Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Join the Navy

A long list of contingencies can be applied to one's need for military action, but before you even begin to think of deployment, one must consider all initial expectations if you want to join the Navy.

No matter if it's for the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, or beyond, joining any single branch of the military is no easy task, and neither is what follows if you actually get cleared for basic. As when joining any organization or systematic group, one must know the concerns and necessities inherent with the particular place, in addition to the people involved. For this reason, if you're leaning toward the Navy, my advice would be to not only to read up on all that you can in context with the history and the ideologies of the military branch, but to also soak up as much information as is possible when literally signing up.

If you don't know the answers before enlisting, asking active duty Naval officers just how to become a Navy SEAL is half the battle. If you already know what to expect before you even hit enlistment, you can plan well ahead for your future and will be able to implement the Navy life into yours as soon as you get admitted into a particular program. Before you deploy, of course, you'll have to pass a physical, in addition to surviving boot camp, which is a place of both learning and hell, let me tell you. The point is: if you want to join the Navy, prepare for some truly hellish and harrowing adventures, but don't ever think yourself fully prepared, because what the Navy teaches you is preparedness and courage in the face of the darkest moments you'll ever experience, allowing you to overcome any and every obstacle put in front of you.

Needs Assessment

Are you actually fit for military inclusion? This is the question you must ask yourself before doing anything, because you have no clue how difficult and demanding this task is and what the overall meaning of your enlist can be to your life. This is what's called the needs assessment, your overall self-conditioning for military enactment. 

Serving in the military is a once in a lifetime opportunity of adventure and praise for the protection of your country. You must ensure you're not only prepared both mentally and physically, but also know what to expect before accepting any Navy offers. This is an imperative if you want to join the Navy, but even before you make that consensus, you first must decide which branch is right for you, since they're not all the same, nor do they all share in the same principles either. 

Choosing the Navy

One thing of interest to most enlistees is how much do Navy SEAls make? While this may differ across the board, it draws upon the simple understanding one must make before even making the decision to join the Navy: is this the right branch for me? 

That's right, the Navy might be where you want to end up, but that's not where you have to go. Ideally, and dependent upon your physical tests, you're capable to join any military branch you choose, but they all have different incentives and consist of a variety of objectives. Before you decide on the Navy, ensure that it's the right place for you so that you will be tested to the right capacity and can meet your motivators.

Navy Standards

Depending on your overall age and gender, one will have to pass a series of tests before even shipping out to basic. These only include four major areas of exercise and are relatively easy, but not everyone can do them, even if one is dead set to join the Navy. To learn more, simply read up on the Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT)

For males between the ages of 17 and 19, one must be able to preform 50 straight sit-ups, 42 push-ups, and a 12:30 timed 1.5-mile run. The older an enlistee is, the less advanced these exercises get; ie if you're over 30, 14:30 is required for the 1.5-mile run, whereas females between the ages of 25-29 will have to preform 43 sit-ups, 13 push-ups, plus a 16:08 time on your 1.5-mile run. 

Boot Camp

Hello, boot camp. This is where you will learn the most about the Navy, in addition to the deepest, darkest parts of your own physicality and mental possibility. It's all in your head, a mantra that will seemingly play like a broken record in your mind as you must confront the reality of Navy boot camp and basic training.  

Located at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois, the Navy's sole spot for the training of enlistees, one will undergo a series of day to day routines, each of which are based on gender, but ultimately come down to a variety of workouts, runs, and other particulars, like shooting and course objectives. You'll also get, as the name provides, the basic understanding of your role and your placement after you join the Navy.

Swim Test

Within the first week of basic, enlistees will have to be subject to the Navy 3rd Class Swim Test, or Hell if you ask anyone active or not. The swim test entails your ability to stay afloat and survive in open water without the need for a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Since "man-overboard" catastrophes are prone to occur (and have on many occasions), all Navy officers must be considered a 3rd class swimmer, or have passed this two-module test for minimum qualification to join the Navy.  

