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Joining the Military

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Are you eligible to join the military?


Joining the military is a career option that many young people consider. The chance to be trained and work in any number of specialties while also serving your country is very attractive. Not everyone wants to go to college, but for those that do, there are more opportunities in the military. So, what are the eligibility requirements for joining one of the five branches of the military?

The Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy all have their own specific criteria for recruits that wish to enlist. There are certain basic requirements that are shared by all of the branches. To be eligible for all branches of the military you must be a U.S. Citizen and be at least 17 years of age. If you are under 18, you will need the consent of a parent or guardian before being allowed to join. A high school diploma is required, or a GED may also be acceptable as a prerequisite for joining the military.

There are two distinct career paths in the military, Commissioned Officers, and, Enlisted. The minimum educational requirements for enlisted members is a high school diploma (or GED), while a bachelor's degree is required for commissioned officers.

Many high school graduates enter the military as enlisted members and utilize their educational benefits to earn a degree and a commission!

You will also have to take and pass a physical exam before you can be admitted into any branch of the military. You will be disqualified if you have certain pre-existing conditions that can not be corrected.

There are age limitations that vary depending on which branch you want to join. The Air Force will take recruits up to the age of 27, while the Army and Navy have more lenient policies of taking recruits as old as 34. The Coast Guard limit is 39 and the Marine Corps will accept those up to age 29.

Finally, you must take the Armed Service and Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and pass. Each branch has a minimum passing score with the toughest being the Air Force (40) and the easiest being the Army (31). You are tested on arithmetic, math, reading comprehension and word knowledge.

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