once you graduate and get to your unit things will calm down.

Let’s face it, it is tough sometimes to be self motivated enough to meet your fitness goals day after day and year after year. When you are in the Army, you have the motivation of your peers and leaders to help keep your goals in focus and to meet the Army standards as well. If you ever watch a physical fitness test being taken by soldiers, you fill find them cheering each other on. The following video on youtube shows you an example of this awesome spirit between Army Cadets. By the way, a cadet is what you are called when you are training to be an officer but haven’t achieved officer rank yet.

The Army has physical standards you will need to achieve and maintain. Both weight and physical fitness standards are included. Up to twice each year, soldiers are required to take the Army’s physical fitness test as well as take measured for height and weight. Depending on your age and gender, there are varying standards that need to be met. Army Regulation 600-9, table B-1 (PDF page 23) shows you the Army’s current height and weight standards. ATP 7-22.01 covers the Army’s current physical fitness test standards in chapter 4-16.

Healthcare and Retirement

The army provides comprehensive healthcare coverage to its members and their families. This includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, as well as access to mental health services. In addition, the army offers retirement benefits that can help you secure your financial future. These benefits include a pension plan, a Thrift Savings Plan, and access to healthcare benefits after you retire.

Overall, joining the army can provide you with numerous benefits that can help you grow both personally and professionally. From education opportunities to career advancement and healthcare benefits, the army offers a wide range of benefits that can help you achieve your goals.

Potential Drawbacks

Joining the army is a significant decision that comes with its fair share of drawbacks. In this section, I will discuss some of the potential drawbacks of joining the army.

Risk to Life

One of the most significant drawbacks of joining the army is the risk to life. You could be deployed to dangerous areas where they face the risk of injury or death. Combat situations are unpredictable, and soldiers must be prepared to face any situation at any time. While the military provides training to prepare soldiers for combat, there is always a risk involved.

Long-Term Health Issues

Another potential drawback of joining the army is the risk of long-term health issues. Soldiers are exposed to various hazards that can cause health problems later in life. For example, soldiers may be exposed to chemicals, radiation, or other harmful substances that can cause cancer or other health issues. Additionally, soldiers may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues due to their experiences in combat.

Some Limited Personal Freedom

Joining the Army can mean giving up some personal freedom. Soldiers are subject to strict rules and regulations, and can be highly regimented at times. But the same can be said for other occupations of high importance such as teachers, lawyers, or any type of government job. You will be expected to live the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. For example, soldiers may not be able to choose where they live, when they can leave the base, or how they spend their free time. I mean if you want to spend your free time doing something dishonorable, then the Army or military is not for you.

In conclusion, joining the army is a significant decision that comes with its fair share of potential drawbacks. Soldiers face the risk of injury or death, may suffer from long-term health issues, and give up some personal freedom. It is essential to carefully consider these potential drawbacks before deciding to join the army. But like any occupation you pursue, or company you will work for, you have to understand the pros and cons in reference to the other options available to you.

Understanding Army Life

Joining the army is a big decision that comes with a lot of responsibility and sacrifice. To help you decide if it’s worth it, it’s important to understand what army life is really like. Here are some of the key aspects of army life to consider:

Physical Demands

Army life can be physically demanding, especially during basic training. You will need to be in good physical shape and able to handle long hours of physical activity. This can include running, marching, and carrying heavy equipment. You will also need to be able to handle extreme weather conditions, such as heat, cold, and rain.

Mental Challenges

In addition to the physical demands, army life can also be mentally challenging. You will need to be able to handle high-pressure situations and make quick decisions under stress. You may also be required to spend long periods of time away from your family and friends, which can be emotionally difficult. This could be a deployment or going to a school for 8 weeks. The good thing is that the Army has many resources to help you with any problems you might be facing. for example they can provide therapy options and give you time off to deal with personal matters if needed.

Family Impact

Joining the army can have a significant impact on your family. You may be required to move frequently and spend long periods of time away from home. This can be especially difficult if you have young children or if your spouse is also in the military. It’s important to consider the impact that army life will have on your family before making a decision. Although this can be hard, you can receive special pay such as family separation to help offset things.

The Army realizes the impact of deployments and has implemented a policy that where soldiers only deploy once every 4 years. So for every month deployed, they want you to have 4 months dwell time. Dwell time is simply time while not deployed. Read more about mobilization to dwell time ratio in DTM 21-005.

Overall, army life can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to carefully consider all aspects of army life before making a decision to join. By understanding what army life is really like, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s worth it for you.

Personal Factors to Consider

When deciding whether or not to join the army, there are several personal factors that you should take into consideration. These include your personal goals, attitude towards authority, and willingness to relocate.

Personal Goals

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to join the army is your personal goals. If you are looking for a stable career with good benefits, then the army may be a good option for you. However, if you are looking for a career that allows for more flexibility and autonomy, then the army may not be the best choice.

Attitude Towards Authority

Another important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to join the army is your attitude towards authority. In the army, you will be expected to follow orders and respect the chain of command. If you have a problem with authority or have difficulty following orders, then the army may not be the best fit for you.

Willingness to Relocate

Finally, you should consider your willingness to relocate when deciding whether or not to join the army. The army is a mobile organization, and you may be required to move frequently throughout your career. If you are not willing or able to relocate, then the army may not be the best choice for you.

Overall, joining the army can be a great option for some individuals, but it is important to carefully consider your personal goals, attitude towards authority, and willingness to relocate before making a decision.


Based on my research and personal experience, joining the army can be a worthwhile and fulfilling decision. However, it is not for everyone and requires careful consideration of the pros and cons.

One of the main benefits of joining the army is the opportunity for personal and professional growth. The army provides extensive training and education programs that can lead to valuable skills and certifications. Additionally, serving in the military can instill a sense of discipline, responsibility, and leadership that can benefit individuals in all areas of life.

On the other hand, joining the army also comes with its challenges and sacrifices. The risk of injury or death is a real possibility, and deployments can take a toll on mental health and relationships. It is important to carefully weigh these risks and consider if they align with personal values and goals.

Ultimately, the decision to join the army should be made after careful consideration of individual circumstances and goals. It is important to thoroughly research the benefits and drawbacks, as well as speak with current or former service members to gain a better understanding of what to expect.