Army Requirements for Enlistment


Enlisting in the Army is an involved process with many steps. Although the process is simple, some of the requirements are strict, and not everyone will qualify. Anyone interested in enlisting in the Army should be aware of the requirements and prepare. These requirements help the Army choose qualified and mentally stable candidates so that the Army is made up of talented, focused individuals.


  • For enlistment in the Army, no one younger than 17 years of age or older than 41 years of age is considered. Typically the Army prefers adults older than 18 and younger than 35. If you fall into this category, then you are eligible to join the Army from an age prospective. All enlistment members must be able to serve 20 years before their 55th birthday, unless under special circumstances. Background and identity checks are used, so it is not a good idea to lie about your age, as the army will find out your true age anyway.


  • Full U.S. citizens qualify to serve in the United States Army. Permanent residents in the United States from other countries are also eligible, even if they are not full citizens. Typically if a person is not a citizen they are restricted to Army Reserve status.


  • Usually the Army requires a high-school diploma or the equivalent (such as a GED) for admission into the Army. However, the Army is not allowed to deny applicants that meet all other standards if education is the only requirement that they do not meet. There is a Armed Forces Qualification Test that is given to individuals who do not have a traditional high school diploma. Applicants must be in the 31st percentile or higher to enlist.


  • The Army gives enlistment applicants the Armed Forces Qualification Test to determine eligibility for the Army. Any score below the ninth percentile is ineligible for enlistment. Scores between the 10th and 30th percentile can only make up 20 percent of the Army. Anyone that scores above the 30th percentile is eligible for enlistment.

Physical Fitness

  • The Army requires that enlistment applicants have a certain level of physical fitness. This includes: no infectious diseases, medically able to complete training (a physical evaluation is done by a doctor), mentally adapted to the Army lifestyle and medically able to perform tasks assigned by the Army.

Dependency Status

  • Applicants under the age of 18 that are married and have more than two dependents are not typically eligible for enlistment. Single parents are not eligible for enlistment either. However, there is a waiver that can be filed for parents that do not meet these requirements.

Moral Character

  • Enlistment applicants must meet the moral requirements of the Army. These include: no criminal felonies, dishonorable discharge from another armed service and individuals with anti-social behavior or other traits identified by a doctor that may lead to poor moral choices.

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