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How to Enlist in the Army Special Forces

So you wanna enlist in the Army Special Forces, eh? Well, it's not that easy.

The Army Special Forces is one of the most highly respected military branches in the world, and as we all know, Uncle Sam is always looking for a few more good men. The thing is, enlisting in the US Army is not something just everyone can do—and that's doubly true if you want to enlist in the Army Special Forces division. 

If you want to join any of the elite divisions of the military, it will be a process. Here's what hopefuls will need to know before they give it a shot. 

Before you even talk to a recruiter, make sure that this is something that you want to do.

The military isn't like a normal job where you can quit at any time. If you don't like the military after you enlist, you cannot leave—at least, not for another two to four years. Let that sink in for a moment.

Sure, high-ranking folks like the Army Special Forces or the Navy SEALs get paid well and there's job security there, but they also have to undergo grueling training and deal with work that could destroy most people.

If you really want to enlist in the Army Special Forces, do it because you want to help the nation rather than a paycheck. Above all, don't do it because you want to prove you're tough. You will regret that decision. 

Next, understand that you need to be in good physical shape to enlist in the Army, period.

Though many may think otherwise, you really can't just join the Army willy-nilly. The Army has a lot of standards when it comes to health, height, and weight. If you do not meet basic Armed Forces requirements, you will not be able to enlist. 

Some of the most important requirements you need to be aware of include:

  • Being mentally and emotionally stable. You can't have a mental breakdown in the middle of a mission. 
  • Being at least 58 inches tall, and 97 pounds in weight. Any shorter, and you will not be able to enlist in the Army at all. This is a uniform issue more than anything. 
  • Decent vision. You don't have to have 20/20, but it has to be correctable in order for you to serve. 
  • Be 20 to 30 years old. Older folks are not allowed in, sorry. 
  • Be an American citizen who passes a security clearance check. If you can't get clearance, you will not be able to join the Army Special Forces. 
  • Having a body fat percentage that is no greater than 26% for men, or 40% for women. It's worth pointing out that the maximum body fat percentage increases with age. You may need to refer to the US Army Weight and Height Chart to figure things out for your own age. 

It's important to note that passing these standards alone doesn't necessarily mean you'll get in. There are a lot of surprising things that can disqualify you from enlisting in the military—many of which recruiters may not even mention to you.

That being said, passing the bare minimum probably will not get you able to enlist in the Army Special Forces. Shoot higher, and you'll find training to be easier.  

A good idea would be to join a gym before you talk to an Army recruiter.

Simply put, the next part of being able to enlist in the Army Special Forces will be painful. You need to prepare for it, and if you aren't in top shape, you need to get into shape as fast as you can. 

Talk to a recruiter once you're ready to take the step.

If we're going to be honest, this is the first real step to enlist in the Army Special Forces. You can't enlist without a recruiter's help—which is why they will need to talk to you.

When you go, you will need to tell them that you want to enlist. They will give you paperwork to fill out, explain to you what the process will be, and will give you an appointment for an exam.

Oh, and you'll also have to take an Army physical fitness test, too. 

If you pass the bare minimums, then you can take the ASVAB.

The ASVAB, also known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, is where your chance to enlist in the Army Special Forces is made or broken. This is a holistic test that shows where your real strengths lie. 

Your body and mind will both be tested in this—and the score you get will help determine whether or not you're Special Forces material. You typically will need a score of 110 or higher and a combat score of 98 to even try to get into the Special Forces sector. 

Don't underestimate how important ASVAB scores are. If your ASVAB score is too low, then you will not be able to join the Army at all. 

Once you pass ASVAB, you will be able to go to Basic Training.

Passing the ASVAB and signing up means that it's time to go to Basic Training. This is also known as "boot camp" by civilians, and it's typically a pretty intense amount of training that will help ramp you up for more extreme work later on. Every army recruit will need to pass Basic Training. 

Basic Training is not fun, nor is it easy. However, it gives you a foundation in the Army that you will need in order to function as a Special Forces elite—and also acts as a test to make sure that you can make it as part of the military. 

If you do not finish Basic Training, you won't be a part of the US Army. If you do, congrats! You're in the Army!

Next, will come Advanced Individualized Training.

Since you're looking to enlist in the Army Special Forces, you're going to receive special training. On top of your Basic Training, you will have to go through Advanced Individualized Training. This will involve more combat, survival, and planning work for you. 

The Special Forces, including the Green Berets, will also require you to get air training.

This means that you're also going to have to complete US Airborne School before you get to enlist in the Army Special Forces. If you have a fear of heights or can't get over the airplane issue, you also will be disqualified. So, do the best you can to soar above expectations.  

Believe it or not, after you've passed all that training, you still technically are not a member of the Special Forces.

In order to actually join the Special Forces or the Green Berets, you will have to make the cut again. The Special Forces Assessment and Selection, or SFAS test, will test to see how well your survival skills have been honed. 

Of the people who take the SFAS, only the top qualified individuals will be allowed to make it to Special Forces Training camps. The military is extremely choosy about who makes it this far already. 

If you make past Special Forces Training, then you are going to be a Beret!

The final step to enlist in the Army Special Forces is to undergo the 45-week training process to become a Special Forces member. However, it's generally safe to say that anyone who has made it this far will probably be able to handle the work that Green Berets and Army Rangers do.

No matter what happens, making it this far shows that you are one of the toughest people out there—and a true patriot, too. 

Iggy Paulsen
Iggy Paulsen

Iggy Paulsen is a fan of anything and everything wholesome. He loves his two dogs, hiking in the woods, traveling to Aruba, building DIY projects that better humanity, and listening to motivational speakers. He hopes to eventually become a motivational speaker himself.

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