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Navy Reserve Sailor in vehicle.

Being an Active Duty Sailor allows you to challenge yourself, enjoy being part of a purposeful mission and gives you an opportunity to take pride in the work you do for your country. It’s also a commitment that’s not right for everyone. That’s where the Navy Reserve comes in.


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In order to join the Navy Reserve, you must have a high school diploma. You may also join with a GED, but there may not be as many opportunities made available to you. Reserve Sailors must also be U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents, take the ASVAB test, and complete a physical examination.

What is the Navy Reserve Age Limit?

The age limit for Navy Reserve servicemembers is 42 years, though exceptions can be made for Sailors who have previously served. The minimum age requirement is 17 with parental consent and 18 without.

What are the Navy Reserve fitness requirements?

Physical fitness standards vary by gender and age. The Navy’s Physical Readiness Test consists of various cardio exercises, push-ups and planks.

An initial physical exam is also required, which consists of testing a recruit’s hearing and vision, vitals, a blood panel and drug test. It’s expected that all Reserve Sailors are in good physical health and a healthy weight.

What does Navy Reserve basic training look like?

Navy Reserve Boot Camp is a program that lasts approximately eight weeks, at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, IL. All Reserve Sailors are required to attend at the beginning of their commitment.

Under federal law, civilian employers are required to give Reserve Sailors necessary time off to meet their commitment. Employers may not deny employment, reemployment, retention or promotion as a result of your Navy Reserve membership. They must also protect your job in the case of deployment.

What are the Navy Reserve annual training requirements?

After completing boot camp, your commitment will consist of training one weekend a month, plus two weeks a year. During the standard two-week annual training period, you also have the chance to travel to destinations in the U.S. or around the world, taking part in scheduled training exercises or humanitarian outreach efforts. Navy Reserve Sailors who are serving full-time or on deployment could be serving virtually anywhere in the world, alongside Active Duty forces, wherever the Navy is.

Who can join the Navy Reserve?

Navy Reserve Sailors include people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ethnicities. They have varying levels of education and work as professionals across all industries. Navy Reserve Sailors must be between the ages of 18 and 42, though exceptions can be made for those with prior service. However, joining the Navy Reserve doesn’t require any prior military experience—we can teach you all you need to know.

Civilians. No prior service necessary.

Not everyone with an interest in joining the Navy is able to serve full-time, due to a demanding job in the civilian world or a family that needs them at home. Joining the Navy Reserve is the best way to experience the best of both worlds.

There are two programs that allow civilians without prior military experience to join the Navy Reserve, especially if they have specialized skills. The Accelerated Initial Accession Program (AIA) allows civilians to enlist as a Navy Reserve airman, fireman or seaman with apprenticeship training. Advanced Pay Grade (APG) is reserved for civilians with high-demand skills that have been employed for at least 12 months in a civilian field comparable to the ratings they are applying for in the Reserve. To join the Navy Reserve through this program, a three-year enlistment is required.

Active Duty. Transitioning to Reserve is easy.

The transition from Active Duty to Reserve Navy is a smooth one. Many Sailors or Officers choose to join the Navy Reserve once their military service ends. This allows them to spend more time with their families and pursue other opportunities in the civilian sector, while maintaining the camaraderie and pride they experienced in the service.

If you join the Navy Reserve within six months of release from Active Duty, you’ll have two-year involuntary mobilization deferment, and one-year involuntary mobilization deferment if you join the Reserve between seven and 12 months after release.

Prior Servicemembers. Reconnect and grow.

It’s common that after a career in the military, prior servicemembers miss many aspects of Navy life that can’t be replicated in civilian life. Whether you are a few months removed from the Navy or a few years, it’s not too late to resume your mission in the Navy Reserve, without giving up the life you’ve built at home.

If the Navy Reserve feels like the next step in your career, see if you qualify.