Requirements To Become A Sailor
To join the Navy, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
- Be between the ages of 17 and 39 to enlist or be between 19 and 42 to become an Officer*
- Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent or have a four-year degree from an accredited university
- Have a qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test or the Officer Aptitude Rating and Aviation Selection Test Battery
- Pass the Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam
- Meet the physical, mental and moral standards of the Navy
*If you are not yet 18, you need parental consent to join.
Contact a recruiter to request more information about basic requirements.
What Is The Military Draft Cut
The last military draft in the United States occurred during the Vietnam War. However, men must still register for the draft even when the country is not at war. Twenty-six years is the cutoff age.
Who Has to Register
Men between the ages of 18 and 25, inclusive, must register for the draft. However, the U.S. does have provisions that allow for those up to the age of 54 years of age to be drafted if they have certain needed skills or experience. As of 2017, women are not required to register for the draft. One does not have to be a citizen in order to register. In fact, the law states that undocumented residents, refugees and those seeking asylum have 30 days from the day that they enter the country to register with Selective Service System.
How to Register
Registering is easy it can be done at any post office within the U.S. Residents can also register online or fill out the card that is sent out to males when they turn 18. The person registering does not need a Social Security card in order to fill out the forms, and Selective Service does not collect information as to whether or not the person who registers is a citizen or not.
How the Draft Works
What Happens After Registration
Consequences of Not Registering with Selective Service
Age Requirements Are Supplemented By Education Requirements
In most cases, the minimum age a new recruit may enter military service is 17 . However, a high school diploma or GED is usually required. Some branches of service may, depending on recruiting issues at any given time, offer alternatives such as allowing a new recruit who has a GED with college credits. Having a GED may subject the enlistee to additional standards not applied to those who have high school diplomas.
If the applicant does not meet the stricter standards for GED holders without college coursework, it may be possible to enroll in college to earn additional credit hours. This may be required by the branch of service applied for so you will need to try again under different standards.
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Requirements: Mental Physical And Character
Even if you fall in the right age range for the military career you want, there are other requirements you have to meet. Everyone who enters the military must have a high-school degree or GED and pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test . Each branch has its own minimum passing score. The ASVAB consists of 10 subtests your scores on the different tests determine which specialties you qualify for.
Physical testing is another must. To join the Navy, for example, a 17- to 19-year-old man must perform 50 sit-ups in two minutes, do 42 pushups in two minutes, and make a 1.5 mile run in 12:30, the Navy says. Your passing requirements may be different, depending on your age and gender. Contagious diseases or health problems that limit your potential usefulness could be red flags that get you turned down.
Given you’ll be tasked with protecting the United States, the military also has some character requirements. Passing a background check is essential, BackgroundChecks.com says, particularly for positions that require handling classified material. A typical military background check involves fingerprinting, checking for past drug use and researching any criminal convictions in your past.
Requirements For Joining The Military
The U.S. military has six branches of service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. The requirements to join are similar for all six. The main differences are in age limits, test scores, and fitness levels. Men and women meet different fitness standards. Besides the requirements listed here, a branch may have other requirements.
Age Limits for Enlisting
You must be at least 17 to enlist in any branch of the active military. The oldest you can be to enlist for active duty in each branch is:
Coast Guard: 31
Air Force: 39
Space Force: 39
Some branches have different age limits for their part-time Reserve and National Guard. Visit each service’s recruiting website for its part-time age limits.
Requirements for Enlisting If You Are Not a U.S. Citizen
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to enlist in the military, but you may have fewer options. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must:
Have a permanent resident card, also known as a Green Card
Currently live in the U.S.
Speak, read, and write English fluently
Educational and Testing Requirements for Enlisting
Your scores on four of those make up your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. This score determines which branch you may join. Each branch has its own lowest score for joining.
Your scores on all 10 subtests determine which job specialties you qualify for..
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Tattoos Brands And Piercings
Airmen are subject to strict requirements and restrictions pertaining to body modifications. If you plan to get a tattoo or other body modifications, carefully consider placement, size and content before you proceed.
Tattoos, brands or piercings anywhere on the body that are prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature that may bring discredit upon the Air Force, are prohibited both in and out of uniform. This includes modifications that are obscene or advocate sexual, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination. Even if rectified, excessive scarring resulting from tattoo removal may also be disqualifying.
