Select Page

army requirements guideSo, you’ve decided to join the United States Army and are ready to serve your country in a time of need. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to join the military will qualify to enlist.

Below we explain the minimum requirements to join the Army.

You’ll need to meet age, weight, physical fitness, citizenship, education and background check requirements before you can enlist. These restrictions are designed to weed out anyone who may not be physically or emotionally capable of serving in extreme conditions.

Afterall, we didn’t become the world’s strongest military force by accepting mediocre recruits. The Army only wants the best men and women to serve our country. Find out if you have what it takes…


U.S. Army Age Requirements

To join the Army you must meet minimum and maximum age requirements. That means you must be at least 17 years old and younger than 35.

If you are under 18 you will need parental consent to enlist.

In addition, anyone that has completed time in other branches of the military may still enlist in even if they are beyond the age requirements.

To see if you would qualify, subtract your previous years of service from your current age. If your age is below the maximum age limit after deducting your prior years of service you may qualify to re-enlist.

U.S. Army Citizenship Requirements

To enlist in the U.S. Army you must be a U.S citizen or legal permanent resident alien. For the majority of people that plan to enlist, if you are a U.S. citizen then you are good to go and can skip to the next section.

However, there are many exceptions to this rule depending on where you were born and your residency status.

For example, U.S. Nationals including the American Samoa and people who were born in the 50 states or commonwealths are eligible to enlist. This even includes people that were born abroad on a military installation or born abroad with parents that were U.S. citizens at the time.

If you have questions about whether your residency status qualifies you to enlist, you should talk to a recruiter in your area.

U.S. Army Education Requirements

Did you graduate from high school or pass the General Educational Development (GED) test? If so, you may qualify to join the Army.

Although many young adults mistakenly believe they can drop out of high school and join the military, this is actually not the case.

I realize it may be tempting to think that a life in the Army would be less stressful than doing math and social studies homework. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Serving in the Army requires dedication, hard work and critical thinking. Dropping out of high school is a sure sign that you may not meet the character traits required to join the U.S. Army.

Sure, you can enlist with only a high school diploma but what if one day you want to be an officer instead of a soldier?

Do you dream of planning missions and giving orders? If so, you’ll need a four-year college degree to become an officer in the U.S. Army.

Height and Weight Requirements

You will be required to meet the height and weight requirements before you can enlist. The table below provides the minimum and maximum weight allowed based on height and age.

First find your height on the left side of the table. Then, look on the right hand side of the table to find your age. Where the the row and column intersect, you’ll find the maximum weight allowed to enlist.

If you do not meet these requirements, you’ll need to start both a nutritional and exercise plan to reduce your weight. Once you meet the requirements you may qualify to enlist.

Editor’s Note: Keep in mind that after you enlist you will be screened every 6 months to verify that you still meet the body fat standard per the table below.

Height (in.) Min. Weight (lbs) 17-20 21-27 28-39 40+
60 (5′-0″) 97 132 136 139 141
61 (5′-1″) 100 136 140 144 146
62 (5′-2″) 104 141 144 148 150
63 (5′-3″) 107 145 149 153 155
64 (5′-4″) 110 150 154 158 160
65 (5′-5″) 114 155 159 163 165
66 (5′-6″) 117 160 163 168 170
67 (5′-7″) 121 165 169 174 176
68 (5′-8″) 125 170 174 179 181
69 (5′-9″) 128 175 179 184 186
70 (5′-10″) 132 180 185 189 192
71 (5′-11″) 136 185 189 194 197
72 (6′-0″) 140 190 195 200 203
73 (6′-1″) 144 195 200 205 208
74 (6′-2″) 148 201 206 211 214
75 (6′-3″) 152 206 212 217 220
76 (6′-4″) 156 212 217 223 226
77 (6′-5″) 160 218 223 229 232
78 (6′-6″) 164 223 229 235 238
79 (6′-7″) 168 229 235 241 244
80 (6′-8″) 173 234 240 247 250

Standards for Maximum Body Fat Percentage Allowed:

17-20 21-27 28-39 40+
Male 20% 22% 24% 26%
Female 30% 32% 34% 36%

Physical Requirements

Beyond the height and weight requirements, soldiers must also meet physical health standards and pass a physical fitness test.

According to the Army’s “Standards of Medical Fitness” there are hundreds of physical conditions that may prevent you from enlisting in the Army. A few of the most common include hernias, diabetes, hemorrhoids and anemia.

You must also meet vision requirements with or without corrective lenses. The current requirement is that one eye must be at least 20/30 to 20/40 and the other 20/70 to 20/100.

In addition, before you enlist you must pass a drug test. The Army has a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol and drug abuse.

Basic Training Physical Fitness Test

Completing the the Basic Training Physical Fitness is simple. Just do two-minutes of pushups and situps, then run two-miles.

After you complete the test, you will receive a score based on your age.

If you are under 21 years old, here is a summary of the minimum and maximum requirements:

  • Pushups: 42 to 71
  • Situps: 53 to 78
  • 2-mile run: 13:00 to 15:54

See the tables below for the Basic Training Physical Fitness test minimum and maximum requirements based on your age:

Number of Pushups in 2-Minutes
Age Groups 17-21 22-26 27-31 32-36 37-41 42-46 47-51 52-56 57-61 62+
Max 71 75 77 75 73 66 59 56 53 50
Min 42 40 39 36 34 30 25 20 18 16
Number of Situps in 2-Minutes
Age Groups 17-21 22-26 27-31 32-36 37-41 42-46 47-51 52-56 57-61 62+
Max 78 80 82 76 76 72 66 66 64 63
Min 53 50 45 42 38 32 30 28 27 26
Required Time for 2-Mile Run (in Minutes)
Age Groups 17-21 22-26 27-31 32-36 37-41 42-46 47-51 52-56 57-61 62+
Max 13:00 13:00 13:18 13:18 13:36 14:06 14:24 14:42 15:18 15:42
Min 15:54 16:36 17:00 17:42 18:18 18:42 19:30 19:48 19:54 20:00

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Exam

You must pass the ASVAB exam in order to enlist in the Army. The exam consists of ten short tests over 3 hours:

  • General Science
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Mathematics Knowledge
  • Electronics Information
  • Auto and Shop Information
  • Mechanical Comprehension
  • Assembling Objects

Not only is the test a requirement to join the Army, but your score could help you get the job you want as well as signing bonuses. The minimum score required to pass is 31.

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to memorize the military alphabet, too!

Conclusion

As you can see there is a long list of requirements to join the U.S. Army.

On a basic level you have to meet age, height, weight and citizenship standards. Next, you’ll need to pass a physical exam as well as the Basic Training Physical Fitness Test.

Finally, you’ll need to pass the ASVAB exam with a minimum score of 31.

After reviewing the requirements, do you think you have what it takes to join the Army? If not, what areas are holding you back?

Photo credit: DVIDSHUB