16 Major Advantages and Disadvantages of Joining the Navy

One of the best ways to serve in the military in almost any country is to join the local Navy. In the United States, this branch of service allows you to protect the way of life that you appreciate in numerous ways. Some sailors serve on vessels and submarines as they patrol the oceans of the worlds. There are pilot programs that can have you flying in jets like the Boeing EA-18G Growler to protect electronic warfare air support.

You can serve at one of the many land-based locations that are in the Navy to provide instruction, coastal rescue services, and a variety of duties which are necessary to keep the military functioning as well. There are over 80 different positions available to those who decide to enlist, offering ratings that can help individuals seek out their strengths, improve weaknesses, and learn meaningful skills that can support a long civilian career after their service if they wish.

There are some requirements for U.S. citizens to pass before an application for enlistment will be accepted. All applicants must have a minimum ASVAB score of 35 to qualify for service. The Navy currently caps the maximum age for a recruit at 35, but the Air Force raised the maximum age for enlisted accession to 39 in 2014. Federal law allows recruits as old as 42 to enlist. Other countries have their own specific minimums for enlistment to follow as well.

Over 50,000 people are successful in their enlistment efforts each year when joining the Navy is their vocational priority. If this is a branch of service that interests you, then here are the pros and cons to consider before finalizing your decision.

List of the Pros of Joining the Navy

1. You receive a comprehensive leave package when joining the Navy.
Once you begin to actively serve in the Navy, then you are given 30 days of leave for each year. That is the equivalent to the vacation time that employers provide in the civilian world. Although you may not always be able to control when you get to take leave, this time does not include your scheduled weekends or holidays that may apply. That means you have time to go home during a deployment, travel the world on a military hop at time, or spend time relaxing in your favorite places while still providing a needed service to your country.

2. Living stipends can be earned in as little as 3 years with the Navy.
When you join the Navy in the United States, then there is an excellent chance that you will have an opportunity to benefit from the GI Bill. This legislation provides a series of benefits that include education, retirement, apprenticeship training, and numerous other advantages which are available because of your service. Depending on your rating and reason for discharge, you may be able to earn a living stipend after enlisting with only three years of service to this branch of the military. That is a minimal investment to make in exchange for the potential returns that are available.

3. Naval service creates an opportunity for a 100% mortgage.
By joining the Navy, you are also creating an opportunity where you can purchase a home for yourself or your family without paying any money down. This option is referred to as a VA loan, which you can qualify for through any approved lender based on the benefits you receive from your service or veteran status. Depending on where you are stationed or the location you decide to live after discharge, you may qualify for 100% funding of up to $453,000 when you are ready to purchase a home.

Not only is this option one of the few zero-down lending products that are available in the American housing market today, but it is also available to current homeowners who may need to refinance to access the equity in their own from previous loans as well.

4. It provides your family with emergency monetary protection.
When you decide to join the Navy, then you are given an option to receive $400,000 worth of life insurance that is immediately payable upon your death during your service. There is also a $100,000 death benefit that the military pays to its gold-star families when someone is killed in action. Workers in the civilian world access similar coverage, but at a far greater policy cost than you would through your service. Then you can rest assured that if something unforeseen does happen to you, it will still be possible to provide for your loved ones.

The Navy does not reduce any Social Security or indemnity payments which may apply to your situation either.

5. You can earn a full retirement after serving for 20 years in the Navy.
The retirement benefits that you can earn in the Navy might be worth more than $1 million, depending on the age you decided to join and what your final income years were when making the calculation. Although the actual structure of the program has shifted away from the traditional pension that public-service workers used to receive in previous generations, you will still receive a generous retirement package that can help you to enjoy a relaxing life at a young age.

If you decided to join the military at age 18, then you could potentially retire before the age of 40 with a package that could make it so that you never need to work again. Should you decide to seek out employment, your retirement benefit is not reduced.

6. The Navy will forgive a significant amount of your student loans.
One of the perks of joining the Navy is that you can receive extensive financial assistance toward a college degree. If you already went to school before joining the military, then you can receive a substantial amount of forgiveness for your student loans. This branch will provide up to $65,000 of total relief for your existing debt if you serve a total of 36 months. You will receive one-third of your forgiveness for each year of service. There are some stipulations and rules to follow to qualify for this program, so speak with your recruiter first to ensure you can receive this unique advantage.

7. You can receive a 0% interest rate on your student loans in the Navy.
If you are stationed in an area of hostile duty while serving in the Navy, then the interest rate on your student loans can drop to zero for up to 5 years. The only thing you need to provide to obtain this benefit is a letter from your commanding officer stating your deployment or a copy of your orders. There are deferment options available to those serving as well to prevent credit damage when you are in a position where it is not possible to direct monthly payments to your loan servicing provider.

