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A national TV commercial is shot aboard the USS Nimitz for the Navy Recruiting Command in October 2012.

Serving Now

Continuing your Military Career in the Navy

What will you do when your current military service obligation is up? As a current servicemember, you have options in America’s Navy. There are opportunities to consider whether you’re in the Navy or in another service branch, whether you’re Enlisted or an Officer, whether you’re interested in full-time or part-time service moving forward.

Servicemembers considering continued Active Duty service who are not in the Navy should contact a Navy Recruiter to get details on potential interservice transfer options. Those already in the Navy should reach out to either their Command Career Counselor (if Enlisted) or the Career Transition Office (if an Officer).

Any servicemembers considering separation should take the opportunity to learn about the Navy Reserve and think about making the seamless transition to part-time service. It’s a great way to hold onto those important military ties, to go on reaping benefits and refining skills, and to find the balance between military and civilian life that is so often sought.


Entry Requirements for Current Servicemembers

The fact that you’re a servicemember suggests that you likely already meet the basic entry requirements for part-time Navy Reserve service. With this background, you may also be granted more options when it comes to Navy Reserve qualifications and the length of your Navy Reserve commitment.

The goal is to make the transition to a part-time military role as simple and straightforward as possible for current servicemembers. Because there’s really no one better qualified or valued than those who are serving now.

Know the Basic Entry Requirements

If you’re serving, qualifications like citizenship, health and height shouldn’t be an issue. As for age and education:


The general age requirement for the Navy Reserve is that you must be between the ages of 18 and 39 and be able to have 20 years of total service by age 60.


Just as with Active Duty military qualifications for Enlisted personnel, the minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required. For Officers, a degree from a four-year college or university is typically required. But any education and/or experience acquired while serving on Active Duty could potentially open up new possibilities for you in the Navy Reserve.

Because qualification and commitment details relate to your specific background and interests, you should utilize the appropriate resources for more information.

Know the Basic Obligations

Serving in the Navy Reserve traditionally requires a minimum of one weekend a month (drilling) and two weeks a year (Annual Training). Most of the training can be arranged to take place close to home so relocation is not required. In general, this is what to expect from serving in the Navy Reserve:


Your regular training typically amounts to 16 hours each month at a nearby training site. There are hundreds of locations across the U.S. – check the map of Navy Reserve locations to find the site nearest to where you live. And note that you may be able to take advantage of flexible drilling options. This could involve fulfilling the annual commitment in a single extended mission or serving on weekdays if your civilian career makes weekend service difficult.

Annual Training

For at least two weeks each year, you will take part in advanced training that can take you across the U.S. or around the globe. This is typically a command exercise with your drilling Reserve detachment, but you may also have opportunities to pursue independent assignments that broaden your experience.

Service Commitment

Obligations in the Navy Reserve for those currently serving typically range from two to six years.

Enlisted Basic Training

If you’re currently serving on Active Duty in an Enlisted role in the Navy (NAVET) or any other service branch (OSVET), there’s no need to repeat Recruit Training (Boot Camp) again.

Officer Training

If you’re currently serving on Active Duty as a Navy Officer (NAVET), there’s no need to repeat the prerequisite training for commissioning. You can simply apply and transition through the Direct Commission Officer Program. If you're currently serving on Active Duty as an Officer in any other service branch (OSVET), you may also apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program. However, you will have to complete the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) Course in Newport, R.I.

As an Active Duty servicemember, the military background you bring to the Navy Reserve is in great demand. And the advanced skills you can refine by serving part-time will be highly valued in the civilian sector.

Service Commitment

The amount of time you are required to serve depends upon many factors, including your interests, your background, your pursuit of an Officer or Enlisted position, or whether you are taking advantage of Navy education opportunities.


Enlisted positions typically require an initial service commitment of four years (positions involving longer-term training may involve longer service obligations).

Officer positions typically require an initial service commitment of three to five years (again positions involving longer-term training may involve longer service obligations).

The best way to confirm the specific service commitment that will apply to you is to contact a recruiter.

Deployment Deferment for up to Two Years

If you're a current Navy servicemember (NAVET), be aware that you can receive guaranteed initial deployment deferment when you transition into the Navy Reserve.

  • Two-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating within six months of release from Active Duty
  • One-year involuntary mobilization deferment available if affiliating between seven and twelve months after release from Active Duty

Contact your Career Counselor or the Career Transition Office (CTO) to learn more.

Reserve Entrance Programs for Those Currently Serving

The programs that allow you to transition into the Navy Reserve depend upon your service background. NAVET (Navy Veteran) is the classification that applies to those coming from the Navy. OSVET (Other Service Veteran) is the classification that applies to those coming from all other branches of the military.

As a servicemember, refer to the Reserve entrance program that best applies to you.

NAVET (Navy Veteran)

If you’re a member of the Navy or Navy Reserve (Enlisted or Officer), the NAVET program will allow you to enter or recommit to the Navy Reserve.

It’s important to note that the Career Transition Office currently assists all conversions of Navy Officer and Enlisted personnel from Active Duty to Reserve Duty. Learn more about that entry process now.

Also keep in mind that if transitioning, you will most likely enter at your current pay grade and rate/rank.

OSVET (Other Service Veteran)

If you’re an Enlisted member of a military branch other than the Navy, the OSVET program will allow you to enter the Navy Reserve. If you’re an Officer who holds a commission from one of the other military branches, you may apply for a Navy Reserve Direct Commission.

In most instances, you will be able to retain your current rate/rank. Refer to the Rate/Rank Converter to see your equivalent rate/rank in the Navy Reserve.

Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for further details.


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Reserve Entry Process for Current Servicemembers

The process of transitioning to part-time service is generally simple and seamless. For guidance:

First things first: If you’re on Active Duty and interested in the Navy Reserve, make sure the information in your form DD-214 is complete and correct. To obtain a copy of your DD-214, simply submit form SF-180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.

Download the SF-180 form now.
(Can't view the above file? Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

To learn more about how to prepare and how the process works for those already serving, refer to the path that applies to you.

Learn More

How Can Employment and Service Work Together?

There's important information that all potential Reservists, current Reservists and their civilian employers should be aware of.

Learn More >

Potential Affiliation Bonuses Now Available

Depending upon your rating or specialty and whether you are Enlisted or an Officer, you could be earning a bonus from $5,000 to $20,000.

Find Your Equivalent Rate/Rank in the Navy Reserve

Rates, ranks and terminology that indicate a servicemember’s status differ by military branch. But grades (E-1 to E-9 for Enlisted and O-1 to O-10 for Officer) indicate how status equates across the uniformed services.

Once you know where you stand, you can see how your current pay grade compares.

In most cases, the Navy Reserve will honor the military rate/rank you currently hold. Visit the Rate/Rank Converter to determine your equivalent rate/rank in the Navy Reserve.

Questions? Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.