Do you have what it takes to join the military? Military entrance requirements can vary according to which branch you want to join and whether you’re considering entering the enlisted corps or becoming an officer. However, there are a few military entrance requirements that are standard across the board so pay attention before you try to join.
Rule #1: Finish School!
If you’re even thinking of enlisting in the military without a high school diploma, you’re already at a major disadvantage. Some branches will consider recruits with a GED, but their opportunities and even advancement will be severely hampered without that important piece of paper.
If you want to become an officer in the military, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. It may be possible to become an officer without finishing a bachelor’s degree, but the degree must be completed before the officer can be promoted to an O-3. Simply put, without an education, you can’t go far in any military branch.
Rule #2: Get Fit!
Fitness is vital in today’s military and you won’t be able to join if you’re not ‘fit to fight.’ Different branches have different requirements, but typically potential recruits need to be in good health, have good physical conditioning and be able to pass a standard physical.
Although many people think that military entrance requirements require perfect vision, this is completely untrue. Poor vision that can be corrected with glasses or contacts will not bar someone from entering the military, however color blindness may prohibit enlistees from certain jobs or positions in the military. One of the most common misconceptions is that pilots and navigators must have perfect vision in order to do their jobs. As long as vision can be corrected via glasses, contacts or even laser eye surgery, poor vision will not keep someone from becoming a pilot.
Rule #3: Enlist While You’re Young
Age military entrance requirements vary wildly. Most enlistees need to be 18 to join, though it’s possible to join at 17 with parent permission. Reservists and Guard members do have a different window of time to join.
Army Age Limit To Join Military: Active Duty 17-42. Reserve 17-40. Guard 17-35.
Air Force Age Limit To Join Military: Active Duty 17-27. Reserve 17-34. Guard 17-40.
Navy Age Limit To Join Military: Active Duty 17-34. Reserve 18-39.
Marine Corp Age Limit To Join Military: Active Duty 17-29. Reserve 17-29
Coast Guard Age Limit To Join Military: Active Duty 17-27. Reserve 17-39.
The extreme competitiveness of the service academies means that ages are more restricted. Future officers need to be between 17 and 22 to be admitted to West Point, the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy.
Citizenship Military Entrance Requirements
Many people are surprised to learn that military entrance requirements don’t require recruits to be citizens of the United States. Permanent resident aliens with a green card can join, but the requirements do vary by branch. Non-citizens who are eligible to join the military can take advantage of an accelerated citizenship process and can typically become U.S. citizens in under a year while they’re serving their new country, but it’s not required.
Military entrance requirements can vary and there may be different paths to take, depending on the branch of service. If you’re interested in joining the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corp or Coast Guard, the best thing to do is to contact a recruiter who specializes in the branch you’re interested in. They’ll be able to look at your specific situation and help you determine what’s the best way to achieve your goal of becoming a member of one of the greatest military forces in the world.