Qualifications of a Naval Officer

Naval officers have strict qualifications.
Naval officers have strict qualifications. (Image: PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

For those who wish to make a career out of the military, it is important to know the qualifications of a naval officer. Chances are that once you enlist, if you are career minded, you will want to rise through the ranks to higher pay grades and levels of responsibility. Knowing the general requirements for officers in the Navy will help you to keep your eyes on the prize at all times.

General Requirements

Navy officers cannot be older than 35 when they receive their commission, nor can they be younger than 19. Generally speaking you must be a citizen, though some permanent residents are eligible. Officers must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university. You must be able to fulfill prior financial obligations. Single parents are generally allowed, provided that they do not have more than two dependents under the age of 18.

Personal Requirements

The Navy has high standards for its officers. This includes a zero-tolerance policy on drug and alcohol abuse, enforced with urinalysis test. Before receiving your commission you will be asked about prior alcohol and drug use. There are also moral standards for naval officers. To that end you must undergo a thorough background check that includes your criminal history as well as traffic offenses. The Navy further expects that all officers get good grades while in college. Officers coming out of the Reserve Officer Training Corps must generally complete a year of calculus, physics, English composition and grammar and a military affairs course. Additionally, a semester of language and culture is required.

Service Requirements

The Navy has requirements for service from officers. At a minimum, officers are required to serve terms of between three and five years in the United States Navy. Some positions may require longer terms of service. This is due to the fact that these positions require longer training time to get you up to speed. For example, engineering officers must serve at least five years, while pilots and flight officers must serve between eight and ten years.

Physical Requirements

The Navy expects officers to be in top physical condition. This includes height, weight and body fat percentages that also change with age. Other areas where potential naval officers are judged include a sit and reach, curlups, pushups and a 1.5-mile run. All officers must also pass a third-class swimming test. Those who cannot pass the swimming test will be held at officer candidate school for an additional three weeks of instruction. In the third-class swimming test you must be able to swim to the surface after a deep-water jump, swim 50 yards without stopping or grabbing the side of the pool, perform a proper prone float and demonstrate how to inflate your shirt and trousers for flotation.

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