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 About My Hair And Beard
Grooming standards in the Navy exist to promote neatness, cleanliness and safety.
Men are expected to keep their hair short and neat.
A religious accommodation request can be submitted for personnel to wear a beard.
There is no requirement for women to cut their hair short. Short hair is permitted to be worn down if it falls above the collarbone. Long hair is expected to be pulled back in a bun, ponytail, braids or corn rows.
Active Duty Marines Army And Air Force/prior Service Navy
There are no inter-service transfer options for enlisted personnel. About 60 days before you separate from the military branch in which you currently serve, request a statement of service from your current command. This statement will include dates of active duty service and may include multiple enlistments, breaks in service, changes in grade and other information related to your service. Then see a Navy recruiter and tell them you will soon be an Other Service Veteran , or in the case of a prior service Sailor, you will be a Navy Veteran . Once you have separated from the military, the Navy recruiter will help you begin the process of joining the Navy and earning a SEAL or SWCC contract.
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Questions To Ask A Recruiter
A military recruiter can help answer questions about service, which can provide a positive but realistic assessment of opportunities. Recruiters from multiple Service branches may share a location, and you should feel encouraged to speak to more than one.
Parents should also feel comfortable talking to recruiters. It is a recruiter’s job to address concerns and provide quality information to those interested in serving and those close to them.
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Join The Military As An Enlisted Member
Enlisted members make up most of the military workforce. They receive training in a job specialty and do most of the hands-on work. Usually, youll sign up for four years of active duty and four years inactive. After youve completed your active duty time, you can either extend your contract or re-enlist if you want to continue serving.
Officers make up a much smaller part of the workforce. To join as an officer, you typically must have a four-year college degree and complete an officer program. You compete for promotion to continue your career. Most officers are managers who plan and direct operations. Others are professionals like doctors and lawyers. Officers get paid more than enlisted members and enjoy certain other benefits.
You dont have to join as an officer to become one though. You can join as an enlisted member and attend officer training later on.
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Step : Earn A Contract
From start to finish the entire process to earn your SEAL or SWCC contract may take several months. High school age SEAL or SWCC applicants should consider seeing a Navy recruiter during their senior year to begin the process. If you’re in college you should consider seeing a Navy recruiter as early as your junior year.
After you’ve taken and passed at least three competitive PST’s, your Naval Special Warfare Mentor will submit your application package to Navy Recruiting Command. Prior Service candidates will also have their applications reviewed by the Naval Special Warfare Enlisted Community Manager to ensure it meets the needs of the NSW community.
If you’re selected, you’ll receive an offer for a SEAL or SWCC contract. If you had a non-special warfare contract for DEP, it will be replaced with a SEAL or SWCC contract. You’ll need to pass an additional PST 14 days before attending Navy recruit training in order to keep your SEAL or SWCC contract.
What Happens When You Talk To A Recruiter
One important note to keep in mind: Just because you talk to a recruiter doesnt mean youre obligated to join. Speaking with a military recruiter is an information-gathering process for you and them. If the military recruiter doesnt know an answer, he or she should be able to find out and get back to you.
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The First Requirement To Become A Recruiter
Military service is the very first requirementyou must join the military, complete basic training, technical training, and meet minimum time-in-service requirements.
Recruiters are generally not junior enlisted troops, though in the past at least one branch of military service has permitted E-4s to apply. In general, troops wont be permitted to become full-time recruiters as first-term military members.
Once serving in uniform, any potential recruiter must stand out in her current career field. That means getting outstanding performance evaluations, meeting and exceeding standards for education, fitness, and promotion.
There isnt space to explore the standards to become a recruiter for all branches of military service, but the information provided here should give you a good idea of what to expect if you want to apply.
Officer: Direct Commission Officer Program
If you have previously served as an Officer in the military and would like to affiliate with the Navy Reserve, you should contact a Navy Recruiter to discuss your options. You will not need to complete any prerequisite Officer training.
If you are an Enlisted veteran who is now a college-educated professional in one of the specialty areas sought by the Navy Reserve, you may apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program and will need to complete the 12-day in Newport, RI.
The Direct Commission Officer Program is available to those who qualify in the following fields:
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Get Your Seal Contract
If youve met all the requirements to become a SEAL and are selected for Naval Special Warfare, your recruiter will contact you to schedule another visit to MEPS. You will receive your SEAL contract from MEPS. It will identify what rank you will be upon entering the Navy.
Once you have signed your SEAL contract, you will be in the Delayed Entry Program , and your Naval Special Warfare/Special Operations Mentor or coordinator will put you on a physical training regimen designed to help you prepare for your final PST and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training .
You will need to pass one more PST 14 days before you leave for Navy Indoctrination in Great Lakes, Illinois. After the indoctrination is complete, you will begin the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School.
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Pass A Physical Screening Test
If you meet the requirements, you must schedule a PST. It is important to show up and pass the PST. If you do not show up for a PST as scheduled or if you fail a PST, you are disqualified from taking the test again for 45 days. You will receive a page 13 from Naval Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate after taking the PST. This form must be included with your application package.
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Officer Opportunities For Current Enlisted Sailors
While most Officers possess a college degree, there is no degree requirement to become a Chief Warrant Officer or a Limited Duty Officer. These programs, which allow outstanding senior Enlisted Sailors to compete for a commission, provide the Navy with Officers who are technical specialists and technical managers, and who have proven their leadership skills in key positions throughout their service.
