Home » The Transitioning Process: What to Expect and What You Need To Know

The Transitioning Process: What to Expect and What You Need To Know

by quimencekors1971
military transition

From the moment we get that call from our recruiter alerting us of our new assignment to a new role, things become hectic. There is so much to do in such a short amount of time, and it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are many people who have been in your shoes before and are willing to help you on this new journey. Transitioning from one role to another is not easy, but with the right support system and preparation beforehand, you will succeed. Every military member has a different transition experience. What makes one person successful in their next job might lead another down a different path. It’s important that you understand the process and what you need to know before making any decisions on your future as an active-duty service member.

The Basics of Transitioning

When transitioning from one role to another, you will be going through what is called a DD-214. The DD-214 is the official discharge paperwork for any service member that has fulfilled their obligation to the military. This can happen in two ways. One, you can be released from your contract or two, you can opt to separate from your contract and pursue another career path. In order to be eligible for a DD-214, you must have served at least 36 consecutive months of active-duty service. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it is best to check with your chain of command and personnel department before making any assumptions.

Residency and Time Off

Depending on the type of assignment you are completing, you may have to go through a residency program. A residency program is a time-based program where members are expected to live and work in a certain location for a specified period of time. For example, doctors in the Army are required to complete a two-year residency program before moving on to their next assignment. These programs typically come with a promise of a certain amount of time off after the completion of the program. While this is not guaranteed, you can bet your chain of command will want to see you take advantage of the time off to explore next steps and transition plans. During the time off, you will want to spend as much time researching your next steps as possible. However, you don’t want to spend the time off in a what-if state of mind. You want to know exactly what you plan to do next.

Researching Next Steps

You will have many people in your corner helping you throughout the transition process. However, they cannot make all the decisions for you. You need to be assertive and proactive in your research and exploration of next steps. In most cases, each installation has a Transition Assistance Program or TAP. This program is typically used to assist service members with other types of transitions, but it is a very useful tool for military transition. The TAP program can help you organize your thoughts, understand what each transition does, and how it can benefit you and your family. There are many online tools that can help you with your transition research as well. – Transition GPS: This is a free online program that allows you to take charge of your own transition. – Transition to Civilian Life: This site gives you access to information about all the different types of transitions.

NCO MLR and CO MLR Meetings

These meetings are mandatory for all E-8 and above service members and are strongly encouraged for all E-7 and below. These meetings will help you prepare for your transition and your next steps. This is your chance to ask your CO and NCO questions and discuss your future with them. During these meetings, you will be asked to fill out a DD-2215, which is a Questionnaire for Military Resignation. The CO and NCO will review this form with you to ensure you are making the right decision for you and your family. There will be some instances where you will be forced to resign from the military. The most common of these is medical retirement or the inability to deploy. These circumstances do not reflect poorly on you as a service member. Everyone has different reasons for deciding to leave the military. You want to make sure the decision is completely yours, not because you have to.

Deciding on Your path after Transitioning

This is perhaps the most important part of the entire transition process. Every transition is different. You may have a spouse or child that you will have to consider in your decision. You may have a medical condition that prevents you from certain roles. You may simply want to explore all options available to you. Whatever the case may be, you need to be completely honest and genuine with yourself and your chain of command. They have been alongside you every step of the way in your military career and are there for you now. They want you to succeed and will do everything in their power to help you on this journey. You are about to start a brand new chapter in your life. Be open, honest and positive, and you will find your next steps are closer than you think.


As you can see, transitioning from one role to another is a long and complicated process. There are many factors to consider, and there will be moments where you will feel lost or unsure. Remember that you are not alone. There are many people who have been in your shoes before, and they want to help you succeed. There is no one right way to transition. You need to find a process that works best for you.

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