What Are the Different US Navy Qualifications?

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  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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To become enlisted in the United States Navy, a male or female candidate must meet certain requirements regarding age, citizenship, education, criminal and drug history, and number of dependents. He or she should also be willing to agree to a minimum time commitment and be able to pass certain examinations, both physical and intellectual. Naval officer candidates have to meet more stringent requirements regarding education and commitment, in addition to passing the basic US Navy qualifications.

The US Navy qualifications for age allow candidates between 18 and 34 years old to apply for enlistment, with parental consent required if a candidate is 17 years old. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or have passed an equivalency exam. Applicants generally have to be able to prove citizenship under US Navy qualifications, although some Navy jobs might allow eligibility with a permanent visa or green card. In general, a candidate for enlistment must not have more than two dependent children who are under 18 years old, and single parents are typically not deemed eligible for the Navy. Candidates should be willing to make an initial commitment of at least two years, perhaps longer depending on the placement.


One aspect of US Navy qualifications involves its strict policies on drug use and criminal history. A candidate for enlistment must have no history of drugs and will have to pass two drug urine tests for admission to the Navy, as this branch of the military holds a "zero tolerance" policy for drugs and alcohol. A background check is required to examine the applicant's legal, moral, and medical histories. Applicants must request a waiver for certain criminal offenses, including any felonies, certain offenses classified as serious, or multiple traffic violations. All available criminal records will be examined, including those that have been sealed or expunged.

For an applicant who meets US Navy qualifications, this branch of the military will attempt to honor a request for placement in a specific field of duty. Examples of specific Navy fields include computer science, electronics, aviation, or nuclear engineering. A candidate's score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam will help indicate an appropriate field placement.

Becoming a Naval officer requires more advanced qualifications than initial enlistment. Candidates must be at least 19 but under 35 years of age, hold a four-year bachelor's degree with academic success, and be physically fit. The minimum service commitment for officers ranges from four to 10 years depending on the field of duty.


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