Most enlisted personnel used to come from rural families, and many have only rudimentary literacy skills, but with the increase in the litracy level the requirements have been raised to Matriculate level (10th Grade). Recruits are processed gradually through a paternalistically run regimental training center, taught the official language, Urdu, if necessary, and given a period of elementary education before their military training actually starts.
In the thirty-six-week training period, they develop an attachment to the regiment they will remain with through much of their careers and begin to develop a sense of being a Pakistani rather than primarily a member of a tribe or a village. Enlisted men usually serve for eighteen years, during which they participate in regular training cycles and have the opportunity to take academic courses to help them advance.
 Officer Ranks
[[Image:Pakofficerexercise.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Pakistan Army officer conducting helicopter assault exercise with US Army at Fort Benning ]]
About 320 men enter the army bi-annually through the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in Abbottabad in the North West Frontier Province; a small number--especially physicians and technical specialists--are directly recruited, and these persons are part of the heart of the officer corps. The product of a highly competitive selection process, members of the officer corps have completed twelve years of education and spend two years at the Pakistan Military Academy, with their time divided about equally between military training and academic work to bring them up to a baccalaureate education level, which includes English-language skills.
The army has twelve other training establishments, including schools concentrating on specific skills such as infantry, artillery, intelligence, or mountain warfare. A National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has been established which has absorbed the existing colleges of engineering, signals, and electrical engineering. At the apex of the army training system is the Command and Staff College at Quetta, one of the few institutions inherited from the colonial period. The college offers a ten-month course in tactics, staff duties, administration, and command functions through the division level. Students from foreign countries, including the United States, have attended the school but reportedly have been critical of its narrow focus and failure to encourage speculative thinking or to give adequate attention to less glamorous subjects, such as logistics.
The senior training institution for all service branches is the National Defence University. Originally established in 1971 at Rawalpindi, to provide training in higher military strategy for senior officers, the school house was relocated to Islamabad in 1995. It also offers courses that allow civilians to explore the broader aspects of national security. In a program begun in the 1980s to upgrade the intellectual standards of the officer corps and increase awareness of the wider world, a small group of officers, has been detailed to academic training, achieving master's degrees and even doctorates at universities in Pakistan and abroad.
Pakistani officers were sent abroad during the 1950s and into the 1960s for training in Britain and other Commonwealth countries, and especially to the United States, where trainees numbering well in the hundreds attended a full range of institutions ranging from armored and infantry schools to the higher staff and command institutions. After 1961 this training was coordinated under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, but numbers varied along with vicissitudes in the United States-Pakistan military relationship. Of some 200 officers being sent abroad annually in the 1980s, over two-thirds went to the United States, but the cessation of United States aid in 1990 entailed suspension of the IMET program. In 1994 virtually all foreign training was in Commonwealth countries. However, after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan again has begun sending officers to US Army schools. Today there are more than 400 officers serving in foreign countries.
Officers retire between the ages of fifty-two and sixty, depending on their rank.