What To Do After You Meet With A Recruiter
You should feel a lot better after you leave an appointment with a Navy recruiter.
If you still feel on edge or nervous, it might be a telltale sign that serving the Navy is not right for you and thats perfectly fine.
Regardless of your thoughts and feelings, you should never sign off on any long-term commitment before you have time to think it over.
Furthermore, you should reach out to family and friends to get their opinion on the matter.
More than likely youll meet some resistance as not every family member or friend is happy to see a loved one leave to serve the country, particularly in a dangerous location.
However, at the end of the day, the choice is up to you, but you should consider what people you trust have to say about the matter.
Secondly, you may select a Delayed Entry Program that could take weeks or months until boot camp.
In the meantime, you can get into shape by working out daily and preparing for a grueling military lifestyle.
Thirdly, youll want to perform the best you can on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery .
At the end of the day, prospective sailors need to do their research and diligence to confirm they are making the right decision about the Navy.
Recruiters are employed by the U.S. Navy to sell the benefits of military service and improve enlistment numbers.
Anything that is promised to you in a final enlistment contract should get confirmed in writing.
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What The Recruiter Never Told You
Excerpts from Rod Powers Articles in Military.Com. What the Recruiter Never Told You
Rod Powers has covered the US Military for About.com since 1999. He is the author of ASVAB for Dummies, Barrons Officer Candidate School Tests, Veterans Benefits for Dummies, ASVAB AFQT for Dummies, Basic Training for Dummies, and 1,001 ASVAB Practice Questions for Dummies. Rod is wholly familiar with military life, having been stationed or deployed to several bases around the world during his 22 years of service, before retiring as an E-8, First Sergeant. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak-leaf clusters.
Use of this article is not an endorsement by the US Department of Defense and its subordinate agencies. Some of the information presented can change or become obsolete without notice. The resource is used solely as a general description of processes found within the public domain dealing with the military services recruiting environment. Excerpts are provided with permission of the author.
Should I Join the Military?
If you like to smoke a joint once in a while, dont join. The military uses random, no-notice urinalysis, and if youre found positive, you may very well go to jail . The DOD urinalysis test can find THC in your urine for three weeks after youve smoked a joint.
Its often a good idea to bring a parent or relative with you for your first visit.
Getting Down to Basics
Enlisting In The Navy
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S For Joining The Military
Start by doing some research about your options for joining the military. Learn about the five active-duty branches and their part-time counterparts. Know the main differences between officers and enlisted members. And explore the career fields you can enter for each branch.
Once you know which branch youre considering, contact a recruiter. A recruiter will give you an overview and answer your questions about that service. If youre interested in more than one branch, contact a recruiter for each. If youre interested in joining as an officer, the recruiter will explain any options you may be eligible for.
If you decide to enlist, you will report to a military entrance processing station . Youll spend a day or two completing pre-enlistment steps. These include taking the ASVAB, having a physical exam, meeting with a career counselor, and if youre accepted,taking the oath of enlistment. From there youll receive orders for basic training, usually to start within a few weeks. If you enrolled in a delayed entry program, youll go home and get orders for basic training within a year.
Typical First Assignment Of Supply Corps Officers
During your first tour most likely at sea you will find out what it takes to be a successful Navy logistician and professional business manager.
Your first assignment assignment as a Supply Corps Officer will likely be onboard a ship where youll learn most aspect of shipboard operation and where youll also be in-charge of the back office business matters of the ship.
Regardless of the size of your unit, you will have a challenging and rewarding assignment with a great deal of responsibility.
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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..
Prepping For Your Visit
Once you locate a Navy recruiting office near you, its time to schedule a meeting.
Its natural to feel nervous going into a visit with a Navy recruiter.
However, you shouldnt worry or stress over the experience as its an outstanding time to ask a military official all the questions you have about the process.
A military recruiter can offer you more information on the Navy, types of military jobs, enlistment process, and opportunities for promotion or special pay.
Its important to treat the visit with a Navy recruiter like a job interview.
The recruiter will ask you a list of questions to help gauge your interest and eligibility.
On the other hand, you can ask the recruiter any questions or concerns you have about serving the country.
Like a job interview, you should arrive at the appointment with formal clothes and a good attitude.
The military takes personal appearance and conduct very seriously which makes creating a good first impression very important.
If you are stuck finding some good questions to ask a military recruiter, consider these 41 questions.
While most recruiting offices allow walk-in meetings, its best to schedule an appointment.
If you have urgent questions that you would like answers to immediately, consider reaching out via the live chat.
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How Long Will I Be Away From Home
Sailors rotate between sea and shore duty. You may spend three years assigned to a ships command and then rotate to serve three more years at a shore command. You will not be at sea during your entire Navy career. During your sea tour, you may live off-base nearby, but must be available to travel with the ship for deployments or training.
A typical sea deployment on a Navy ship can last anywhere from six to nine months. Ships typically deploy once every 18-24 months. In preparation for deployment, Sailors should be prepared to go to sea for 10 to 14 days each month for training.
Enlisted: Direct Procurement Enlistment Program
If youve served in the military before, this program allows you to potentially re-enlist at a higher pay grade, anywhere from E-3 to E-6, depending on your background. Eligibility for DPEP takes into consideration your:
- Prior experience as a servicemember
- Any qualifying postsecondary vocational or technical training youve received
- Any civilian work and supervisory experience youve attained
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