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The General Educational Development (GED) certificate is often viewed as the equivalent of a high school diploma. In the context of military enlistment, the question arises: Can you join the military with a GED? The answer is a resounding yes. While the military often requires a high school diploma, it is still very possible to join the armed services after earning a GED.

Tier Classification in Military Recruitment

The military classifies recruits into one of three categories. Tier 1 recruits are those who have earned a high school diploma or have completed 15 credits of college. Tier 2 recruits are those who hold a GED, and Tier 3 recruits are individuals who have neither a high school diploma nor a GED. Tier 3 recruitment is rare and it's recommended that one at least acquire a GED to increase their chances of enlistment.

GED Recruits and The ASVAB Test

Those who enlist with a GED are classified as Tier 2 recruits. However, the ratio of Tier 2 recruits varies across different branches of the military. For example, less than 1% of annual recruits in the Air Force are Tier 2, whereas about 5% of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) recruits fall into this category. To improve chances of enlistment, GED holders are advised to score well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. Tier 2 recruits are required to score 50% or higher on the ASVAB, compared to Tier 1 recruits who only need to score 31% or higher.

Transitioning from Tier 2 to Tier 1

It's possible for a GED holder to transition from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 recruit by earning 15 college credits. These credits can be earned at various types of institutions, including vocational, community, or business colleges. It's important to confirm with a recruiter that the chosen school is recognized in programs that will count towards the required 15 credits.

GED Recruits in the Army

The Army, for instance, allows about 15 percent of total enlistments each year to be GED holders. At one point, the Army had removed the requirement for recruits to hold a GED or high school diploma due to recruiting difficulties, but this was later reversed. The Army also provides GED testing at no cost to servicemen and women through the Army Continuing Education System. This allows potential recruits to secure a high school equivalent credential, improving their chances of enlistment.

Educational Assistance Programs

The Army also offers educational assistance programs such as the Tuition Assistance (TA) program. TA provides financial support for soldiers to attain personal and professional development objectives, which can include completion of a high school diploma or certificate-granting programs. However, using TA support incurs a service obligation, with Active Duty officers incurring a two-year Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO), and Reserve Component officers incurring a four-year Reserve Duty Service Obligation (RDSO).

ASVAB Test Details

The ASVAB test is key for recruits, particularly for those enlisting with a GED. The ASVAB is an entry-level computerized test designed to identify potential job or position matches within the U.S. armed forces. It tests skills and abilities across ten different areas and is not an IQ test but rather an assessment tool to identify areas where a recruit might excel.

In conclusion, joining the military with a GED is certainly possible. It might require some extra steps, like scoring well on the ASVAB or acquiring additional college credits, but it's very much within reach. As always, potential recruits should discuss their options with a military recruiter to identify the best path for their individual circumstances.


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