Minimum Required ASVAB Scores and Education Level

ASVAB Scoring For Military Service (Entrance Exam)

Recruit walking into MEPS
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Recruits should look at going to a recruiter for military service and taking the ASVAB as the job interview and the entrance exam. Your ability and manner speaks volumes to the recruiter and they are door to your future employer. Doing your research and understanding the process and having a firm idea on what job you want to do, what skills you want to learn, and what service you want to join are elements you should be very familiar with before even meeting the recruiter for the first time.

ASVAB Standard of the Branches of Service

Each of the services has their own minimum standards when it comes to Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score requirements, and education levels needed to qualify for enlistment. As of 2017, these are the standards for each of the services for scoring on the ASVAB as well as education levels. 

Air Force

Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB (Note: The "Overall" ASVAB Score is known as the "AFQT Score," or "Armed Forces Qualification Test Score"). Exceptions are made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 31. In actuality, the vast majority (over 70 percent) of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment score 50 or above.

Education - Your chances of joining the Air Force without graduating high school are slim to none. Even with a GED, the chances are not good. Only about half of a percent of all Air Force enlistments each year are GED-Holders.

To even be considered for one of these very few slots, a GED-holder must score a minimum of 65 on the AFQT. The Air Force allows a higher enlistment rank for recruits with college credit.


The Army requires a minimum AFQT Score of 31 to qualify for enlistment. However, in recent months, the Army has been approving more and more waivers for those with scores as low as 26 (Category IVA).

To qualify for certain enlistment incentives, such as enlistment bonuses, an Army recruit must score a minimum of 50.

Education - The Army allows more recruits to enlist with a GED than any other branch. In Fiscal Year 2008, only 83 percent of new Army recruits had a high school diploma (or at least 15 college credits), compared with the Department of Defense (DOD) average of 92 percent. The Army even has a special program, called Army Prep School, that allows individuals to enlist who have no high school diploma or GED.

Like the Air Force, the Army also offers a higher enlistment rank for recruits with college. Unlike the Air Force, where the maximum initial enlistment rank for college credits is E-3, the Army offers the rank of E-4 for those with a bachelor's degree.

Marine Corps

Marine Corps recruits must score at least 32 on the ASVAB. Very few exceptions are made (about one percent) for some exceptionally otherwise qualified recruits with scores as low as 25.

Education - As with the Air Force, those without a high school education are ineligible. The Marine Corps limits GED enlistments to no more than five percent per year. Those with a GED must score a minimum of 50 on the AFQT to even be considered.

As with the other services, the Marine Corps offers advanced enlistment rank for college credits. However, of all the services, the Marines are the most restrictive in this area. The maximum advanced rank for college credits is E-2, where the other services will give college credit advanced rank up to E-3 (E-4 in the Army).


Navy recruits must score at least 35 on the AFQT. The Navy raised this requirement from 31 in 2003 for active duty accessions. Reserve enlistment programs still only require a score of 31.

Education - Like the Air Force, the Navy accepts very, very few recruits who don't have a high school diploma. To be considered for enlistment with a GED, you must score a minimum of 50 on the AFQT. You must also have no drug use, and at least three references from influential members of the community (police, fire, judge, teacher, etc.).

Any police involvement, other than minor traffic offenses will also disqualify a GED applicant.

Like the other services, the Navy offers advanced enlistment rank (up to E-3) for college.

Coast Guard

The Coast Guard requires a minimum of 40 points on the AFQT. A waiver is possible if a recruit's ASVAB Line Scores qualify them for a specific job, and the recruit is willing to enlist in that job.

Education - For a very few (less than 5 percent) who will be allowed to enlist with a GED, the minimum AFQT score is 50. The CG offers advanced enlistment rank of E-2 for 30 college credits, and E-3 for 60 credits.

Note: Recruits (for any of the services) with at least 15 college credits fall into the Tier I enlistment education category and must score the same as high-school diploma holders, and are not subject to the accession percentages discussed above.