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Former JAG Officer
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Experience:  25 years experience
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do you have to have a g.e.d to join the navy or air force

Customer Question

do you have to have a g.e.d to join the navy or air force
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Former JAG Officer replied 8 years ago.
Each of the services have their own minimum standards when it comes to Armed Forces Vocational Apptitude Battery (ASVAB) score requirements, and education levels needed to qualify for enlistment.
Air Force

ASVAB Score - Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB (Note: The "Overall" ASVAB Score is known as the "AFQT Score," or "Armed Forces Qualification Test Score"). Exceptions are made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 21. But these "category four- A" recruits (by regulation) cannot exceed more than one percent of all recruits per year. (Note: A "Category IVA recruit is a recruit who scores between 16 and 30 on the AFQT). In actuality, the number of Cat IVA recruits the Air Force generally accepts each year is about 0.1 percent of the Air Force's annual accessions.

Education - You're more likely to be struck by lightning than enlist in the Air Force without a high school diploma. Even with a GED, the chances are not good. Only about 1/2 of a percent of all Air Force enlistments each year are GED-Holders. To even be considered for one of these very few slots, a GED-holder must score a minimum of 65 on the AFQT. The Air Force allows a higher enlistment rank for recruits with college credit.


ASVAB Score - The Army requires a minimum AFQT Score of 31 to qualify for enlistment. However, in recent months, the Army has been approving more and more waivers for those with scores as low as 26 (Category IVA). To qualify for certain enlistment incentives, such as enlistment bonuses, an Army recruit must score a minimum of 50.

Education - The Army allows more recruits to enlist with a GED than any other branch. In Fiscal Year 2008, only 83 percent of new Army recruits had a high school diploma (or at least 15 college credits), comparted with the Department of Defense (DOD) average of 92 percent. The Army even has a special program, called Army Prep School, that allows individuals to enlist who have no high school diploma or GED.

Like the Air Force, the Army also offers a higher enlistment rank for recruits with college. Unlike the Air Force, where the maximum initial enlistment rank for college credits is E-3, the Army offers the rank of E-4 for those with a bachelors degree.

Marine Corps

ASVAB Score - Marine Corps recruits must score at least 32. A very few exceptions are made (about one percent) for some exceptionally otherwise qualified recruits with scores as low as 25.

Education - As with the Air Force, those without a high school education are ineligible. The Marine Corps limits GED enlistments to no more than five percent per year. Those with a GED must score a minimum of 50 on the AFQT to even be considered.

As with the other services, the Marine Corps offers advanced enlistment rank for college credits. However, of all the services, the Marines are the most restrictive in this area. The maximum advanced rank for college credits is E-2, where the other services will give college credit advanced rank up to E-3 (E-4 in the Army).


ASVAB Score - Navy recruits must score at least 35 on the AFQT. The Navy raised this requirement from 31 in 2003 for active duty accessions. Reserve enlistment programs still only require a score of 31.

Education - Like the Air Force, the Navy accepts very, very few recruits who don't have a high school diploma. To be considered for enlistment with a GED, you must score a minimum of 50 on the AFQT. You must also have no drug use, and at least three references from influential members of the community (police, fire, judge, teacher, ect.). Any police involvement, other than minor traffic offenses will also disqualify a GED applicant.

Like the other services, the Navy offers advanced enlistment rank (up to E-3) for college.

All the best,

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