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If you’ve been considering a career in the military, you may be wondering how to know what branch is right for you. While it’s a hard decision to make, asking yourself these four questions first will help you make an informed choice.


What skills do you already have?

If there is a skill you’re proficient in prior to joining the military, do some research into what branch has careers using that skill. There are over 800 enlisted jobs in the military, meaning it’s likely there’s a position that will be of interest to you. The positions range from language expert, to military IT guy or weapons expert. It’s likely you’ll be able to find a career that interests you and that you’ll be skilled at.


Can you deal with the commitment?

Joining the military isn’t like taking a new job. You can’t quit if things are tough or aren’t what you expected. It’s a multi-year commitment and it won’t always be easy. Read accounts from service members and veterans in every branch. Do plenty of research before signing on to make sure it sounds like what you truly want.


Have you been fully informed?

It’s an unfortunate truth military recruiters aren’t always completely honest about what joining the military will be like. It’s their job to get you to sign up, and they may stretch the truth a little bit in order to get you to do so. Actively listen to your recruiter, and then make a list of all of the questions and concerns you have. This will help prevent you from feeling misled or cheated by your situation.


What do you want to do with your future?

While some people stay in the military for their entire career, others decide to enter back into civilian life after a certain number of years. Before enlisting, think about what you may want to do with your future. While it seems far off, it’ll be here before you know it. You want to be prepared for what is going to come, and make sure you’re on the best path to achieve it.


Where do you want to live?

There are military bases all around the globe. While you don’t have any control over where you get stationed, you can choose to enlist in the branch that has bases in places you would like to live. Research all of the branches of the military and see where their bases are located. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll end up in your top choice base, but picking a branch that has more bases you’d want to live in than not means you’re likely to be happier with your decision.