For many individuals, joining the National Guard is a great honor.
It allows you to travel to different parts of the world without being an active-duty soldier.
The lessons and skills you’ll learn from the National Guard can translate into a useful experience when finding a civilian job.
If you’re still on the fence about whether joining the National Guard is worth it, then here are 10 benefits to consider.
Is Joining The National Guard Worth It? (10 Benefits)
1. Learn Trade Skills
Joining the National Guard can be a great opportunity to learn trade skills.
If you already have some of these skills, then you can find a great position in the National Guard.
Your skills will develop further and give you the opportunity to get hired at a higher pay rate when you enter the civilian workforce.
If you don’t have these skills when entering the National Guard, then they’re something you can learn.
The National Guard allows you to learn mechanical, telecommunications, and medical skills.
Mechanical skills allow you to work on various types of engines and machines.
You could work as a car, air, or even a boat mechanic in civilian life.
Those lessons are also useful if you plan on joining the military.
Telecommunications is also important.
It can open up potential career paths in communication, retail, and sales services.
Finally, the medical skills you learn in the National Guard can help translate to a blossoming medical career.
Having experience from the National Guard to put on your resume can make it easier to get into medical school and find a job later.
That’s because employers know that they can count on you to show up and do your best work.
The National Guard doesn’t only teach you these skills.
They also teach you willpower, hard work, and discipline.
2. Affordable Healthcare
Healthcare is a serious problem in the United States.
While you’re able to stay on your parents’ health insurance for an extended time, you’ll have to find new health insurance eventually.
The problem is that you’re either stuck with the health insurance provided by your employer or hoping that you qualify for federal or state universal healthcare.
The average amount of health insurance premium in the United States is around $500 a month.
For family health insurance policies, the average is $1,041 a month.
Fresh out of high school, college, or unemployed, paying that amount is impossible.
Joining the National Guard can change that.
Once you’re a part of the National Guard, you’re able to apply for their health insurance.
They use Tricare as their healthcare provider.
Under their policy, you only have to pay $50 a month.
That’s well below the national average.
Tricare also covers several different types of care.
You’ll have your health, dental, and mental healthcare costs covered by the policy.
Like all health insurance policies, not every service is covered.
In particular, you should expect to pay for any kind of service that is cosmetic or falls under the umbrella of alternative medicine.
Otherwise, Tricare covers several different procedures like family therapy, substance abuse support, and various surgeries.
When you join the National Guard, you no longer have to worry about whether you can afford to take yourself or your family to the doctor.
3. Earn Extra Income
Most individuals who join the National Guard do so part-time.
That allows them to work another part-time or full-time job on top of being part of the National Guard.
As a part-time National Guard member, you only need to work a single week every month.
You also need to work a few weeks during the summer.
Other than that, you’re able to focus on your studies or another career.
When you join the National Guard, you’re also paid for the service that you provide.
The amount that you’re paid varies depending on your experience level and the type of work that you’re doing.
The National Guard has various jobs available to fit almost everyone’s skill level.
When you’re deployed during an emergency or war, you may worry that your job will fire you because you’re not around.
It’s illegal for your employer to fire you if you’re actively serving in the National Guard.
It protects your employment.
This also means that you can earn double your income.
You’re able to work your civilian job when you’re not serving the National Guard.
Then add to your overall income when you serve with the National Guard.
It’s a great way to earn extra income and either put it in your savings, pay off debt, or even invest it for your family’s future.
4. Covered School Tuition
One of the most important benefits that you’ll receive if you join the National Guard is your school tuition coverage.
For many individuals, this is what makes joining the National Guard worth it.
The total amount that you receive as a benefit depends on a few different factors.
Each state varies in the type of funding that they provide.
Many universities will completely cover the cost of tuition.
Others will only cover a certain amount.
Considering that many students fall into debt ranging from $60,000 to $100,000, limiting how much you pay can have a huge impact on the rest of your life.
It can allow you to exit college without debt.
You’ll have an easier time buying a home, a car, or investing in your business career.
Having your school tuition covered can take a tremendous amount of stress off of your shoulders.
Joining the National Guard may also be the only way that you can pay for college.
It’s a great way to invest in yourself and your future.
5. Opportunity To Earn G.I. Bill Benefits
If you ever become deployed while you’re part of the National Guard, then you can qualify for G.I. Bill Benefits
These are the same benefits that active soldiers qualify for.
The G.I. bill covers the price of tuition for several different colleges, universities, and even training programs.
Each specific program under the G.I. bill has specific requirements.
You may need to serve in the National Guard for a specific amount of time or be part of a specific kind of deployment.
Depending on the program that you qualify for, you’ll receive a certain amount of money that covers your tuition.
The G.I. bill also allows you to pass your benefits on to other family members.
If you didn’t use up the full amount for your tuition, then you can use the rest to cover your child’s tuition.
This can be a great way to invest in your child’s future.
The G.I. bill sometimes offers better benefits than the standard benefits that come with the National Guard.
As such, deployment can be worth it.
One of the perks of being part of the National Guard is that you stay in your local area.
In some cases, you may need to travel a few hours to a local base.
Regardless, you never leave your state during your service or training.
Because of that, joining the National Guard is a great way to network.
It’s made up of peers in the local community.
You could be serving with other people with similar interests to your own.
It may allow you to start your own business or make the right connections to become involved with your dream career.
Your commander may even be a hiring manager for a company that you’re interested in working for.
Besides meeting people for employment opportunities, joining the National Guard also proves to them that you’re worth hiring.
You can demonstrate your ability to lead, follow commands, and show off your work ethic.
A hiring manager who sees your abilities is far more likely to recommend you for a position than a stranger with a resume.
You can also put your ear to the ground and hear from your fellow guardsmen about local opportunities in career paths that interest you.
