For an oversimplification...
(and to add in some stuff for the NPS guys)
There are two types of contracts out there for ARNG
1) What I will call a pure 18X contract, where you have no prior service or have been discharged from the military long enough. You enlist and head to Basic or WTC or whatever and your unit doesn’t 'see' you till you graduate from the Q. Straight thru, with the occasional week here and there off between schools, (don't worry they'll find you something to do). Most States will require you to drill each month before you ship out, there is a general delay of 2-4 months right now due to BCT peak season.
2) The other version is what I will call a ‘Current Duty’ contract. This contract revolves around existing Non-SF guardsman preparing for SFAS. Most States will require the existing guard member to spend 3 months drilling with the unit in preparation for SFAS. When they say he’s good to go they will send him straight to SFAS.
Now many of the 15 x SF States don't offer a pure 18X for administrative reasons, so if you're a non-prior service looking for an '18X contract', they will instead enlist you under a feeder MOS, usually 11B or a obvious feeder for the 18 CMF MOS you desire (i.e. 68W-18D or 25C/D - 18E etc).
Then they will send you to your Initial Entry schools (i.e. BCT, AIT, BAC) then you will return to the unit and drill for maybe three months (much like the existing Guard guys) until they say you're good to go to SFAS
(This timeframe often depends on weather your feeder MOS is 11B or not, not all States offer 11B as a feeder, even though it is generally recommended as the best option for prep for SFAS & SUT Phase).
You will head to SFAS, get selected cos you busted your ass and want this more then breathe it’s self and will then return to your unit. Not sure of the average wait time from here, I have heard 2 months, I have heard 6 months; I suspect it’s closer to 2.
You will hit the Q and not return till you're graduated or kicked out.
Complicated way to do things, but helps the unit out administratively with the guys who quit or don’t get selected.
So the important thing to note here is that YOU WILL NEED WORK for the 2-6 months that you will not be in paid service in the pipeline.
So for you it's likely to look like
- 3 months drill
- 2-4 months wait
- Rest of Q Course
- Living the dream.