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The U.S. Army welcomes people from all backgrounds to enlist to serve their country. However, like its three sister services, the Army has a number of standards that hopeful enlistees must meet, including for age. The Department of Defense age limit for enlistment in the military is 42, though the services can grant age waivers. Generally, though, the Army its three sister services only enlist those age 35 and younger.
Army Enlistment Age Limits
Many Army military occupational specialties are physically demanding in and of themselves, such as the infantry, Ranger or Special Forces. Additionally, the Army's general physical fitness standards require that enlisted soldiers and officers attain reasonably high fitness levels. Through experience, the Army has found that older enlistees suffer greater rates of injury and take longer to recover. Also, the maximum enlistment age for Army Special Forces is normally 29, while the Ranger maximum enlistment age limit is usually 34.
Enlistment After Age 25
If you're older than age 25 and younger than 36 and want to enlist in the Army, you should encounter little difficulty as long as you meet qualification standards. All hopeful Army enlistees must meet the service's education, testing and assessment requirements regardless of age. If you're enlisting in the Army after age 29, though, consider the career fields in which you may wish to serve. As the WebMD site notes, people begin to experience declines in fitness levels after their 20s.
Selecting Army Career Fields
From a physiological standpoint, the older you are after your 20s, the longer it tends to take your body to recover from strenuous physical activity. The rigors of Army basic combat training, or boot camp, can be tough on older enlistees who are not in decent shape when reporting. If you're 34 and also want an Army infantry career, for example, consider getting into excellent physical shape prior to your enlistment. If you're older, your Army recruiter can also help you decide on age-appropriate career selections.
Army Recruiters and Websites
Army recruiters always have the latest information on service enlistment standards, including for age limits and other mandatory requirements. You can also visit the GoArmy website to explore careers and even apply for enlistment online. The benefit to being older than age 25 when seeking an Army career is that your mature outlook can generally make for a higher-performing soldier. Unfortunately, if you're between ages 36 and 42, your odds of enlisting in the Army may be fairly low.
Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.
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