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Navy Non-Prior Service Applicant Maximum Age is Now 39

Navy Increases Maximum Age for Enlistment

Written by
Published: January 19, 2018
Updated: January 20, 2018

Effective immediately, the maximum age for active duty non-prior service United States Navy applicants has been increased from 34 to 39 years of age. The applicant must be able to ship to boot-camp before their 40th birthday. The minimum age of 17 with consent remains the same.

All separate and specific age requirement for individual Navy ratings and programs remain the same (Nuclear Power, Navy Diver, Aircrew, etc.).

There is no change to the maximum age for non-prior service applicants entering the Navy Reserve. For the Navy Reserve, and applicant must be at least 18 and no more than 39 years of age.

Additionally, the age requirements for prior service applicants remains the same.

Article published: January 19, 2018.



59 Responses to “Navy Increases Maximum Age for Enlistment”


  1. Ritta says:

    Any update on Navy Mavni ?

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ritta,

    I have no new news concerning the Navy’s MAVNI program.

  3. Lew A says:

    Re: Navy Increases Maximum Age for Enlistment

    Which Officer Designations allow persons with non-prior service to join past age 50…..if any?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Lew A.,

    The Navy Chaplain and Medical Corps will.

  5. IC2 says:

    Where did you get your information? Can you link or show the official Navy URL or source? I know this is not an official Navy website due to the many violations found on here against of the DoD Regulations and SECNAVINST policies on publicly websites so I am curious where you got your information. I have not seen an ALNAV or NAVADMIN on this. Can you show your source? Thank you.

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:

    IC2,

    I am copy and pasting my Facebook response:

    CNP approved it, and the CNRC Operations Notice will be sent to the field on Monday. The MILPERSMAN is being updated accordingly.

    And, what does this mean, “due to the many violations found on there against the DoD Regulations and SECNAVINST policies”? My site does not violate any DoD regulations or SECNAV policies. The site is not an official voice for the Navy because it is not owned by the Navy.

  7. Shakya says:

    Hi took the asvab so I had to wait 6 months I waited my 6 months then I took the asvab but I didn’t take it at a meps station I took it at MET SITE on the computer and someone from meps came and gave us the test I scored a 55 so a month later my recruiter tell me that the person over meps want me to take it again but my recruiter have my score updated in the system…..
    can someone tell me why I got to take the test again ?

  8. Richard says:

    Is there any options for a 40 year old joining the navy or even a volunteer option?

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Richard,

    Only if the 40 year old has prior military service and can complete a twenty year career before the age of 60 could he/she meet the age requirement. Age waivers for those not meeting the current standard will not be considered. I wish I had better news.

    I am not aware of any volunteer options besides what your local Navy League may provide.

  10. Lew says:

    Richard,

    Some states like California and NY have a naval militia which is part of their state’s military department. It’s volunteer but goes into a paid state when activated by the governor during a state emergency.

    Worth looking to see if your state has one.

  11. Lew says:

    Seeing how the Medical Corps will consider age waivers, will the Medical Service Corps also consider them?

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Lew,

    The Navy Medical Service Corps will allow age waivers on a case by case basis.

  13. Stephan says:

    Is there any other info on this…36.. and want to join?

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Stephan,

    What more information do you need? At 36 years of age, you are eligible to join as long as you are otherwise fully qualified. The information in the article is accurate.

  15. Ramona says:

    eligible to join at age 48, prior service 3.5 years active, medical service corps or medical corps (podiatry)??

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ramona,

    “Active and Reserve Medical Service Corps applicants must be commissioned before their 42nd birthday. The Commander, Navy Recruiting Command has the age waiver authority for applicants between ages 42 and 57 on a limited, case-by-case basis.”

  17. Amanda says:

    Is there any news on age waivers for 5 years prior service (age now 32) wanting to become a Naval aviator or an age change for pilots and navs coming down the pipeline?

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Amanda,

    I have not heard of any changes in the works for the individual programs or designators.

  19. Heidi says:

    What I need to know since I’m 38 I’m looking for culinary arts and don’t drive ..

