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Educational Requirements for the Navy

by Maureen Malone

Education is a priority for the U.S. Navy, and all sailors must meet minimum education requirements to get in. Once in the Navy, sailors must complete further education and training programs. In addition, the Navy offers many incentives and opportunities for sailors to continue their education and advance their careers.

Enlistment Requirements

To enlist in the Navy, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED. In addition, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. This is an aptitude test that determines your strengths and which occupations you are eligible for once you enlist.

Enlisted Training

Once you enlist in the Navy, you must complete additional education and training provided by the Navy. First, you complete between seven and nine weeks of boot camp training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, Illinois. During boot camp, you will gain the skills and education needed to be a sailor, including physical conditioning, drilling, swimming and weaponry. Following boot camp, you will attend "A School." A School is where you will gain the knowledge and skills needed for your specific job within the Navy.

Officer Education Requirements

To become an officer in the Navy, you must complete at least a bachelor's degree in any field. You can complete your bachelor's degree at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., or through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at colleges throughout the country. Upon graduation, you will be commissioned as an officer. If you already have a bachelor's degree, you may get a direct commission into the Navy as an officer. If you are entering the Navy in a specialized field such as health care, you must also have the required advanced degrees, licenses and certifications.

Officer Training

Officers must complete the 12-week Officer Candidate School at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. Officers learn leadership skills, knowledge needed to command a submarine or ship and receive additional military training. Officers who are directly commissioned into the Navy attend a five-week Officer Development School at the Naval Station Newport. Officers develop their leadership skills and learn military structure, customs and etiquette.

Continuing Education

Although not required, additional education will help you advance your career. Whether you are an enlisted sailor or an officer, the U.S. Navy offers many programs that allow you to continue your education and pursue advanced degrees. For example, enlisted people can consider the Navy College Program, which grants college credit for the work you do and training you receive while on active duty. Officers may purse specialized graduate and professional degrees through programs such as the Health Professions Scholarship Program or the Chaplain Education Program. Officers may also pursue postgraduate degrees in areas such as engineering, security studies and business administration at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

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