How Many Military Branches Are There?

Have you been considering joining the military? Before you sign up, you may want to familiarize yourself with the different options available to you. There are several branches and sub-branches that you can get into.

How many military branches are there? The answer is 6 main ones. You can also enter the reserves.

While all the branches have the common goal of defending others in mind, they are different in their own way. They don’t all have the same entry requirements or rules. 

That’s why we said it’s important to familiarize yourself. Check out this guide to learn more about the various US military branches.


The army is the oldest branch of the military. It was established way back in 1775 during the Revolutionary War. Today, it continues to act as the country’s main ground force. 

There are over 500,000 individuals enrolled in the army. Some of them are in full-time positions, and others are in the reserves. They are separated into several different units. 

There’s not a specific number of people in each unit. The only thing that’s consistent is the fact that the squadrons are led by a higher-up of some kind. 

If you want to go through basic training, it will take about ten months. The hours that you’ll put into your training are longer than most workdays. 

You’ll learn basic army terminology, history, and traditions. You’ll have to perform exercise that will help you improve your physical condition and prove on multiple occasions that you can take the physical toll that comes with being in the army. 


If the army provides defense by land, the navy does so by sea. It’s one of the oldest branches of military service, but the army still has it beat. If you want to join the navy, you’ll commit almost 4 years of your life to it. 

When you first enter boot camp, you’ll have to pass a fitness assessment to show that you’re cut out for the job. It involves running a mile and a half within a certain time frame. If you don’t pass it, you’ll have to take it again within a few days. 

Once you get through the assessment, it’s on to 8 weeks of boot camp. We won’t lie, the navy might be the hardest military branch in terms of training. It will push you to your limits. 

When you’re done, though, you’ll get separated into a specialty. You may even be rewarded for all your hard work in the form of military coins and a prosperous career. 

Marine Corps

The marine corps is a little different from the other branches of the military in that recruits are trained in land, sea, and air combat. Marines can fight in all sorts of different conditions. 

Most marines commit to 6 years of service, which is a lot longer than some of the other military branches. Recruits must be at least 18 years old and have completed some type of ROTC program. 

Boot camp for marines is unique. Recruits must complete challenges in order to make it through the training.

Of course, some of this involves a basic endurance test. In fact, that’s the first phase. 

The second phase is marksmanship and the third is survivor skills. It’s said that the third phase is the hardest one to pass. All this leads up to a final step where everyone has to show off what they learned during their training. 

Air Force

The air force is pretty versatile in that there are several jobs that you can take within this branch. You can delve into the combat side of things or do combat support and information management. 

It’s for this reason that the air force is the best branch to go with if you want to have a lot of job opportunities after you’re finished with service. A lot of the skills you’ll gather will translate well to many regular civilian jobs. 

To qualify for the air force, you’ll need to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. This is to determine which air force job you’ll be suited for based on your aptitude. 

Coast Guard 

If you want to be a member of the military but stay within the US, you should consider becoming part of the coast guard. They’re headed by the Department of Homeland Security, so they find more work in local law enforcement than they do warfare. It’s one of the smallest branches of the military that you can join. 

Training is 8 weeks long and consists of learning various rescue techniques and strengthening physical endurance. Unlike the other branches of the military, you’ll have to show off your swimming skills. You must be able to tread water for long distances. 

Space Force 

The last branch of the military is also the newest one. The space force didn’t start up until December of 2019. There are only about 3000 members, making it even smaller than the coast guard. 

It involves researching space mobility, transmitting information through space, increasing survivability in space, and more. It’s important to note that this branch of the military is still in development. A lot about it is unknown. 

How Many Military Branches Are There to Know About? 

How many military branches are there for you to familiarize yourself with before you sign up? The answer is 6. The space force is pretty new, but it’s still considered a branch. 

All the branches have different requirements and training standards to be aware of. If you can prepare yourself ahead of time, the boot camp will go a lot smoother. To learn more about the military, visit our blog. 

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