All branches of the Armed Forces usually require their members to be high school graduates or have equivalent credentials, such as a GED or HiSET. In 2006, more than 98 percent of recruits were high school graduates. Officers usually need a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Training varies for enlisted and officer personnel and varies by occupational specialty. Following enlistment, new members of the Armed Forces undergo initial-entry training, better known as “basic training” or “boot camp.” Through courses in military skills and protocol recruit training provides a 6- to 13-week introduction to military life. Days and nights are carefully structured and include rigorous physical exercise designed to improve strength and endurance and build each unit’s cohesion.
The five branches are: