Difference Between Active Duty and Reserve (With Table)

When joining the military, you can choose between two branches of duty: active duty and reserve. You can choose between active duty and reserve branches by serving in the military. People can choose between the two, and they are free to do in the military in whichever capacity they like. Regardless of which, the individual will be referred to as a militant, albeit the benefits and obligations bestowed upon them will vary.

Active-Duty vs Reserve

The main difference between active duty and reserve duty is that active duty is a full-time job in the armed forces; on the other hand, reserve duty is part-time. They must reside on-site where they are assigned full-time, and they have little say in where they choose to live. Reservists can work part-time and yet live at home because of the flexibility of being in the military on a reserve.

Soldiers on active duty can be assigned to any military location in the United States. It is dependent on the unit they are transferred to and what mission they are assigned to. They make their home at militant bases. They are compensated in full for their duties and are also entitled to several additional benefits.

Reserve troops have the option of receiving their training from a facility close to their residence to continue their education while they are in training. This is because they serve as soldiers on a part-time basis, and they are only required to do on a full-time basis if they are called to active duty.

Comparison Table Between Active Duty And Reserve

Parameters of ComparisonActive DutyReserve
DefinitionA candidate for active duty in the military must serve the country full-time.Reserve duty is also duty towards the nation as just a militant, albeit more part-time than active duty. The soldier is only required to serve half-time during his military duty.
BenefitsThe soldier is entitled to all educational, healthcare, & retirement benefits available to them.Many perks are provided to troops, but not all of them are equal to those offered to active-duty soldiers.
CompensationBonuses and a training allowance are among the benefits of their compensation plan.The length of time they spend in training and on active duty determines the amount of money they are paid each month.
DeploymentThey can be deployed anywhere.They are stationed close to their residence and can only be called upon in an emergency.
LeaveThey are entitled to 30 days of paid leave every year.They are permitted to take a maximum of 20 days of yearly leave per year.

What Is Active Duty?

Providing duty to the country on active duty is a 24-hour job. Among the active-duty troops are those who have undergone military training and have chosen to serve full-time for the country’s defence. Application for military duty is open to anybody over 18 who possesses US citizenship, a high school diploma, and above 18. The military then selects a candidate based on factors such as height, weight, fitness, and a variety of other considerations, among other things,

A candidate can be sent to any location in the country after completing the training for an active-duty role. The soldier’s assignment is determined by the unit they serve and their objective. Furthermore, it will be a full-time job for him. In addition to a monthly salary, the soldier receives a variety of benefits such as medical and dental coverage, educational assistance, retirement plans, housing, and food allowance, and other perks, such as with a fully funded retirement plan, the soldier can leave the military after 20 years of duty.

Every year they serve, active-duty troops are granted 30 days of vacation. A period of time known as liberty for a while, which can last anywhere from 24 to 96 hours, is also included. Additionally, sick time is granted when medical personnel approve it. In the case of sick leave, it is not deducted from the total amount of vacation time.

What is Reserve?

Unlike full-time employment, serving in reserve is similar to working part-time. The venue for the training has been assigned to the candidate, and it is close to their home. For them to finish their education while remaining close to home. They will be transferred to a different post if and when they are summoned to active military duty.

The fact that reserve duty is a part-time job means that the perks are also a part-time arrangement. Military retirement benefits, as well as medical and dental coverage, are provided to the soldier. Health insurance, academic help if the duty years total at least six, a Thrift Savings Plan, and other benefits are included.

Reserve duty troops can join active duty or return to their civilian jobs if they so choose. Those who choose to serve will be entitled to full functional duty benefits. The terms of vacation & freedom for reserve duty soldiers are also variable. The maximum time off they can take is 20 days a year. As well as that, the terms of the basis will determine the freedoms.

Main Differences Between Active Duty And Reserve

  1. It’s a 24-hour job when you’re on active duty. Part-time work is reserved for reserve duty
  2. Soldiers on active duty are assigned to areas where they can best serve the government. So the soldier will just be stationed close to home while on reserve duty.
  3. Full medical benefits are granted in Active Duty and Reserve Duty, respectively.
  4. Bonuses & training allowances are awarded to soldiers in the line of duty. Reserve duty soldiers receive incentives and training allowances based on their training duration and active duty.
  5. After 20 years of duty on active duty, a soldier can retire with full benefits, whereas they receive reduced benefits in reserve duty.
  6. Military personnel on active duty and those on reserve duty are subject to distinct rules regarding leave and freedom.


Both active duty & reserve duty are obligations to the nation. Minimum duty standards must be met in both the military forces. Soldiers on active duty are expected to work full-time and are compensated accordingly. They don’t have the option of moving somewhere else. Depending on the mission, they can be sent to any base in the world in units.

Because they only serve half-time, troops in the Reserves have a lot of flexibility regarding where they train. As a result, they can function at least partially as members of society. Despite this fact, troops nevertheless receive a complete benefits package, which is not equal to civilians. To be deployed, they must be called to full-time active duty.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327876mp1601_2
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.005407