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Heidi,

    As long as you are otherwise qualified, (meet the ASVAB minimum score and line scores for CS, physical, and conduct requirements for general enlistment, etc.) and the Culinary Specialist (CS) rating is available, you should not have much problem. I recommend that you contact your local Navy recruiter.

  21. Kay says:

    Where can I learn more about this? I can’t seem to find anything else on the internet about this increase in age limit. My husband is very interested in this information since he is 38. Thanks!

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Kay,

    The information was released via a CNRC operation’s notice. I can’t help what you find on other sites. The maximum age for a person enlisting in the Navy is 39 (must be in boot-camp before the 40th birthday). If his Navy recruiter is turning him away due to his age (age only), please email me and we can get that fixed.

  23. Frank says:

    I’m 39 with a BS in Technical Management with 10 yrs 9 mos of prior service as an AE. If I were to try to get back in, what’s the likelihood of being commissioned? Can you recommend an Officer program or field I should pursue, or should I just get re-enlisted and try to go that route?

  24. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Frank,

    I don’t know what may be available in real time. What I recommend, of course, if contacting an officer recruiter to go over quals and preferences. To the maximum age, some officer programs like Intel have a max age of 42. You can research age restrictions using the officer programs link — each linked page is a reflection of the actual program authorization for the designator.

  25. Carolyn says:

    NCCM(Ret),

    Your reply to Frank mentions that Intel has a max age of 42 for officers. The linked page also indicates the same age for Active Duty Intel (except Surface Warfare). Is this for non-prior or prior service candidates? If the former, does this mean the Intel program breaks from the usual age limit of 39?

    On another age-related topic, I recently spoke with a Navy recruiter about Reserve options for people who are 40. After learning that I have 8 years of overseas experience as a marketing comms specialist, he became noticeably more interested and said I may be eligible to apply for Reserve Officer in Public Affairs. Are such age exceptions actually possible, and why would one be made in my case?

  26. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Carolyn,

    Public Affairs officers must be commissioned prior to their 42 birthday.

    The maximum age of 39 is for enlisted ratings (unless they have a specified age that is younger); for officer programs, their age requirements are listed in a program authorization; the officer pages on my site are generated using the authorization for the officer designator the page refers to.

  27. Carolyn says:

    NCCM(Ret),

    Thank you for the clarification — that’s very helpful. I’d read so many sites with ambiguous information about age limits for various categories that I had become thoroughly confused.

  28. Jun says:

    NCCM,
    I served 5years, left, got my BS in Nursing. I am now 39 and thinking of joining the reserve as a nurse. I have been working as a nurse now for 6years. I was wondering what my rank would be. Thanks

  29. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Jun,

    I have no idea. I would have to assume as an Ensign.

  30. Ivan says:

    What are the requirements to be an officer?
    Do they increase the age to apply to be an officer?

  31. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ivan,

    Each of the various officer designators has their own age requirements.

  32. Ivan says:

    Thank you for your promt answer and hello again,

    this is my specific case.
    I’m 38, I’m ready to start the process with my recruiter for the enlisted program. I’m a permanent resident but I apllied for the naturalization recently, around 9-11 months it would take the process to be a citizen. Nevertheless, I’ve been told about the possibility to be an officer by my qualifications.
    I hold A Bachelor of Fine Arts, and also a Master of Education accreditated in USA. The lady on the phone told me that it would be possible to be an officer in the supply career. Also told me and the limit age it was 42.

    Is it correct?
    Or is better to start as an enlisted and after try to move to the officer inside of the Navy.

    I would appreciate all your tips and suggestions.
    Really I want to be part of the Navy, but also I want to make the best desition.

    Thanks.

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ivan,

    Being you are within two years of your 40th birthday, you would more than likely not be permitted to enlist because of the time it takes to adjudicate your background investigation — a requirement for all Green Card holders.

    Once you receive your Naturalization papers, explore your options. Supply Corps maximum age according to the last program authorization I read is not that generous.

    [I assume you are following the links I provided which provides more specifics to your questions]

  34. Carolyn says:

    NCCM(Ret), Ivan,

    I hope I may respectfully add some comments to your thread, as I’m around 40 myself and currently going through the Officer Candidate School (OCS) application process.