Tattoos are not completely disqualifying, however. There are no size or area limitations for authorized tattoos on the chest , back, arms, and legs. Tattoos, brands, and body markings are prohibited on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips, and scalp. Hand tattoos are limited to one single-band ring tattoo, on one finger, on one hand.
Military Enlistment Age Limits
The minimum and maximum enlistment age for joining the military differs by each branch of the military. The earliest is 17 with parental consent and the maximum is 39 but see below for the specific age limits by each branch of service.
This does not mean that the age requirements are not similar, but there is no Defense Department-wide standard. Each branch of service sets their own.
Here are things to know about military enlistment age limits and other criteria for joining the military.
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Never Too Old Meet A Soldier Who Re
When now-Staff Sgt. Clark Jordon walked into an Army recruiting station in Sierra Vista, Arizona, in 2008, he wasnt the one interested in joining the Army. The appointment was for his daughter, Julie.
At the time, Jordon was a 47-year-old master automotive mechanic who served nearly seven years in the Army in the 1980s. But the country was on the verge of financial crisis, and things were tough trying to make a living as a mechanic, Jordon said in a Saturday interview with Army Times.
So when the recruiter first asked if he wanted to join back up, Jordon laughed. He was technically eligible because after factoring in his prior service, his reentry age was 41. That was just below the age cap of 42, which was temporarily-raised during the Iraq War surge.
I was 50 pounds overweight and had to lose 10 minutes off my two-mile run time, said Jordon.
But his wife was worried about the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, and he was worried about his decreasing workload at the dealership as the auto industry was dragged into the financial crisis. Plus, his daughter, who had to finish high school before going to her own basic training, was willing to help him get in shape.
During his first stint in the Army from 1980 to 1987, Jordon was a wheeled vehicle mechanic stationed in Germany. He enjoyed the work, but he wasnt promoted beyond specialist thanks to three Article 15 non-judicial punishments he received during his enlistment.
Prior Service + Prior Military Commitments
Those with prior service or prior military commitments can apply to be military medical students, residents or physicians, although some individuals may need to fill out extra applications. For example, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets must be approved for an educational delay because of their existing military commitments before they apply to HPSP or USU. Likewise, cadets and midshipmen in Service academies and ROTC must be approved by their respective Service before accepting admission to medical school.
If you are an active-duty service member, you must receive permission from your Personnel Command to leave your current assignment and apply to medical school and scholarship programs. In that case, any preexisting service obligation for your military education and training will be added to any obligation related to your participation in a medical scholarship program.
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What Is The Maximum Age To Become An Officer In The Military
The maximum age for a commission is age 35. It is because a military officer must be able to have 20 years of service, to be retirement eligible for the maximum retirement age of 55.
There are a few exceptions: Military medical officers and chaplains can be commissioned up to the age of 47 with waivers into their 50s . Depending upon the need for doctors, psychologists, chaplains , and legal officers as well, the maximum age can be waived.
Those with prior enlisted service can receive waivers . Of course, there are exceptions to every rule as many senior officers serve well past the age 55 with 30 plus years of service. But typically with NO prior military service that age is 35 years old.
Aviators have different age requirements, which are specific to the service.
The typical route to joining the military as an older officer after college is though Officer Candidates School as the route through ROTC or the Service Academies have younger age limits. All the branches have their individual officer training programs:
Am I Eligible To Join The National Guard Or Military Reserves
You must meet these minimum requirements to join the National Guard or military reserves:
- Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- Be between the ages of 17 and 42 .
- Pass an armed forces physical exam.
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
- Meet the minimum ASVAB eligibility standard. You must receive a sufficient score on the ASVAB composite called the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
Each branch or specific job may have other requirements in addition to those listed above.
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Us Air Force Age Limits
The United States Air Force has over 320,000 active-duty airmen.
It also employs 105,700 Air National Guard and an additional 69,000 reservists.
Lastly, the U.S. Air Force has over 140,000 civilian employees.
The military branch is third in terms of active enrollment behind the Army and Navy.
Here are the minimum and maximum ages required to join the U.S. Air Force:
Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 39 years old
Minimum Age: 18 years oldMaximum Age: 39 years old*
*Certain healthcare-related military jobs or ministry allow you to be up to 48 years in age.