The test consists of a 50-yard swim using any stroke necessary, a 5-minute prone float, and a deep water jump. Module two is only allowed for enlistees who have passed module one. The follow up is merely inflation, but there are two other forms of swim tests you may have to pass in order to be qualified for your position;  the second-class swim test and the first-class swim test

Requesting Leave

When in the middle of basic, requesting is possible but more than not unlikely, as time off or vacation tends to go out the window when joining the Navy. Typically, though, officers still undergoing basic will be granted leave once one graduates from A-School, or job school, which directly follows Navy basic. 

Once graduated from A-School, you'll have up to 10 days maximum to visit family and friends during the Christmas holiday season, however if you've been admitted under the GENDET or GTEP, then you'll have to ask your supervisor. It's among the most useful questions to consider after you decide to join the Navy. 

Employment Opportunities

There are nearly 300,000 active duty Navy officers and enlisted sailors across the globe as of this very moment, which means you can too just as easily if you want to join the Navy. Only thing is, what next? 

That's where the aforementioned A-School comes in, where you'll not only learn your role in the overall scope of the Navy, but as well as what you'll be able to do once graduated. There are a plentitude of job opportunities under the Navy, from special operations, like diving, swimming, and jumping out of planes, to flying airplanes, driving submarines and sailing boats. 

Educational Programs

This is the where the eligibility of the G.I. Bill comes into play, as all enlisted sailors who are on active duty have the ability to sign up for it upon military entry. The Navy also has offers that work for understaffed jobs, in that once you join the Navy the military branch will pay for your college education if you enlist in these jobs, which will also add money to monthly G.I. Bill entitlements. 

There are also Navy options for paying college tuitions when courses are taken during off-duty times. This is why choosing what branch of military you most aptly belong to is of utmost concern, for the services and incentives all differ across the military and, depending on what assignment opportunities, quality of life programs and deployment rates you expect to receive. 

Enlisted Commissioning

There's a variety of ways one can ultimately make the jump from wanting to join the Navy to enlisting, but one of the easiest, or most used routes, is enrolling under the United States Naval Academy (USNA). From there, you'd have to be nominated from an individual in the executive or legislative branches of government. You would be initially enrolled into the Newport, Rhode Island, based Naval Academy Prep School, where you'll be trained and instructed in a number of capacities under the USNA curriculum.

There's a variety of other ways one can become a Navy officer, like the Navy's aptly-named BOOST program, which is sort of like the ROTC (another viable option in of itself), plus the Chief Warrant Officer program and Enlisted Commissioning Program for a few. Don't know exactly what route you should take? Ask the right people, and make sure it's the information you need, not want. 

A & C Schools

Not all enlistees will have the same experience in attending A & C Schools, which are simply places of knowledge growth directly following boot camp graduation. As I said previously, A School is, more or less, "job school" and pertains to the learning of your skills and what you can do for the Navy. 

C Schools, on the other hand, are where you'll go after graduating A School, but not all the rates have C Schools, as not every recruit will need to attend. Basically what these two schools entail are a systematic level of learning and instruction on the various duties. Amid A School, typically recruits will have the chance to "put in for orders," or simply the military's way of requesting where you want to work, and either if you want to pick shore duty, on land, or sea duty, where one will serve on aircraft carriers and the like.


One thing I feel is most important for those willing to join the Navy is understanding the lingo. If you have no idea what people are saying, then how do you expect to both fit in and to feel welcome? Learn the language before you ship out, so you're not stuck looking at fellow enlistees and active duty service members with a look of total confusion on your face after they say it's time for PRD (Projected Rotation Rate) or ROB (Reported on Board). 

There's also the more obvious words, like starboard (right side), port (left side), aft (rear), and forward (front). Though these words may be known by some, especially sailors, there's also other terms of note, like scuttle, which means "little door," deck, or the floor, scuttlebutt, meaning drinking fountain, and bird, pertaining to a jet or airplane. Knowing these words ahead of time and getting used to hearing them on a day-to-day basis will ensure your overall success in the Navy and keep you coming back for more, even after your EAOS (that's End of Active Obligations of Service).

Now Reading
Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Join the Navy
Read Next
Pain Is Weakness