To become a Navy SEAL, a seaman must meet general eligibility requirements and maintain pace during a seven-month training session. The sessions cover aquatic tactics and conditioning, land warfare and airborne training. Because of the intensity of its training, the Navy only accepts the most highly qualified candidates into the SEAL program.
Applicants must score above 165 or 220 on certain sections of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test, a written standardized test. Applicants must have uncorrected vision no worse than 20/70 and be younger than 28. Age waivers are considered for applicants who are 29 and 30. Applicants must also be United States citizens or legal immigrants. Because of Department of Defense policies that prohibit women from direct combat, only men are allowed in SEAL training.
Physical Entrance Test
Applicants who meet the general eligibility standards may ask to take the SEAL physical fitness test. Applicants must complete a 500-yard swim using breaststroke or sidestroke in under 12 minutes, 30 seconds; perform a minimum of 42 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes and six pull-ups in any amount of time. Applicants must also complete a 1.5-mile run wearing boots and combat fatigues in under 11 1/2 minutes.
Phase One: Basic Conditioning
After completing basic training, prospective SEALs enter Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL -- or BUD/S -- training. The first phase focuses primarily on physical conditioning. The trainee must perform a 50-meter underwater swim, pass a drown-proofing test and demonstrate basic lifesaving skills. Four basic distance swims in a pool, ranging from 1/2 to 2 miles in distance, must be completed in allotted times. Trainees must also complete 1- and 2-mile open-water swims wearing fins in 75 and 95 minutes, respectively, and a 4-mile run in less than 32 minutes. They must also complete the SEAL obstacle course in less than 15 minutes.
Phase Two: Diving
The diving phase last eight weeks and focuses on combat SCUBA. Applicants must complete a 2-mile open-water swim wearing fins in less than 75 minutes, and finish a 5.5-mile open-water swim. On land, they must improve their obstacle course time to less than 11 minutes and their 4-mile run time to less than 29:20.
Phase Three: Land Warfare
Trainees learn small-unit tactics, rappelling, land navigation, demolitions and weapons training in the final phase of BUD/S training. While learning these tactics, they must continue to improve their physical performance. The qualifying time for 2-mile open-water swim wearing fins decreases to 70 minutes. The applicant must finish the obstacle course in less than 10:30, and do a 4-mile run faster than 28 minutes. Applicants must also complete a 14-mile run.