The short answer is yes. You can join the Army with a GED. Is it as easy to join the Army with a GED as it is with a high school diploma? No, it is much more difficult to join the Army with a GED compared to a high school diploma.
As of 2015, when you apply to join the Army, your education qualifications will determine what Tier you are in. The three Tiers are:
– High school diploma producing programs (Tier 1)
– Alternate high school credentials (Tier 2)
– Less than a high school diploma (Tier 3)
Applicants with a high school diploma fall into the Tier 1 category as long as they are in the 31st percentile or above on their AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test). Applicants with a GED automatically fall into the Tier 2 category and must score in the 50th percentile or above on the AFQT to qualify.
Tier 2 applicants are made up of these 3 types of credentials:
– Test-based equivalency diploma (GED)
– National Guard Youth Challenge Program
– High school certificate of attendance/completion or special education
Just because you qualify doesn’t necessarily mean there will be an opening for you. However, if a GED holder earns 15 semester hours of college courses (approximately 1 semester, full time), the U.S. Army redefines them as Tier 1 for enlistment purposes and allows them to apply for any open slots without the restrictions of the Tier 2 applicants. The college courses used must be from an accredited school, must be applicable (though not necessarily applied to) a degree, and must be at the 100-level (Freshman-level) or above. Tier 1 candidates get first pick on open positions, while Tier 2 candidates can apply for any open positions that are left.
The military is not allowed to accept more than 10 percent of individuals with a GED, and each branch of the military sets its own limit, which is generally less than that 10 percent. Military statistics have shown that people who dropped out of high school tend to drop out of the military in their first term at a higer percentage than those with a high school diploma.
So, don’t give up on joining the military if you have a GED, but you can increase your chances to join significantly if you can obtain your high school diploma or some college credit hours.
Good luck to all!