U.S. Army Recruitment Process

U.S. Army Requirements 

Age Limit for Military

In general, the age limit to join the military is 17. However, each military branch has age restrictions for enlisting in active duty:

  • Army: 17 – 35
  • Air Force: 17 – 39
  • Navy: 17 – 39
  • Marine Corps: 17 – 28
  • Coast Guard: 17 – 31
  • Space Force: 17 – 39

Note that the age requirements vary depending on whether you're joining as an officer or enlisting in the Guard or Reserve.


To enlist in the military, you need a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). There are limited slots for GED holders, and if you have a GED, your chances of joining will improve if you have college credits or higher scores on your ASVAB test.

Note that to join as an officer, you must have a four-year college degree.


To join the military, you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Green Card.

Physical and Medical Requirements

As part of the enlistment process, you'll undergo a medical examination to determine if you're fit for military service. Each branch requires recruits to meet specific physical fitness standards, which include passing a physical fitness test and ensuring that you have the army height and weight requirements.

Army weight and height standards for Men

Army weight and height standards for Men


*Source – goarmy.com

Army weight and height standards for Women

Army weight and height standards for Women


*Source – goarmy.com

 Military Recruiting Process

If you fulfill the criteria, you'll face a five-step recruiting process to ensure that a military career is the right path for you and to assign you to the position that will best suit you within the military.

Step 1 – Meet with a Recruiter

This will be your first acquainting with a military official. All recruiters are well-versed in the Army and can help you determine if it's a suitable choice for you. They'll assist you in clarifying your objectives and pointing you in the right direction.

Step 2 – MEPS

Owned jointly by the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) ensures your mental and physical eligibility for military service, according to military regulations and federal law.

Your eligibility to enlist as an Army soldier is assessed at MEPS through a series of screenings and tests, determining if you meet the Army's physical, mental, and moral standards. These evaluations include medical checks, physical exams, and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) if not previously taken.

This process typically takes one to two days, during which lodging and meals are provided. The screenings and tests include:

  • Medical Evaluation: Includes height and weight measurements, hearing and vision exams, urine and blood tests, and drug and alcohol tests. Women also undergo a pregnancy test.
  • Physical Evaluation: You'll perform several exercises, including muscle group and joint maneuvers, to assess balance and physical ability.

Step 3 – ASVAB Test

Every prospective military enlistee is required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, a placement assessment that helps prospective military enlistees discover which job in the Army is right for them.

The ASVAB is a multiple-choice test administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command to determine qualifications for enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Each branch of the military sets its own minimum enlist score, which helps decide the jobs you can do after enlisting. The ASVAB covers various topics such as Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, General Science, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics, Auto & shop Information, and Assembling Objects.

The ASVAB score you receive isn't based on how many questions you answered correctly. Instead, it compares your performance to those who took the test. This way, the military can see how well your skills match their needs.

There are two main scores you'll get on the ASVAB:

  1. AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test): This score combines your scores from four ASVAB subtests to see if you qualify to enlist in the military. Each branch has a minimum AFQT requirement, typically around these scores:
    • Air Force: 31
    • Army: 31
    • Marine Corps: 32
    • Navy: 35
    • Coast Guard: 36 These requirements apply to high school graduates.
      GED holders need a minimum of 50 on the AFQT.
  2. Composite Scores: These scores show how well you did in different areas, like electronics or mechanics. These scores are used to determine which military jobs you might be a good fit for.

Learn more about the ASVAB test


Step 4 – Find Your Military Job 

There are more than 200 job specialties in the military, known as Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). These MOS covers a wide range of fields, from combat and engineering to healthcare and administration. When you meet with your counselor, they'll discuss your interests, skills, and career goals to help you narrow down your options and determine your job assignment.

Your career counselor will also consider your ASVAB score, which helps determine which MOS you qualify for and where your strengths lie.

For example, if you score high in mechanical comprehension and are interested in technology, your counselor might recommend MOS options like mechanic, engineer, or IT specialist. If your scores lean more towards language and communication, you might be directed towards roles in intelligence or public affairs.

Additionally, your counselor will consider other factors such as your physical fitness, security clearance eligibility, and any specific preferences or constraints you may have, like location or deployment frequency.

Ultimately, the goal is to find an MOS that matches your abilities and aligns with your career aspirations and personal preferences. Your career counselor will work with you to ensure you're making an informed decision about your Army career path.

Note that if you have a particular job or opportunity in mind, there may be specific requirements unique to that role. These requirements could involve previous education and training, achieving a minimum score on the placement exam, and other qualifications.

