Special Forces

Military Career

General Information

Description

Special forces members implement unconventional operations by air, land, or sea during combat or peacetime as members of elite teams. These activities include offensive raids, demolitions, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and counterterrorism. In addition to their combat training, special forces members often have specialized training in swimming, diving, parachuting, survival, emergency medicine, and foreign languages.

Work Environment

Because special forces team members must be prepared to go anywhere in the world, they train and work in all climates, weather conditions, and settings. They may dive from submarines or small underwater craft. Special forces team members may also be exposed to harsh temperatures, often without protection, during missions in enemy-controlled areas. Most of the time, however, they work and train on military bases, ships, or submarines.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure
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Military Outlook

Service Branches

Jobs in this career field may be available in other service branches. Call or email a particular branch for more info.

  • Army
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard

Military Status

  • Enlisted
    • Hands-on/specialized
    • High school diploma required

Military Workforce

Special Forces in the Military

19,664

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Salary

Average Salary

$52,693

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Education

Military training

All enlisted service members complete basic military training, which includes time spent in a classroom and in the field, and covers tactical and survival skills, physical training, military life and customs, and weapons training. Due to the wide variety of missions, Special Forces enlisted service members undergo some of the most intense and demanding physical and mental training in the world. They are trained swimmers, paratroopers, and survival experts, as well as trained in many forms of combat. Special Forces in the Military will gain skills through classroom study, practices exercises under simulated mission conditions, and on-the-job experience. Job-specific training content may include: Physical conditioning, parachuting, swimming, and scuba divingUse of land warfare weapons and communications devicesExplosives handling and disposalBomb and mine disposal

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Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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