Many people ask us if it is possible to join the Navy with a GED diploma. Well, you can, but it will be a lot more difficult to get into the Navy with a GED (General Education Development) diploma compared to joining the Navy with a high school degree.
Getting enlisted in the U.S. military forces is often a highly competitive process, and although the military forces, and definitely the Navy, frequently require applicants to hold a high school diploma, GED® holders can still qualify.
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The military also enlists GED graduates as long as they are meeting standard requirements such as citizenship, age, height & weight, and other legal requirements (more information below).
The fact of the matter is that the military can only accept up to 10 percent of new recruits with a GED, and the U.S. Navy is even more selective as it limits enlistments with a GED to only around 5 percent annually.
Then, GED graduates must also score higher on the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) or ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) than high school grads. So again, you may very well join the U.S. Navy if you hold a GED, but it’ll take a bit more effort.
If you want more detailed information, read on, and Navy Recruiters are also a great source of information. So you may want to google where your nearest Navy recruiting office is located.
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When applying to join the U.S. Navy, your education level determines if you qualify as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 candidate. All branches of the U.S. military have tiers for applicants and classify their recruits into the following three categories:
- Tier 1 – Applicants that completed high school or completed 15 college credits generally fall into this category
- Tier 2 – Applicants that hold a GED diploma generally fall into this category
- Tier 3 – Applicants without a high school or GED diploma fall into this category that’s actually considered as not-existing any longer
So there are almost no Tier 3 candidates anymore, and if you don’t hold a GED and still want to join the armed forces, you should really earn your GED diploma first by acquiring online GED prep classes from Onsego.
To be successful on the GED test (actually four separate, modular sub-exams), good preparation is essential, and once you’ve earned your GED, you have a far better chance of getting admitted into the U.S. armed forces.
If you hold a GED diploma and want to join the military, it’s good to realize that each branch of the U.S. military sets its own standards and limits. The Air Force, for example, allows only up to 1% of its recruits to be Tier 2 applicants annually, and the Marine Corps counts that just up to 5% of annual recruits can be Tier 2 candidates.
So every year, only a very small percentage of all recruits are Tire 2 candidates, and the best way to get into that small group is to reach very good scores on the ASVAB test.
High school graduates and GED holders that have at least 15 college credits are considered to be Tier 1 recruits. And for all branches of the armed forces counts that Tier 1 recruits will be picked first for open positions.
So in case you are a GED graduate and want to be a Tier 1 candidate, you’ll have to earn at least 15 college credits. Your credits can be earned in any community, vocational, or business college.
If you think about applying to a college and earning 15 credits (you can probably do so in just one semester), please make sure that the school you’re applying to is recognized under the program and accredited. In doubt, double-check with a recruiter at your nearest Navy Recruitment Center.
Tier 1 And 2 AFQT Scores
High school graduates are Tier 1 candidates as long as they attain AFQT scores in at least the 31st percentile. More information on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (or AFQT) can be found below.
GED holders are automatically Tier 2 candidates, but they need to attain AFQT scores in the 50th percentile or above! So GED graduates must reach higher scores than high school diploma holders, and also keep in mind that simply because you qualify, that won’t mean there’ll be a position for you. There’s usually just a very small number of openings available.
And again, GED graduates that have earned at least 15 college credits also fall into the Tier 1 section. Tier 1 applicants are picked first for open positions, and Tier 2 recruits may apply for open positions that are still left.
The U.S. military branches are not allowed to enlist more than 10% of their annual recruits with GEDs, and all branches of the military services set their own limits and standards (usually under 10 percent). The reason for this is that studies have shown that individuals that left high school prematurely will also be more likely to drop out of the military services in their first term than high school graduates.
So if you want to join the Navy with a GED, you will increase your chances significantly if you’ll be able to get hold of a high school diploma or if you can earn 15 college credits. There are many military candidates that hold a GED and the number of available positions is limited, so completing 15 credit hours will definitely help!
AFQT And ASVAB
If you want to join the U.S. military, you will have to take (and pass) a qualification test. First, let’s take a look at the difference between the ASVAB and AFQT.
AFQT stands for Armed Forces Qualification Test. It is a part of the more comprehensive, overall ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). An applicant’s AFQT score determines whether or not that individual qualifies to join the armed forces at all. So a good AFQT score is really important to all who dream of a military career.
The ASVAB is the military’s multiple-choice qualification test that also assesses whether the applicant is eligible to join the armed forces. The ASVAB test is more comprehensive than the AFQT and covers the fields of Mathematics, Arithmetic Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, General Science, Word Knowledge, Electronics, Coding, Automotive, Mechanical Comprehension, and more.
The ASVAB test sections assess a candidate’s best fit for a Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. These occupational specialties include functions such as Marine Corps Aviation Supply Specialist or Combat Engineer, just to mention a few.
More Eligibility Requirements
So your GED may qualify you for a career with the U.S. Navy. There are, however, more requirements that you must fulfill to qualify. Let’s take a closer look.
- Age Requirements – Navy recruits are usually at least 18 years of age. Those 17 years old may enlist, however, if they hold permission from a parent or guardian, and the U.S. Navy will not accept candidates that are 39 or older.
- Citizenship – Candidates for the U.S. Navy will have to be U.S. citizens or hold a permanent residency visa or a Green Card.
- Medical Factors – The medical history of all applicants will be reviewed, and they will undergo a rigorous physical exam.
- Legal & Drug-Alcohol Considerations – Candidates for the U.S. Navy must demonstrate strong morals and character. If applicants fail a drug test or have a criminal history, they will not qualify for a career in the U.S. Navy.
- Family Considerations – Occasionally, usually depending on the number and ages of dependents, single parents do not qualify for a career in the U.S. Navy. Sometimes there are also financial factors that prevent a candidate from qualifying for a career in the U.S. Navy.
So GED graduates may well be eligible to pursue a career with the U.S. Navy. But once they have enlisted, they must additionally complete a rigorous Navy Recruit Training Program. The Warrior Challenge Program and the Buddy Program are additional options for individuals looking to pursue careers as enlisted sailors.
All persons pursuing a career in the U.S. Navy must complete rigorous training programs and continuously demonstrate physical and mental aptitude. These programs combine academic and physical training elements, and enlistees must also pass the Navy’s rigorous swimming test.