7. Travel The Country And World
As a National Guardsman, you’re able to travel both your country and the world.
The National Guard responds to domestic emergencies like natural disasters.
They’re frequently deployed to areas that see damage from hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes.
They help local communities salvage their belongings, enforce the law, and help them rebuild their community.
That makes joining the National Guard a great chance to see other states in the country.
If you have only lived in the western part of the county, for example, then joining the National Guard allows you to serve other communities in the eastern part of the country.
You can see various sights and local attractions during your time off.
Besides seeing new places in your own country, the National Guard also takes you overseas.
During certain military campaigns, the National Guard helps active-duty soldiers.
They don’t serve as long as active-duty soldiers.
This is ideal for many people because it ensures that they don’t need to uproot their life every time a disaster or military campaign launches.
Sometimes the National Guard also deploys to countries that need help due to national disasters.
They help restore villages and bring aid to the area.
The National Guard is a bit more lenient with its members.
You’re able to go on a few tourist ventures during your off-duty hours.
Joining the National Guard will allow you to travel far from home in certain circumstances and touch lives across the world.
8. A Taste Of Military Life
One reason why you may wonder if joining the National Guard is worth it is that you’re also thinking about joining the military.
You may wonder if one is better than the other.
Joining the National Guard first is a better option.
That’s because it can give you an idea about what military life is like.
You’ll undergo training that is similar to military training.
You may also deploy to war zones.
It can give you your first taste of what being an active-duty soldier is like.
You may find that you don’t prefer it.
By getting a taste for the soldier life through the Guard first, you can prevent being stuck as an active-duty soldier for several years if you don’t enjoy it.
9. Create An Extended Family
One of the benefits of joining the National Guard is that it introduces you to a new family.
The training is grueling.
When you’re deployed, you may also feel alone and isolated so far from home.
Your fellow guardsmen can help you feel like you’re part of a family.
You’re all in it together.
Guardsmen receive training that encourages them to rely on each other.
They can accomplish their goals when working together.
Those deep bonds are everlasting.
If you don’t have many friends or a troubled family, then you can find a supportive one in the National Guard.
It can change how you perceive life and your relationships.
Even when you’re done serving in the National Guard, it’s not uncommon for those friendships to last outside of it.
It’s also helpful because you’re making friends with those in your community or nearby.
Active-duty soldiers make bonds with men and women from various states.
When their tour of duty is over, then it isn’t as easy to stay in contact with soldiers who live far away.
In the National Guard, even when you’re out of service, your fellow guardsmen are, at the very least, in your state.
You can maintain your friendships easier.
10. Increase Your Fitness
You will undergo extensive training during the National Guard.
Their goal is to make you fit for service in the military in the event that you deploy to a war zone.
You also need to be fit to respond to natural disasters.
You may help people trapped under debris or be responsible for moving debris out of the road.
Having the endurance and physical strength to complete missions is essential.
It’s a stark change from most jobs.
Standard office jobs keep you trapped in an office.
It’s up to your own discipline to go to the gym and eat right.
Otherwise, you’re in the office every day and doing nothing but sitting in a chair.
That can have a huge impact on your health later in life.
If you’re out of shape or require a bit of extra help in sticking with your exercise, then joining the National Guard can help.
They’ll ensure you eat the right amount of food—and the right kinds of food—to build muscle fast while destroying fat.
They’ll also help you become stronger than ever before.
If you have an interest in being healthy, then joining the National Guard can be a great foundation for maintaining great weight and muscle mass for the rest of your life.
How Much Does The National Guard Pay?
If you’re wondering how much you can make as a member of the National Guard, then the average salary is $48,477.
Commanders and other top-tier National Guard members make an annual salary of $97,500.
Those in the 75th percentile make an average salary of $56,000.
Part-timers, which make up the 25th percentile, make an average salary of $25,000.
Keep in mind that part-timers also work second jobs in their civilian life.
Their final income could easily double or triple that amount.
We can also break those salaries into weekly amounts.
The average weekly pay overall is $932.
Top earners make an average weekly pay of $1,875.
Those in the 75th percentile make an average weekly pay of $1,085.
Finally, the lowest percentile, the 25th, makes an average weekly pay of $480.
You can increase the amount that you earn by taking on more service hours.
You can also try to get into a higher-paying job.
Those with special skills, like certain trade skills, receive higher pay than those with standard or general skills.
If you decide to make a career out of the National Guard, then you can also earn more as you work your way up the ranks.
A commander and drill sergeant, for example, will make far more than a standard guardsman.
What Does The National Guard Do?
The National Guard is responsible for responding to both domestic and foreign situations.
It has a unique command structure in that both state governments and the federal government can command it and deploy it for missions.
Their primary responsibilities are to respond to natural disasters and to support military efforts overseas.
Sometimes they are also called in to help with civil unrest, but this is a controversial use of the National Guard.
There are two main parts to the National Guard.
They’re both a part of the military reserve but are separate from the actual military.
The National Guard has its origins from state militias.
Militias were responsible for protecting the state and helping its local communities during emergencies.
The civilian soldier force is usable by state governments, but the federal government can call on the National Guard to use them instead.
Most National Guard members serve only part of the time.
They train one weekend a month and then serve a few weeks during the year.
If they’re active in the National Guard, then they can deploy immediately to any state or country where a disaster strikes.
Joining the National Guard is worth it if you’re concerned about paying for your college tuition.
It’s also a great way to have your first taste of military life to determine if you want to serve in the military later.
Since you can work part-time in the National Guard, you’re also able to hold onto your civilian job while improving yourself and serving your country.
Consider the benefits listed above if you’re curious about joining the National Guard.NEXT: Is Sociology Hard? (10 Reasons It Is Not)