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Joining and Eligibility
When it comes to learning about how to join the Military, knowing where to start may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Start your research here, with some of the essential first steps to considering service, including eligibility requirements, testing, boot camp and officer training.
Explore this section
Learn about the basic eligibility requirements for joining, including age, education level, physical condition and U.S. citizenship status.
Find out where you can take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which measures a young adult’s knowledge, strengths and weaknesses, and potential for future success.
Enlisting in the Military
Discover what it’s like to visit a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), where recruits complete the enlistment process.
Becoming an Officer
If you’re interested in commissioning as an officer, there are several paths available. Get details on each to see which one might be right for you.
Curious about Basic Training, also known as “boot camp”? We’ll provide you with all the necessary details and resources to help you prepare for the challenge.
Questions to Ask a Recruiter
Speaking with a recruiter is an incredibly important part of the recruitment process. Approach this conversation with confidence using these resources and FAQs.
Common Questions About Joining & Eligibility
Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is a joint Service organization with locations all over the country, that determines an applicant's physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service. Visiting MEPS is an important step in becoming an enlisted service member.
The ASVAB test, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is a multiple-choice exam that helps determine the military careers for which an individual is best suited. There are two versions of the test:
- The enlistment version of the ASVAB is given at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and is used for recruiting purposes only.
- The student testing program, also known as the ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP), is used for career exploration and is given in high schools and community colleges, at job corps centers and at correctional facilities.
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is an officer commissioning path associated with 4-year colleges and universities that prepares young adults to become leaders in the Military. In exchange for scholarship money, ROTC cadets commit to serving for a set period of time upon graduation.
Each service branch offers ROTC programs, except the Coast Guard and Space Force.
Basic training, which is commonly known as boot camp, is a 8-to-13 week training program that prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional. It also instills service members with discipline, confidence, and reinforces the importance of teamwork.
Possession of a high school diploma is desirable, although not mandatory, for enlistment in any component of the Military Services. Depending on Service needs, candidates with a GED (General Education Development) certificate may be able to join, however; these opportunities may be limited.