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How Do I Become a Navy Sailor?

Sailors in the service of a nation's navy have undergone basic training as well as specialized technical instruction that may have focused on a specific system, such as radar, that is found onboard a warship.
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  • Written By: Paul Cartmell
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2014
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The term "navy sailor" is generally given to enlisted members of a naval force who are not classed as an officer; these members usually make up the majority of the organization. To become a navy sailor, an applicant must meet both educational and physical requirements before embarking on a training course that must be successfully completed. Sailors are usually required to choose a specific occupation within a naval organization; once chosen, the candidate will receive training in their proposed specialized occupation.

When an applicant applies to become a navy sailor, he or she must complete any required educational qualifications before beginning the process. In the U.S., a high school diploma is required by all applicants for the Navy or Navy Reserve. Applicants for higher positions, such as those who wish to become officers, are required to complete different levels of education; in some cases, the Navy will assist with paying for the education of an applicant before he or she enlists.

The initial step to become a U.S. Navy sailor is taken when an applicant contacts a Navy recruiter and discusses the options open to him or her within the armed force. At this point, the person wishing to become a Navy sailor must present documents proving his or her citizenship, date and place of birth, educational qualifications, and a Social Security number. Recruiters provide information for potential sailors including occupational opportunities and the length of enlistment.

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To become a navy sailor in the U.S., each potential member must complete the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery. This test is designed to match each applicant to the job he or she is best suited for within the Navy. Once the test is completed, a physical must be taken to ensure all medical conditions and the general health of all sailors is assessed before they enter training camps.

Career choices are finalized with a counselor, and a pre-enlistment interview must be completed before training to become a Navy sailor can commence. During the final interview, the potential sailor signs his or her enlistment contract that confirms entry into the U.S. Navy. An oath of enlistment ceremony is then performed, during which the enlisted sailor swears to perform his or her duties and defend the nation; friends and family can usually attend the oath of enlistment ceremony.

Training to become a Navy sailor begins with each enlisted person attending a boot camp, lasting between seven and nine weeks in the U.S. During boot camp, general skills, such as drills and weapons training, takes place. Boot camp is followed by each sailor attending educational training in his or her chosen occupation; this training can continue over the first year of enlistment in the Navy.

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