National Guard Requirements to Join

* Updated November 2015

The Army National Guard has specific physical, academic, and legal qualifications that you must pass to join. To qualify for enlistment into the National Guard without prior service, you need to:

  • Be between the the ages of 17 and 35 (unless you have prior U.S. military service, or a specialized professional skill, such as a chaplain, lawyer or certain medical specialties)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident alien
  • You must be either currently a junior in high school or have a high school diploma or GED certificate. If you do not meet this requirement, we can help; just visit the National Guard Youth Challenge web site.
  • Meet necessary moral requirements and medical requirements, such as being in generally good health, with no disqualifying conditions. You will also be required to pass a physical and a a drug screening test.

* Persons under age 18 must obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Other Information

• You must also obtain a minimum qualifying score on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery exam (ASVAB).

• Persons who were born in the 50 United States including the commonwealths, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, are eligible for enlistment.

• Persons born abroad on a military installation, or born abroad of U.S. parents who were citizens at the time are also eligible for enlistment.

• Persons considered to be aliens who have been lawfully and permanently admitted to the United States and requested permanent residence may enlist BUT not for any Military Occupational Specialty requiring a security clearance. These applicants will incur a Military Service Obligation (MSO), and they should apply for citizenship within four years after enlistment. Those who do not apply for citizenship by the end of their MSO will not be eligible for extension or reenlistment and will be discharged upon completion of their MSO.

• Aliens who have been admitted on a temporary basis are not eligible for enlistment. Nationals of the United States, such as the American Samoa, are eligible for enlistment.

• Success in any branch of the Military depends on a good education, and a high school diploma is most desirable. Candidates with a GED can enlist, but some services may limit opportunities. It is very difficult to be considered a serious candidate without either a high school diploma or accepted alternative credential. In any case, staying in school is important for entering the Military.

• As part of the entrance process for any service, prior to Boot Camp, you will receive a physical exam. During that exam you will be asked about your overall health.

• A criminal record may disqualify you from military service. If you have a criminal record you need to talk to a recruiter in order to evaluate your particular situation.

Contact a National Guard Recruiter Today!

*Not all the enlistment criteria are shown here; contact your recruiter for exact details.