Are you thinking of joining the military? It’s certainly a great experience and a great way to earn an education and/or experience for future employment. In order to join the military, though, you have to meet the age requirements. At a minimum, you must be 17 years old for any branch of the military. The maximum age, though, varies by the branch of military you wish to join.
The Maximum Age by Branch With no Experience
If you have no prior experience in the military, the following age maximums apply to you:
- Army – You must be in basic training before your 35th birthday
- Navy – You can enlist until you are 34 years old
- Air Force – You can enlist until you are 39 years old
- Coast Guard – You can enlist until you are 27 years old
- Marines – You can enlist until you are 29 years old
Maximum Age for Prior Enlisted Military Members
If you were in the military before, you may be able to extend your time in the military. The government allows you to use your years of experience to your advantage. They allow you to deduct the years of service from your current age.
For example, if you served 5 years in the Army and you are now 35 years old, you still have 5 years to enlist since your ‘military age is 30.’
The Maximum Age for Reservists With no Experience
There are also different age requirements for Reservists that have no prior experience:
- Army Reserves – 35 years old (just like the Army)
- Air Force Reserve – 34 years old
- Coast Guard Reserve – 39 years old
- Naval Reserves – 39 years old
- Army National Guard – 35 years old
- Air National Guard – 40 years old
Exceptions to the Rule
Exceptions may be made for certain professionals. For example, doctors, nurses, and lawyers are often needed in the military. If the military is short of these professionals, it’s not unheard of for them to waive the age requirements, taking on those that are much older, but are capable of the job at hand.
Generally, it’s on a case-by-case basis as well. If you really want to enlist, but your age falls outside of the requirements, discuss your options with your local recruiter. You may be able to file for an exception, especially if you are in a highly sought after position that the military needs.