What Education Do You Need to Join the Military?

what education do you need to join the military

In honor of Veteran’s Day, this post is for the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who are brave enough to serve in the United States Armed Forces. As they consider enlisting in the military, many people wonder what type of education certificates are required for the different branches. This blog will go through educational requirements necessary to enlist or become an officer in the military as well as educational benefits available to veterans. In order to join or become an officer in one of these four branches of service, you must first meet certain educational criteria.

What Education Do You Need to Join the Military?What kind of educational certificate is required to enlist?

One important requirement for enlisting in the military is to be at least eighteen years of age. There are some exceptions, but generally you must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) to join the service. There was a time when you could join the military without a GED or high school diploma and the military would offer training during service to obtain this educational certificate, but those times have passed. Now, you need to either show proof of your high school graduation in the form of a diploma or transcript or be able to provide evidence of passing the GED exam prior to enlisting. There are many testing centers all over the US where you can complete the test for the GED as well as many training programs that you can take before the test to make sure that you are ready to pass the test. Other requirements for joining the military are that you must be a US citizen, meet height and weight as well as some legal requirements.

Another important educational component for serving America in the military is that you take an entrance exam called the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). The ASVAB test is often offered at high schools for juniors and seniors so that they can determine their readiness for military service. The test is a general studies exam for the most part, but also asks many varied questions which can help the military determine what type of job or career would best suit you if you were to enlist. If you missed the opportunity to take the ASVAB at your high school, there are testing centers in most metropolitan areas around the country that offer the test to interested people.

What type of educational certificates are required to be an officer?


In most cases, military structure means that officers are the leaders and enlisted men (like seamen and airmen) are subordinate. While many people each year join the military, some have the intention of doing so as an officer so that they can have a more senior position and make more money. The educational requirements to become an officer in the US Armed Forces are higher than that of enlistees, and they must go through a rigorous selection process.

There are a few different ways in which someone interested in becoming an officer in the armed forces can do so. First, they can be selected and complete training at one of the military academies within the US. Each branch of service has their own academy, and while it is free of charge for students to obtain their educational certificates from one of these schools, they must agree to serve in the military for anywhere from 4 – 8 years following graduation.

Many other universities and colleges around the country also offer training programs that can prepare a person for armed service. There are colleges in each state that host ROTC programs that allow students to obtain some military knowledge while they are pursuing their studies at a traditional university. Most participants in ROTC programs also receive funds to cover much of their educational certificates, but again they are required to serve for a certain length of time after graduation.

Another way to become an officer is by going through Officer Candidate School. This program allows officer candidates who have a four-year degree, but have not previously been involved in a military training program like a military academy or ROTC to learn the dynamics of the military and train to be ready for their commission. Oftentimes, OCS is a six week period similar to the length of boot camp for enlisted members where they learn things like proper bearing, military history and strategy as well as perform many physical tasks to show readiness for duty.

Finally, there are opportunities available for enlisted members of the military to be commissioned as an officer if they work to obtain their college degree while in the service. The government does pay for some education for members of the military, as well as have programs that enlisted members can apply for that allow them to attend university and become an officer simultaneously with their enlisted service.

The military in the United States is such a valuable part of this country, and part of the reason for that is their ability over time to have some of the bravest and brightest members of society join their ranks. As you can see, there are different educational certificates required for each position in each branch of the military. Whether the educational certification required is as simple as a GED, or as complex as a bachelor’s degree from a military academy, each member of the service plays an important role, and on Veteran’s Day we truly thank each and everyone who is serving or has served. Check out our post on Monday for information on how the government says thank you to its military members for their service in the form of educational benefits.

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