Not Having A High School Diploma Subjects Your Enlistment To Further Review
New recruits who have dropped out of high school, but have completed a GED may find their application for military service requires additional processing. The recruiter wants to know that the applicant is suitable for military service. Those who are eager to get into uniform as early as possible should know that not having a high school diploma could delay their entry into military service.
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Why Joining The Military At 25 Is Tricky
Before pumping the brakes and deciding to wait to join, you must remain strategic with your timing.
There are likely challenges ahead of you.
First, you will be older than many, if not all, of the other recruits.
Prepare yourself for some dad jokes.
When you are 25, you are potentially six to seven years older than those you serve with.
While the six to seven-year age gap may not seem like a lot, consider that many 25-year-old people are not hanging out with others who cannot legally get into a bar.
You might find yourself a bit annoyed.
On the other hand, you might relish being the voice of reason and a mentor for your fellow recruits.
We all need someone to look up to, and when you serve together, you become family.
The chances are that the experience will be somewhere between wtf are they thinking?! and its rewarding to have others look to me for advice and perspective.
Lastly, even though you are still within the prime of your life, you are closer to feeling the physical effects of aging earlier than those with whom you serve.
While this is not an impossible journey, it might make you feel old before you are actually old.
Also, it is vital to remember you are not competing with other recruits in boot camp.
Instead, your goal is to meet the military branchs standards and competing against yourself.
Another reason why joining the military at 25 is tricky is being away from family.
Those who are older often have their own family units.
Benefits Of Joining The Military At 25
There are solid reasons to consider joining at 25 or even later.
1. You Have Time to Earn College Credits or a Degree
You will find added benefits after joining the military at 25 with some college credits or a degree.
First, military service means you have college loan repayment benefits to look forward to.
Also, your added degree or credits mean that you earn an advanced rank upon enlistment when you join.
This added rank also means increased pay.
If you have your hopes on officer training instead of joining as an enlisted member, your college degree is a fast-track to those goals.
If your degree is in the health industry, talk to a recruiter because some fields have added enlistment bonuses or extra loan repayment benefits.
Lastly, some military careers require some college credit or a degree for consideration.
So planning on joining the military at 25 is a long-game career planning move that often pays off.
This is especially true when you factor in the longevity of your career for retirement and future civilian opportunities.
Self-discipline often comes with time and age.
Also, military discipline is something entirely unique and different.
Military discipline relies on an entire unit being efficient and performative in a conflict.
When you serve in any branch, the units needs are far superior to an individual soldiers wants and desires.
Therefore, as some people leave adolescents, the ability to buckle down and embrace this way of thinking becomes easier.
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Not All Branches Are The Same
When it comes to basic requirements, not all branches of the military are the same. The Air Force typically closes the door to recruits at age 39 The Marines close it at 28, and both the Army and Navy limit the maximum age to 34. The Coast Guard has both doors open to applicants as old as 39, according to Military.com. All the Coast Guard asks is that you score at least 45 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, have no more than two dependents and be willing to serve on or around the water.
Logically The Branches That Are The Most Physically Demanding Have Lower Enlistment Age Limits
Special Operations branches have stricter age limits for the same reason. Still, if a 38-year-old wants to give back to his country through military service, its now well within his reach to do so. In some cases, you can be well into your 40s and still serve- if you have what the military needs, that is. Age waivers are occasionally offered if you have critical skills or experience thats in short supply, but the commanding officer or community manager will have to approve it. Medical and legal professionals, plus religious officials, are the most likely to get approval.
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Military Branches Limit How Many Can Enlist Without A High School Diploma
All branches of service restrict how many new recruits may enter military service each year without a high school diploma. According to some reports, this is due to statistics which tend to indicate a higher number of unsuccessful basic trainees come from backgrounds that do not include a diploma.
Those who want to enter the military as quickly as possible should know that they may technically qualify to serve, but their status as without a high school diploma may push their application to the following year if the quota for non-diploma holders has already been met.
Us Marine Corps Age Limits
The United States Marine Corps has 182,000 active duty service members.
Its a competitive military branch to join and the second smallest.
Additionally, the Marine Corps utilizes 38,500 reserve personnel.
The Marine Corps has straightforward rules for their age limits:
Minimum Age: 17 years old Maximum Age: 28 years old
Minimum Age: 20 years oldMaximum Age: 28 years old
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