After high school, if a college, a trade apprenticeship, or joining the workforce doesn’t feel right for you, you might consider serving your country.

America’s military is made up of the bravest, the strongest, and the most courageous men and women. But don’t be fooled; joining the military is no walk in the park. There are many different branches in the military and different jobs within those branches: the Marine Corps, the Army,  the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. Each branch requires a different physical examination with varying standards. 17 is the minimum age for joining the military, but in order to go through boot camp or to be deployed, a high school diploma (or GED with other requirements) is required.

Before joining the military, you need the proper motivation and dedication in order to get into shape, because if you don’t meet the physical requirements, you are as good as dead. The purpose of Basic Training or “Boot Camp” is to turn recruits into Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. This training is rooted in education, tradition and yes, physical strength, stamina and in some cases, skill, such as swimming. All services have specific minimum requirements, but just know that this minimum represents a tough starting point for Recruits. It’s highly recommended to get into shape now before attempting to take the physical tests.

Recruits are also required to take a test known as the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This test focuses on much of what was learned in high school: math, science, history, and English. The score on this test determines which branches of the military for which one can qualify. There are many ASVAB study guides and books online to help prepare for the exam. When you go to take the test, you will have to provide proper identification, and complete medical records. The military gives different physical tests to men and women. While male recruits may have a different number of reps or time requirements, the standard of difficulty is comparable for women. No matter male or female, get ready to participate in push-ups, pull ups, sit-ups, and a whole bunch of running.

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