Today, I want to share some practical advice on which Army MOS to pick when you enlist in the Army. Most people are very young when they first join the Army (17-21 years old) and they simply don’t know what they don’t know. They go to their local recruiter, take an ASVAB test, take their medical tests at MEPS and then choose an MOS from the options they are given on that specific day. In other words, they don’t put a lot of thought into the MOS they choose.
That’s how it’s normally done anyway.
Knowing what I know now, I would definitely recommend a different approach. Rather than being reactive, I think it is wiser to be proactive and have a game plan before you ever set a foot in your Army recruiter’s office or at MEPS. After all, joining the Army is a big decision and you should definitely put some thought into it.
Choosing the right MOS is very important. No, you won’t necessarily be locked into one MOS your entire military career (if you choose to make a career out of the military), but picking a MOS that interests you and prepares you for life after the Army is very important.
Today, I want to teach you how to do that, so you can go to your recruiter and MEPS with a game plan! Let’s get started.
# 1 Take Your ASVAB
The first step in the process is to take your ASVAB test. You want to do this first so you can get your line scores and know which MOSs you are potentially eligible for. This is the starting point. Most people do this during their senior year of high school. If you don’t have a current ASVAB test score, get with your local recruiter and they will give you a test.
# 2 Make a List of Civilian Careers That Would Interest You
I understand you are 17 -21 years old and probably aren’t sure what you want to do with your life. That’s perfectly normal. That being said, spend an hour or two and brainstorm potential civilian careers, or trades, that you think would interest you. In other words, what could you see yourself doing with your life AFTER the Army. The reason I think it’s important to think about this is because the Army can potentially train you for almost any trade or career you can imagine, free of charge.
For example, let’s suppose your dream has always been to be a welder. That’s what your dad did and that’s what you see yourself doing with your life. In this example, why not enlist as an Army welder? They’ll train you and give you some real world experience, so after your first enlistment you can leave the Army and find a great civilian job.
# 3 Make a List of Army MOSs That Would Interest You
Once you’ve put some thought into what civilian careers you see yourself pursuing in the mid-term and long-term future, your next step is to evaluate all of the different Army MOSs that interest you. You can start out by doing an internet search and printing off a comprehensive list of all the MOSs available. From there, you can make a list of the ones that interest you. Once you have your preliminary list of 10-20 MOSs, you can do your due diligence and learn more about each MOS. One easy way to do that is to spend some time on YouTube or do a quick internet search. There is a lot of free information online.
# 4 Find Out the Requirements for Each MOS
Once you’ve whittled your list of potential Army MOSs down to your top five or top ten choices, your next step is to find out the requirements for each MOS. Find out what scores you need on your ASVAB and if there are any medical restrictions (example: 20/20 vision) that might keep you from doing that MOS. Cross off the MOSs that you are not eligible for and whittle your list down to your top three to five choices.
# 5 Retake Your ASVAB Test If Needed
The next step in the process is to retake your ASVAB test, if needed. For instance, if your ASVAB score is too low for all of your top three to five choices, I would take another test. Get an ASVAB study guide and put a lot of effort into raising your score. It’s worth a few weeks of sacrifice to prepare and retake the test.
# 6 Go to Your Recruiter/MEPS with a Game Plan
Once you’ve done the steps mentioned above, it’s now time to go to your recruiter and visit MEPS. Assuming you’ve passed all of the medical tests and are medically qualified to join the Army, you are now ready to enlist. Since you did all of your prep work ahead of time, you can now choose the MOS you desire (assuming there is availability in the Army). In many cases, availability for jobs can change on a day-to-day basis. To the best of my knowledge (please verify with your recruiter) you have 30 days from the time you finish your MEPS processing to actually enlist. You might want to wait a week or two or three until the job you want opens up. Whatever you do, don’t be pressured into enlisting into a MOS that doesn’t interest you.
Let’s suppose you’ve followed the steps mentioned above, but you just can’t decide what you want to do with your life. That’s fairly normal. If that’s the case, just about any MOS will do. I should also note that most Soldiers will get an opportunity at some point in their career (after their initial enlistment) to get an additional MOS. So even if you end up with a MOS that you don’t enjoy all that much, you won’t be locked into it forever.
There you have it folks. This is my six step process on how to choose the right Army MOS when you first enlist in the Army. I hope you found the information helpful and I hope that you will spend a considerable amount of time to think through the process and determine what you want.
What are your thoughts? What tips or suggestions can you recommend for choosing the right Army MOS? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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