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Joining the Military

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Military Disqualifications


The military has an extensive list that will disqualify you from joining. The various sections of the military are different and there is always the potential to receive a waiver that will allow you to join. Basically the military wants people that are mentally and physically sound and of high moral character. Like all employers the military really knows the type of person that best fits their organizations and if you are disqualified for any reason you will want to think and discuss this with the your enlistment officer and your family and think carefully about whether you should really get a waiver to join.

Enlistment standards for joining the military include:

  • Citizenship. You must be a US citizen or be a permanent immigrant with a green card.
  • Age. No one younger than 17 and older than 42 may enlist. Each section of the military also has its own specific guidelines.
  • Credit and finances. You must not have serious amounts of debt or have a history of credit issues.
  • Single parents and applicants with dependents are usually disqualified. If you have dependents at all, you will need to show adequate support for them. If you are married to a military member and have children, you will be unable to join.
  • Education. Applicants generally must have a high school diploma. In some cases a GED is accepted, and in very rare cases people without schooling are accepted.
  • Drug and alcohol dependency, use or involvement can disqualify you.
  • Medical disqualifications. Any serious mental or physical illness or trait can disqualify you from joining. You must be physically fit.
  • Criminal history. Any offense that results in conviction is usually disqualifying.
  • Sexual conduct. Deviant sexual behavior will disqualify you from joining.
  • Height standards. You must be between 60-80 inches tall for men and 58-72 inches tall for women.

The military can also reject you for any other reason not listed above. Remember: serving is a privilege; not a right.

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