What are the Different US Army Enlistment Incentives?

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  • Written By: S. Reynolds
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
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The military offers many US Army enlistment incentives for new recruits, including college money, the Thrift Savings Plans, Civilian Skills Bonus, and the Ranger Bonus. Since the military branches operate with an all-volunteer force, they rely heavily on perks such as bonuses to bring in interested individuals with skills. Most stints in the US Army last at least four years, but some can last as many as 20 years with full benefits granted after retirement.

Many young people who are still in high school are drawn to the signing bonus perk and the college tuition incentive. The US Army offers each recruit the chance to take college courses for free on the Government Issue (GI) Bill. These classes are usually taken online, on military base campuses, or on nearby college campuses. In order to get tuition reimbursement, the recruit must pass all courses. For those recruits who want to go into certain coveted job fields or into the Reserves, the Army offers signing bonuses that are paid after basic training is completed.

The Thrift Savings Plan is an investment and retirement plan offered to certain enlistees. It matches contributions up to a certain dollar amount each year. Enlistees can choose to contribute as much or as little as they want to their Thrift Savings Plans, up to the specified tax-deferred limit that is set by the IRS. The Ranger Special Forces also offer Army enlistment incentives to enlistees who complete a Ranger program.


For civilians who have certain skill sets, the military offers Army enlistment incentives such as signing bonuses. Skills that are in demand by the Army include religious training and medical training. These bonuses are extended to those who want to enter the US Army Reserves as well.

A Seasonal — or Quick Ship — bonus is given to new recruits who agree to stay in the Army for two years and attend basic training within the next month. Recipients need to have a high school diploma and score at least a 50 on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The Army pays out Army enlistment incentives after basic training and job training is completed. If a recruit is eligible for more than $10,000, he or she is given the first $10,000 after basic training and the rest of the money after job training is finished. If an enlistee is eligible for less than $10,000, the full amount is paid out after basic training.


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