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Why Do People Join The Army? – 12 Common Reasons!

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

why do people join the army

You have probably heard that people go to the military to serve their country and people. It’s not uncommon because this is the ideal, almost “textbook” answer to why people join the military. However, in reality, there are plenty of other reasons for joining the military, such as:

  • To continue a family tradition
  • To earn respect
  • To acquire a skill or trade and experience
  • To travel and meet/work with people from other cultures
  • To be healthy and fit
  • To finance higher education
  • To avail of medical and housing benefits
  • To have job stability and retire easily

In this article, we will explore all of the reasons above on “Why do people join the Army?” So, if you are interested, join us!

12 Reasons Why People Said “Yes” to Joining the Military


1. To serve the nation

Although we cannot speak for everyone about why they had chosen or would choose to serve in the military, here is a list of all the most common reasons:

Many people enlist in the military because they feel like it is their duty to do so. They are “called to service” by a sense of responsibility and citizenship. This can stem from personal patriotic values or simply a desire to be a part of something meaningful. People who join the forces for this reason indulge in the feeling of pride and accomplishment when they train and carry out missions for the nation’s safety.

2. To continue a family tradition

You would be surprised at how many families have “being in the military” as their tradition. In fact, in 2019, it was found that 79% of Army recruits have a family member who was in service. Children of families who have devoted their life to serving the US follow in the same footsteps. Thus, many people would cite this as their reason to enlist.

3. To earn respect

We all look and (internally) nod at active-duty personnel and veterans in respect. After all, they are people who put their lives on the line for the nation’s well-being. Many people join the military for this “respect” and acknowledgment. To be praised at the pubs or wherever they are, people would choose to enlist.

4. To acquire a skill or trade

The military is a place filled with opportunities to learn. Any service member can pick up a new skill or trade as a result of serving in the military. Skills acquired can be both hard and soft. The former can be marksmanship, while the latter can be teamwork, analytical, and communication skills. Hence, you can gain a lot of skills that would polish your civilian CV when you return to that world after service. In a way, the military is a good way for you to prepare for pursuing a career.

5. To acquire experience

Similar to polishing your CV with skills or trades you have acquired from the military, you can gain a lot of CV-worthy experience from your time in service. These help shape who you are as a person, and thereby, prepare you for any future pursuits, especially career-wise. For this reason, many people choose to enlist.

6. To travel and meet/work with people from other cultures

If you want to travel and meet and interact with people from other cultures, becoming a military member is an option. The military provides means for you to travel without cost and chances to work with people from different places. So, traveling is a more-common-than-you-might-think answer to, “Why do people go to the military?”

7. To be healthy and fit

Being physically fit is an indispensable part of military life. You need to be fit before you enlist, and while you are serving. Thus, many people go to the military to commit to and work towards their health goals. The daily training and strict regime will help you build and stick to healthier habits, which is a practical and more-than-enough reason to go into service.

8. To finance higher education

Higher education is costly. Many people choose to finance it with scholarships, others with the military’s grants and benefits for its personnel. Joining the military is like signing a short-term contract to get higher education without going into debt. There are many chances for your tuition to be waived, and in some cases, you may even be paid to learn. Here are some ways you can avail of educational benefits as a military member:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill

Up to 36 months of paid tuition, living stipend, and book stipend for eligible members who have served at least 90 active-duty days since 2001.

  • Montgomery GI Bill

Up to 36 months of a max of $2150 per month for full-time education for members who have served for at least 2 active-duty years.

  • Top-Up Program

Pay the rest of the cost of classes following normal Tuition Assistance of up to 75% for members who have been approved for federal Tuition Assistance and are eligible for the GI Bill.

9. To avail of medical benefits

Military members can avail medical care without too much cost, and sometimes, even for free. Given the high price tag that comes with every medical service in the US healthcare industry, it is not a surprise that many people choose to enlist in the military for the medical perks that they receive in return. Here are some ways you can benefit medically as a service member:

  • Veterans Health Administration
  • With programs for blindness, agent orange exposure, and HIV/AIDS

10. To receive housing benefits

Some people join the military for housing stipends and loans as with medical benefits. You can get a VA home loan or valuable stipends if you are a veteran. And for the time you are in service, you do not have to worry about housing; the military provides one for you on base.

11. To have job stability

You should not forget that being in the military, regardless of your position, is working. Service is a job. So, when you sign into the minimum 4-year service commitment, you have job stability for at least 4 years. In this regard, many people decide to join the military for job stability. You get a regular, stable income, and as with other jobs, there are opportunities for you to promote. Even better, you get 30 paid vacation days.

12. To retire early

Military members can retire after 20 years of service. So, if you enlisted right after finishing high school, you are eligible for retirement at around 40 years old. This is a lot earlier than the typical retirement age. Hence, many people opt for the military instead of other jobs.


Now, you know at least 12 answers to, “Why do people join the Army?” Other than the common ones we have listed here, there are surely other reasons for enlisting in the military. Share yours in the comments! If it is not one we have on our list, we can consider adding it on!

If you know of any other reasons (i.e., from your friends or family), leave them in the comments as well. We cannot wait to hear from you! Also, please help us share this article with other readers. Thank you in advance!

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