Becoming a Navy SEAL requires meeting stringent qualifications beyond those required for candidates in other jobs in the Navy. As the premiere special operations force in the Navy, SEALs receive extensive training in special warfare tactics. Only men can join the SEALs. Because of the nature of their missions and the extent of their training, the Navy sets acceptance standards higher for SEALs than for others in the Navy. This means that there are more things that can disqualify you from becoming a SEAL.
Typically, the Navy requires all officers to be U.S. citizens, but accepts enlisted sailors who lack citizenship, but who are residing in the U.S. legally. This is not the case for SEALs. All SEALs must be U.S. citizens.
All SEALs must pass an extensive background investigation. You must be able to obtain the proper security clearance. Factors such as a poor credit history or a history of speeding tickets could make a candidate ineligible for a security clearance, and ineligible for the SEALs. The Navy considers a felony conviction an automatic disqualification for all candidates, regardless of the job.
Maximum Age for SEALs
The Navy will normally accept enlisted sailors up to age 34 and officers up to age 35. All SEALs, regardless of rank, can be no older than 28 at the time they are accepted into the program.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is a series of tests required for all enlistees in any branch of the Armed Forces. ASVAB scores, which are divided into 10 categories, determine military job eligibility. Each branch sets its own standard for what is acceptable for each job. SEAL candidates must achieve minimum composite scores in one of three combinations: 170 in the general science, mechanical comprehension and electronics information; 220 in verbal, math knowledge, mechanical comprehension and computer science; or a 50 on mechanical comprehension and 110 on verbal and arithmetic reasoning combined. Candidates who do not achieve these scores are disqualified from the program, but they may be eligible for other jobs.
The physical exam required for SEALs is the same one the Navy requires for divers. In addition, eyesight must be no worse than 20/25 with correction, and without correction, no worse than 20/40 in the better eye and 20/70 in the other. SEALs cannot be colorblind. They must achieve specific scores on a screening test that includes pushups, pull-ups, swimming, running and situps. Those who cannot meet the physical requirements are disqualified.
Candidates are normally disqualified if they have two or more dependents who are younger than 18. All applicants must pass a screening for drugs and alcohol. Officers must have at least a bachelor's degree, and enlisted sailors must be high school graduates or GED recipients.