Each military branch has their own minimum ASVAB score requirements and education experience levels that are needed to be eligible for enlistment. Please keep in mind that the “overall” ASVAB Score is known as the “AFQT Score,” or “Armed Forces Qualification Test Score”, which is made up of your test results from the Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Arithmetic Reasoning subtests. For the purposes of this article, “AFQT” and “ASVAB” are used interchangeably because minimum AFQT score requirements are often referred to as the “ASVAB score”. Here is an overview of each military branch’s requirements, in alphabetical order:
ASVAB Score – Air Force recruits must get at least 36 points on the AFQT. Exclusions are created, however, for a few high school graduates that score lower than 36, but higher than 31. Yet, over 70 percent of those approved for an Air Force enlistment score 50 or above.
Education – It’s seeming impossible to get into the Air Force without graduating from high school with a diploma. The chances are extremely slim for people who only get a GED instead of a high school diploma. Only about 1/2 of 1%, or 0.5%, of all annual Air Force enlistments only have a GED. If a GED holder is trying to enlist, that person must score a 65 or higher on the AFQT. On the up side, if a recruit has college credits under their belt then the Air Force allows a higher enlistment rank!
ASVAB Score – The Army requires a minimum AFQT score of 31 to be eligible to enlist. If a recruit scores higher than a 50 then that recruit is eligible for enlistment bonuses!
Education – More people are able to enlist in the Army with only a GED, as opposed to a high school diploma, than any other military branch. Some recruitment years have allowed 15% of recruits to enter without a high school diploma. On the up side, just like the Air Force, if a recruit has college credits under their belt then the Army allows the recruit to enter with a higher enlistment rank! The Army allows recruits with a college degree to enter with a rank as high as E-4, which is higher than the Air Force’s E-3 rank for recruits with only some college credits.
ASVAB Score – The Coast Guard is the most difficult branch of the military to enter with a minimum ASVAB score of 40 that is required to enlist. A waiver is possible if a recruit’s scores on subtests outside of the AFQT, such as Mechanical Comprehension, make the recruit eligible for a specific job and the recruit is willing to agree to enter that job upon enlistment.
Education – 95% of recruits are required to have a high school diploma. If a recruit is allowed to enlist with a GED, the minimum AFQT score is 50. The Coast Guard provides advanced enlistment rank of E-2 with a minimum of 30 college credits, and E-3 for recruits with a minimum of 60 college credits.
ASVAB Score – Recruits must get a minimal score of 32 on the ASVAB to join the Marine Corps. A very few exceptions are created (about 1%) for some extremely talented recruits that have skills in certain areas the Marine Corps is seeking, but only achieve a minimum AFQT score of 25.
Education – Recruits without a high school diploma are practically ineligible to enlist. The Marine Corps do not allow more than 5% of recruits to enlist without a high school diploma, and those recruits must have a GED. Those with only a GED must score at least a 50 on the AFQT to be considered. As with the other branches, the Marine Corps provides advanced enlistment rank for recruits that have some college experience (I.e. credits). However, the Marines are less generous to recruits with some college credit as they only allow the maximum advanced rank of E-2 upon enlistment.
ASVAB Score – Navy recruits must obtain a minimum score of 35 on the AFQT. Exception are rarely made for those who do not maintain a minimum score, but a Reserve enlistment is available for those that achieve an ASVAB score higher than 31.
Education – Like the Air Force, the Navy rarely accepts recruits without a high school diploma. GED enlistments must achieve at least a 50 on the AFQT and they can’t have drug or illegal activity on their police records. In addition, enlistments with only a GED must have three references from prominent members of the community (police, fire, teacher, civil servant, etc.). For those who have college experience, advanced enlistment ranking as high as E-3 is available for recruits with some college credits.