Navy Reserve Vs. Air Force Reserve

by Richard Morgan; Updated September 26, 2017
Choosing between Air Force and Navy Reserve depends upon individual needs.

While there are some basic similarities between the Navy Reserve and the Air Force Reserve, notably in enlistment qualifications and pay, there are differences to consider. A person looking to enlist in either branch should do research and talk to people who are in both branches to get a personal viewpoint.

Enlistment

Joining both the Navy Reserve and the Air Force Reserve requires the basic essentials of having a high school diploma in most cases, although both branches will make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Applicants for both services need to pass a physical and also need to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

ASVAB Scores

The ASVAB is administered by each branch of the service, but the eligibility to serve requirements vary by each branch. For example, while the Army will allow an overall ASVAB score of 31 to enlist at the most basic level, the Coast Guard requires an overall ASVAB score of 45 to join. The Air Force requires an overall ASVAB of 36, while the Navy requires an overall ASVAB of 35.

Jobs

Naturally, there are going to be different jobs for the two branches. As an Air Force reservist, jobs have a strong focus on aviation and aviation-related opportunities. On the other hand, the Navy reservist has the opportunity to work in both naval-related areas and aviation-related fields. A Navy reservist assigned to a Navy squadron will get experience in both marine and aviation areas. An Air Force reservist, however, will not have as many marine-related areas, since--with the exception of three drone recovery vessels--the Air Force does not have any actual ships, while the Navy has a great many jets, planes and helicopters.

Location

Another difference between the Navy Reserve and the Air Force Reserve is the Air Force Reserve allows those in the Reserve to choose where they wish to be stationed. The Navy Reserve does not offer that consideration. Instead, it provides a list of locations that a Navy reservist can apply for, keeping in mind that applying for that duty does not guarantee acceptance.

Education

Both the Navy Reserve and the Air Force Reserve offer tremendous opportunities for continuing education, while in the service and after serving. While serving as a reservist, an individual can take free College Level Examination Program tests. For every test that is passed, the individual earns three transferable college credits. In addition, reservists in either the Navy or Air Force who are honorably discharged and who enlisted after September 11, 2001, are able to take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This bill provides education assistance and tuition reimbursement of up to 100 percent.

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