About the Army
Soldier holding a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Drone

What Is Active Duty?

Active duty Soldiers serve in the Army 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of their service commitment. Think of it as working a full-time job.

Where will I live?

Your living situation will be based on a number of factors, including your unit, your Army job (Military Occupational Specialty), and your deployment status. But generally, you will live on a base, either in a forward area of operations or within the United States.

Most bases have a fitness center, a community pool, parks, walking and biking trails and camping areas. You could also take part in a wide variety of intramural sports, including football, baseball, soccer and Frisbee golf. Soldiers have access to specialized and discounted shopping at the Post Exchange (PX), and you’ll find all of the brands you would in the civilian world, but at much more affordable prices.

Explore Post Locations


Both single Soldiers and Soldiers with families may live on an Army base. Single Soldier barracks are equipped with general-purpose washrooms, an apartment-style kitchen area, walk-in closets and a common area. Families are provided with modern housing with yard space, appliances, laundry rooms and a garage.

Inside look at Post Housing


Active duty service terms typically last two to six years, but your service length may vary depending on your unit’s mission. Soldiers are eligible for a two-week rest and relaxation leave after six months of deployment.


When you make the decision to join the Army, you will take a test called the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Think of it as the Army’s version of the SAT. It’s designed to help the Army understand your skills. Once you complete the test, you’ll be able to choose from a list of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) that match your qualifications.

Learn more about ASVAB

After you complete Basic Combat Training (BCT), you will then move on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT), where you will become an expert in the MOS you have chosen. Think of it as a technical school for Army Soldiers. After you graduate from your AIT school, you will receive orders to join your unit at your next duty station.