Step 5 –Contract Signing and Basic Training

The last step of the Army Enlistment Process is signing the enlistment contract and getting sworn into the Army by taking the Oath of Enlistment, committing to defending the Constitution throughout your military service.

After taking the Oath, you'll prepare to attend Basic Training, where you'll acquire the physical and mental skills necessary for service. Additionally, Basic Training introduces you to the values and traditions that define being a Soldier.

Note that only a small portion of new enlistees go to a recruit training center within a month of enlistment, while most enter the delayed entry program (DEP).


The ACFT, the Army Combat Fitness Test, assesses your physical and mental capabilities, beginning with Basic Training for enlisted Soldiers and during initial training for Officers. Everyone is required to pass the ACFT during training and periodically throughout their service.

Active-duty soldiers take the test twice a year, while Army Reserve and Army National Guard members take it once a year.



What is the process of getting into the Army?

Joining the Army involves meeting requirements like age, education, and citizenship. You meet with a recruiter, undergo screenings and tests at MEPS, and take the ASVAB test to determine job options. After choosing a job, you sign a contract, prepare for Basic Training, and take the Oath of Enlistment.





How long does it take to join the U.S. Army?

Joining the U.S. Army is a significant decision that involves meeting specific requirements and going through a multistep recruitment process. The process generally takes several weeks to a few months, depending on factors such as age, education, and physical fitness. After meeting with a recruiter, you'll undergo evaluations at MEPS, take the ASVAB test, and work with a counselor to choose a suitable military job. Once you've completed these steps, you'll sign your contract and prepare for Basic Training, which typically lasts around 10 weeks.


What are the requirements to join the military?

To join the U.S. military, you need to meet several requirements. Firstly, there are age limits depending on the branch; for instance, the Army's age range is between 17 and 35. Secondly, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, having college credits or higher ASVAB scores can enhance your chances. Lastly, you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Green Card. Additionally, you'll undergo a medical exam and physical fitness test to ensure you're fit for service.


What disqualifies you from the Army?

Several factors can disqualify you from joining the Army. These include not meeting the age requirements set by each branch (Army: 17 - 35, Air Force: 17 - 39, Navy: 17 - 39, Marine Corps: 17 - 28, Coast Guard: 17 - 31, Space Force: 17 - 39), not having a high school diploma or GED, not being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and failing to meet the physical and medical standards, including height and weight requirements. Not achieving the minimum score on the placement exam (ASVAB) or not meeting specific requirements for certain roles could also disqualify you.


Can anyone join the military?

Yes, anyone can potentially join the military, but specific requirements need to be met. These requirements include meeting age limits (which vary depending on the branch and whether you're enlisting as an officer or in the Guard or Reserve), having a high school diploma or GED, being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid Green Card, and passing a physical and medical examination. Additionally, you must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which helps determine your qualifications for different military jobs.


Is it hard to get into the military?

Getting into the military involves meeting various requirements and undergoing a multistep recruitment process. You need to ensure you meet age, education, and citizenship criteria and be prepared for evaluations of physical, mental, and moral fitness. The enlistment process includes meeting with a recruiter, undergoing evaluations at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, selecting a military job, and finally, swearing into the Army and attending Basic Training.


What are the Army height and weight standards?

The Army has specific height and weight standards that soldiers must meet, which vary between men and women and depend on age and height and weight ratio. See army height and weight requirements at goarmy.com

What does the ASVAB test for?

The ASVAB test assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas to determine your qualifications for enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces. It covers subjects such as Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, General Science, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics, Auto & Shop Information, and Assembling Objects. Your ASVAB score helps decide which jobs you are eligible for within the military.



What is a good score on ASVAB?

The ASVAB test score is calculated based on the number of questions answered correctly in each section. However, since different branches have varying requirements, the ASVAB is divided into different scoring methods, each comprising various sections in its calculation.

AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) – This score combines scores from four ASVAB subtests: AR, MK, WK, and PC. It determines your eligibility to enlist in the armed forces. Each military branch has its own minimum score requirement, which may vary annually but typically falls around the following scores:

  • Air Force: 31
  • Army: 31
  • Marine Corps: 32
  • Navy: 35
  • Coast Guard: 36

These scores are for High School Seniors/High School Diploma Recipients. For GED holders, the minimum score requirement for all branches is 50.


What are the ACFT requirements?

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) evaluates your physical and mental abilities. It's a requirement for both enlisted Soldiers during Basic Training and Officers during initial training. Everyone needs to pass the ACFT during training and periodically throughout their service, with active-duty soldiers taking it twice a year and Army Reserve and Army National Guard members once a year.

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