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Requirements to Join the Army

Rahul Thadani
There are several requirements that the individual must meet before he can be considered to be selected in the army. In this story, we will take a look at the necessary requirements for enlisting in the army.
The US Army is one of the most prestigious defense organizations in the world. Its history dates back to 1775, when the Continental Army was created to fight against Britain in the Revolutionary War. The prowess of the US army was portrayed to the world in World War II as American troops had a major role in defeating Nazi Germany.
After the end of World War II, the US army has been involved in several wars, notable among them being the Korean, Gulf, and Vietnam War. The army is still fighting hardliners in Afghanistan and Iraq.
To enlist in the army, there are certain requirements that an individual has to meet. One important point aspirants need to remember is that unlike other civilian jobs - governed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 - which mandates every employer to treat potential employees equally, the army is not obliged to recruit anyone who applies to them.
Even though a person may meet all the desired requirements, the army may decide to reject that person's candidacy based on certain grounds. The job of a soldier in the US army is very different from a regular civilian job, and due to this fact, not everyone can enlist.

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Essential Requirements


The minimum age for joining the US army is 17 years (with parental consent) and 18 years (without parental consent). The maximum age to join the US army is 35 years. An individual must start his basic training before his 35th birthday.
Individuals who are on active duty or have previously served in the armed forces, and want to join the army may get a waiver on the age limit.


Individuals who are US citizens, or legal permanent immigrants with a green card can join the army. The citizens of US include individuals from:
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Northern Marianas Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
Dependents To join the army, an individual should have no more than two dependents. In case, an individual has more than two dependents, he needs to procure a waiver. If the individual's spouse has legally separated from him, the spouse is not considered a dependent.


Individuals who have a history of debts and bad credits can expect rejection for enlistment unless they are able to show that they will be able to meet their financial obligations with the salary they receive for their services.


To enlist in the US army, a minimum of high school graduation is necessary. Applicants who have a General Equivalency Degree (G.E.D.) may also be accepted, however, they must score well in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
This test covers a variety of topics, and checks the aptitude of an applicant. Some of the topics are mathematics, comprehension, grammar, reasoning, general knowledge, general science, mechanical knowledge, electronic application, and coding speed. These topics are extremely vast, but being a soldier, one needs to know all these things.
The test scores are divided into 3 sections - verbal, math, and academic; a candidate's final score is made up by these individual scores. The test itself contains 200 multiple-choice questions, and needs to be completed in 180 minutes. Individuals with a score of 31 or higher are considered further.
One important thing to remember here is there are certain high schools that offer the ASVAB to their students. If you have taken one, not very long ago, you can inform your recruiter about it to know whether you need to take it again.

Height and Weight Standards

The ideal height required for male candidates is between 60 inches to 80 inches. For female candidates the range is from 58 inches to 80 inches. If your height falls outside this range, you will be rejected.
For the ones who are already serving in the army, the maximum weight limit for males is 132lbs and for females, the limit is 116lbs. But new recruits have higher weight limits, i.e. 139lbs for males and 120lbs for females.

Body Fat

For females, the body fat percentage should be between 30% to 36%. Similarly, for males, the limit is 20% to 26%. The body fat percentage requirement differs for candidates of different age groups.
Apart from these requirements, aspirants undergo tests for hearing, vision, blood, and urine. Aspirants are also asked about their history to ascertain if they have a drug- or alcohol-related issue. The army carries out intensive drug and alcohol tests, and in case an individual is addicted to certain substances, he will be rejected.
Benefits of Joining Many people wish to make a career in defense for the sole purpose of serving their country. This is a noble concept and one that is highly appreciated. Along with being appreciated by his/her countrymen, a soldier receives many other advantages and benefits of joining the army as well. There is a good scope for career advancement.
The career path of a person can be chosen based on his/her own preferences, and the positions are open to everyone. Life insurance and health care are also taken care of by the army, and this is a great boost for people from less affluent backgrounds. There are also, certain tax advantages and other additional benefits of joining the army.