Is it better to join the army at 16 or 18?

You get a better deal from joining at 18 or older. Here’s why…

If you join at 16 (Junior entry):

  • You’re more likely to be put in the infantry (if you’re male). Infantry training is very basic, you won’t learn a trade, and the risks in war are the army’s highest.
  • The rate of sexual assault is much higher than if you join as an adult (if you’re female).
  • The English and maths courses you get at 16 or 17 are not very good.
  • You’re more likely to be injured while training and have to leave.
  • You’re less likely to be promoted through the ranks (so you’re less likely to get pay rises in the long run).
  • The army can be rough if you’re the youngest in your unit.

But if you join at 18 (Standard entry):

  • You get two more years in school to get good grades that will help you for the rest of your life.
  • At 18, and with better qualifications, you get more army jobs to choose from (and more jobs in the RAF and navy too). 
  • You’re more likely to be promoted through the ranks, with more pay each time.
  • You’ll be stronger – inside and out – and better able to deal with whatever the army throws at you.
  • You’ll have two more years to make your mind up, then you can decide as an adult, without needing your parents’ permission.

And if you do wait until you’re 18, the army will still be there and will still want you.