To join the National Guard without prior service, you must meet these mandatory requirements:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 35
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least a junior in high school, or have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
  • Achieve a minimum score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test
  • Meet medical, physical, and moral requirements
For full requirements
Contact Your Local Recruiter

How To Join

Non-Prior Service Enlistment Options

  • Delayed Training – One option is to join the Army National Guard and delay your reporting date for Basic Combat Training. As a high school junior, you can delay your reporting date until after you complete your junior year academic requirements. High school seniors and college students can receive a delay of up to 365 days from enlistment to reporting for Basic Combat Training. Those who choose this option are required to train one weekend per month with the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP). High school juniors may combine this option with the Split Training Option discussed next.
  • Split Training Option – An option for high school juniors is the Split Training Option. As a junior in high school, you can enlist in the Army National Guard and train one weekend per month with the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP). This will not interrupt or affect your high school education. You start by attending Basic Combat Training the summer after your high school junior year. You will return home in time for classes to begin your senior year and train one weekend per month with the RSP. The summer following your high school graduation, you will attend Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in the specialty you chose when you enlisted. If you are at least 17 years old and a high school junior, you can take advantage of the Split Training Option. In addition, college students or seasonal workers may also be eligible for this option.
  • College First Enlistment Option – The Army National Guard College First Enlistment Option provides applicants the opportunity to serve in the Army National Guard and complete up to two years of full-time schooling. Applicants that enlist under this option may be stabilized for up to 24 months upon completion of Initial Entry Training (IET) and reporting fully qualified to their unit of assignment.
  • ROTC Simultaneous Membership Program – The Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) is a program that offers Army ROTC cadets hands-on experience in an Army National Guard unit. When you choose the SMP option, you are both a Soldier in the Army National Guard and a cadet in the Army ROTC Program. Upon graduation you will receive your commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, and serve in either the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, or in the Active Army.
  • Officer Candidate School – If you already have 90 college semester credits and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can join the Army National Guard under the state Officer Candidate School (OCS) enlistment option.
  • Civilian Acquired Skills Program – The Civilian Acquired Skills Program (CASP) attracts and uses persons with civilian-acquired skills required by the Army National Guard. Persons qualified for the CASP may be given an advance in grade upon enlistment. They may be entitled to accelerated promotion based on the skill level held and demonstrated duty performance.

Prior Service Eligibility

It doesn’t matter what branch you served in; all your time will be added to your time in the Army National Guard. If you want to make a career out of the military, you will be able to reach your 20 years and be eligible for military retirement and benefits.

  • Your last discharge must have been under Honorable Conditions. Army RE-4s and Less than Honorable discharges are not eligible for enlistment.
  • After the applicant is given credit for total prior service (Active and Reserve Component), the applicant must be able to qualify for non-regular retired pay by age 60. For applicants processing for entry into the Army National Guard, age is not a factor as long as the applicant qualifies for non-regular retired pay by age 60.
  • If you have been out less than 6 months, then you may be eligible to enlist without a new MEPS physical. You need to contact your local recruiter so that we can determine your current status. Best thing to do, if possible, is to locate a copy of the last physical you took and give us a call.
  • A new ASVAB test is not required as long as previous ASVAB scores can be verified. However, you are eligible to retake the ASVAB if necessary, in order to qualify for a new MOS.
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