8. The Navy offers significant enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses.
The U.S. Navy offers one of the most significantly valuable sets of enlistment bonuses that are currently associated with military service. The amount that you receive is based on the assigned rating you are given. Although the average amount is $20,000, you can earn anywhere between $10,000 to $38,000 for specific positions.

You can also earn a bonus for bringing a college education to your field. A bachelor’s degree or greater is worth an $8,000 bonus. Shipping bonuses are available for rates that leave for boot camp during a specific period as well. In total, you can earn up to $40,000 when you join. The re-enlistment bonuses for positions are also substantial, with the highest ratings earning close to $100,000 after just 36 months of service.

9. Joining the Navy will boost your resume.
The vocational skills that you learn in your position after joining the Navy can translate into numerous opportunities in the civilian world after you complete your enlistment terms. Even if you do not earn a 2-year or 4-year degree during your training and service, the experience you earned while being in the military is needed for leadership positions throughout several different industries.

And if you are struggling to find a job right now and you meet the age and fitness requirements, joining the Navy makes it possible for you to earn a paycheck instead of running down the clock on your food stamps or other welfare benefits.

10. Being part of the Navy provides you with a sense of duty.
If you struggle to find meaning in the work that you do every day, then it is very likely that you have lost your sense of duty. People take great pride in their work when they know that a job has been completed correctly. If you have lost your passion, then joining the Navy can help you to find it again. Providing protective services for the way of life that you treasure is one of the most fulfilling employment opportunities that you will find in the world today. There may be risks involved with military service, but it also comes with significant rewards to enjoy.

11. You can receive college credits for your time in the Navy.
Many colleges and universities will offer educational credits that you can use toward a degree in your preferred field when you can provide evidence of military service. There are also credit-earning classes held on many bases in the U.S. and around the world that can inch you closer toward a bachelor’s or graduate degree. The credit transfer process is usually more flexible for those who are serving in the military as well, which makes it easier to pursue specialized training while you are also protecting your country.

12. The Navy offers you an opportunity to explore the world.
Joining the Navy in almost any country gives you an opportunity to see more of the world than you would in other branches of service. From a U.S. perspective, there are over 50 major naval bases in the Continental 48 of the U.S. where you might be stationed, with most communities being in a coastal location. There are options for Hawaii and Alaska as well. There are a handful of international bases in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region where your orders may also take you.

List of the Cons of Joining the Navy

1. The salary you earn with the Navy is not competitive with private-sector work.
One of the highest-paying job classifications that is available in the Navy is that of a nuclear engineer. According to information published by Glassdoor, the average salary range for this position is between $55,000 to $136,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, civilian nuclear engineers earn between $66,400 to $159,330 annually. Both positions typically qualify for bonuses. Although you may receive training in the military, you’ll be paying for it eventually with a reduced salary option.

2. You are sometimes called upon to serve in hostile environments.
Serving in the military means that your unit may be called upon to fight against enemy forces to protect your country. Although you receive bonus pay for these orders, the amount you receive is negligible compared to the risks you are taking for your country. Hostile fire or imminent danger pay applies to all pay grades and offers an additional $7.50 per day for a maximum monthly rate of $225. Ratings with hazardous duties qualify for an extra $150 per month as well.

3. There may be times of extended service that you must face in the Navy.
You will find that there are times when you are called upon to perform hardship duty because of your position in the Navy. This disadvantage is defined as being deployed for more than 220 consecutive days. Once you exceed that threshold, then you will receive an additional bonus of $16.50 per day, with payments not to exceed $495 per month. These payment enhancers are also taxed.

4. You must meet strict requirements in order to serve in the Navy.
If you are unable to meet the minimum ASVAB score or are above the maximum recruitment age, then you will not be permitted to enlist in the Navy. For individuals who have a score of at least 30, then your recruiter may suggest an option that allows you to join the Naval Reserves instead.

The educational requirements that are in place for joining the Navy can help you to meet these minimum thresholds. If you only have a GED, then your minimum score is 50 if you want to join. Although you are not required to take this test before becoming a commissioned officer in the Navy, a higher score can get you into the rating that you want to create a comfortable income for yourself and your family.

These joining the Navy pros and cons are usually dependent upon what you hope to accomplish with your military service. If your primary goal is to serve your country and nothing more, then many of these key points will not apply to your decision. If you are trying to build a career from your service, then evaluate each option to see if this branch of the military is the correct option for your needs. You may find that the benefits of joining far outweigh the potential risks you may face with your service.

About the Author of this Blog Post
Crystal Ayres has served as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would like to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.