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Joining the U.S. Navy as an officer requires meeting minimum eligibility standards. For example, officer candidates must be between the ages of 19 and 35, U.S. citizens and capable of passing a criminal background check. Officers must also have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The Navy does not specify a particular degree for most jobs, allowing candidates to parlay any legitimate bachelor's degree into a career as an officer. However, specific degrees are necessary for a limited number of jobs in the Navy.
Navy chaplains conduct religious services, provide counseling and offer spiritual support to service members and their families. The Navy requires chaplains to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a graduate degree in theology or other relevant studies. The post-baccalaureate degree must consist of at least 72 semester hours.
Navy lawyers are members of the Judge Advocate General's office, commonly known as JAG. JAG lawyers practice in a variety of fields, from military justice to environmental law. Although the Navy offers a program for law school students, to practice as a JAG lawyer, candidates must first graduate from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association and have passed their state bar exams.
Physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school may practice medicine in a number of specialties. The Navy will accept physicians up to age 64, and highly qualified candidates may receive a waiver if they are 65 or older. A bachelor's of science in nursing qualifies candidates who want to become Navy nurses. Other clinical jobs, such as physical therapist, also require specific degrees. For example, physical therapists must have at least a bachelor's degree in physical therapy and a minimum GPA of 3.0, but the Navy prefers candidates with graduate degrees in physical therapy.
Healthcare administrators plan facilities, manage budgets, oversee information systems and handle other tasks related to providing medical care. Navy HCAs must have at least a master's degree in health care, public health, health or hospital administration or business administration with a concentration of courses in healthcare administration.
A degree in one of a variety of science fields can qualify candidates as officers in the U.S. Navy. Although the Navy's needs change periodically, entomologists, microbiologists and biochemists are among the jobs available in 2013. Other opportunities included aerospace physiology, environmental health, industrial hygiene and radiation health. Some jobs require at least a master's degree, but the minimum for other jobs is a bachelor's degree.