U.S. Navy no longer requires a high school diploma or GED

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – As of January 26th, 2024, the U.S. Navy has taken away a high school diploma or GED from its list of requirements to enlist.

Now, to join the Navy, you must be a U.S. citizen; or Legal Permanent Resident (Enlisted) but you must also:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 41 for Enlisted programs. Age requirements for Officer programs vary.*
  • Have a qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test (Enlisted) or the Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR) and Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) (Officer)
  • Pass the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) medical exam
  • Meet the physical, mental, and moral standards of the Navy

According to Navy recruiters and official websites, although the high school diploma/GED requirement is not needed, those without one will need to score 50 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This is compared to those with a degree or diploma, where the required ASVAB score is significantly lower.

Navy recruiters and military science professors work with people who have college degrees and still can’t score a 50 on the ASVAB, questioning whether or not the Navy really, “lowered their standards.”

“I don’t even consider it lowering a standard, yes you get away with not having a high school diploma but the test standard is still there. If you can’t pass the test, it does not matter if you have a college degree, you can’t pass the test you still aren’t getting in,” ECU ROTC Recruiting Operations Officer, William Johnson said.

The Navy has also become more lenient than the other branches of the military when it comes to tattoos – allowing them now on your neck and hands.

“We talk about tattoos or we talk about something bad but at the end of the day our job is to fight,” Johnson said.

According to NavyTimes, the Navy has a goal of recruiting at least 40,600 active-duty members in 2024. In 2023, they recruited 30,236 active-duty sailors with a goal last year of at least 37,000.

The U.S. Department of Defense identifies this recruiting landscape as one of the toughest in more than 30 years.