By Buddy Blouin
If you’re looking to join the National Guard, it’s important to understand the requirements for doing so. For starters, there are two National Guards: one for the U.S. Army and another under the U.S. Air Force. Together, these reserve units help serve their states through national defense, humanitarian efforts, emergency response, and more. Learn more about the National Guard requirements to see if you qualify for service.

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What Are the Requirements To Join the National Guard?

There are several National Guard requirements you'll need to meet before joining the force. If you’re looking to join the National Guard, you’ll need to be aware of them. National Guard eligibility for the state-based military force includes the following:
  • To join, you must be between the ages of 17 and 35.
  • You must be either a permanent resident of the United States or a citizen.
  • You must either be at least a junior in high school or have a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • You must score at least a minimum AFQT score of 31 on the ASVAB test.
  • Candidates must meet the medical, physical, and moral requirements of the National Guard.
There are other requirements that may come up during your enlistment process. Furthermore, there are stipulations surrounding specific jobs. For example, becoming a pilot or serving in a medical capacity have more stringent requirements. Applicants should also be aware that you can’t apply to join the National Guard if you’re over the age of 35. Some Veterans, however, may be able to join in varying capacities, but new enrollees will not be accepted past this age. When preparing to join any military force, it’s obvious that training and exercise are going to play a large role. Fortunately, you can train to join by following the outlined guides provided by the National Guard. You’ll take the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT), which involves four exercises to determine your strength. These include the standing long jump, strength deadlift, seated power throw, and interval aerobic run. How you do on these tests will help determine which jobs you qualify for and how you will serve.

The Benefits of Joining

For those looking to become a part of and meet the requirements for National Guard service, there are many benefits that you can gain from serving the country. Yes, there’s monetary compensation, but there’s a lot more to it than that. This includes:
  • The opportunity for assistance in pursuit of higher education.
  • Traditional job benefits like healthcare, life insurance, and retirement benefits.
  • Assistance with purchasing a home through exclusive loans.
  • The chance to expand your skills and career through skill development and career advancement opportunities.
  • Self-fulfillment through service and helping one’s community/nation.
There are several reasons for joining and tons of benefits for doing so. No matter which capacity you serve in, the National Guard has plenty to offer those who are ready to rise to the challenge.

Understanding the Process and Requirements To Join the National Guard

The entire process of joining and becoming a Guardsman revolves around recruiting qualified personnel who want to push themselves to be all that they can be. Being in the National Guard isn’t for everyone, as there are plenty of physical and mental challenges that come with the territory. But for those who join, it’s an opportunity unlike any other. To begin the process of joining the National Guard, contact an area recruiter or go online to fill out an application. You can also learn more about the application process that may be specific to your journey. The National Guard requirements are in place to set the standard of what makes this important fighting force dependable and resilient. Joining the Guardsmen means a life of service and opportunity for self-growth and defending the nation.

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