    Ivan, according to my recruiter, the only Navy Officer programs open to people who are 40 (or close to it), and who are not medical professionals, lawyers or clergy, are Public Affairs Officer (PAO), Intelligence (INT) and Cryptologic Warfare Officer (CWO). All of these designators have a max age limit of 42. While all are reported to be extremely competitive, PAO is perhaps the most restricted because it only has 2-3 openings/year, and applicants must have substantial practical and managerial experience in the public affairs/marketing communications field.

    One critical point to keep in mind is that you must complete OCS and be commissioned — not just accepted — by the age limit. My recruiter stressed this to me several times. I’ve heard of people who attended OCS after being accepted, but were ultimately denied commission because they turned a year older and exceeded the age limit while there.

  35. Evan says:

    I am in school working in a Master’s of Social Work. Does the Navy either Full-time or Reserve consider age waivers for this job?

    My plan is to go on to complete a PhD in Clinical Psychology, but I am not sure if I can afford it. If accepted into the Navy as a Social Worker, can one continue school and complete a PhD?

  36. Rut [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hi I have 41 years and have a college certificate at Cardiovascular technician. I need to know why is so hard people with my age get in the military services. Most of us have a clear mind and can pass the military training as well. Why Presidents and senator also governor can serve this nation no matter the age and for us to want serve this nation as a military is so difficult. They can increase the retirement plan till 63 years old and I think is a good age for retirement. Please is somebody can help people like me to get in at the military service I will appreciate for the rest of my life. Thanks with all my heart

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Rut,

    The reason the age limits exist is for two basic reasons; first, the Congressionally mandated retirement age from the military is 62. If you cannot complete 20 years of service by that time, the Navy will not entertain any waivers unless in a very rare case you are considered an expert in a field they need and they cannot find anyone else to fill the opening. Second, physicality and viable time — the older you get, the more challenging certain physical requirements become, and the later in life you get, the more people need to seek medical care — getting older sucks, as I am sure you are just starting to realize…just wait till you hit 50, holy crap.

    Whereas you may not be eligible for enlisting, you may still be able to serve in a non-uniformed capacity. I suggest researching what jobs may be available as a federal employee via USAJOBS.GOV

  38. Mich says:

    I am 39, went to meps in August, I passed everything I’ll turn 40 in January. They knew about my age but did not make a request to expedite my security clearance since I’m a great card holder. It takes up to 1 year to complete the background check. My congressman contacted them and they said they are aware of situation but there is nothing they can do and one I reach 40 I will be removed from the program. That’s just evil but it’s what it is.

  39. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Mich,

    I am truly sorry to hear there has been no resolution. I really wish there was more I could do.

  40. Charles says:

    I am currently 37 years old, federal employee undergraduate degree in Biology, Graduate Degree In Forensic Science with six years prior service with the US Coast Guard Reserve Highly interested in active duty and to see if I meet age requirements, if they also credit my six years in, ad what Officer jobs I could get into. My background is investigation and analytics. Thank you

  41. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Charles,

    Each of the Officer designators has their own program authorization that defines their age requirement — some are less than 39 while others are greater. You would need to sit down with a recruiter to go over what may be your best fit.

  42. Sammy says:

    Hello, i’m 34 years old inserted in joining the navy active duty sometime in may.. My question is, will I have time ? long will the age limit to join active until the age of 39 be going on ? Thank u in advance

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Sammy,

    I have heard of no plans to reduce the age back to 34 (before 35th birthday). I think the 39 max is here to stay — would not be surprised if in the next 20 years they raise it to 41 (to be able to complete 20 years before age 62).

  44. Carol says:

    I’m 54 with no military background, is the ANYTHING I can do in the military?

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Carol,

    I wish there were, but you have exceeded the maximum age for serving in uniform. I recommend that you search the USAJOBS site for potential openings that would allow you to work as a civilian with the military.

  46. Dennis says:

    So is it possible to become commissioned in the Naval Reserves and then try to transfer into active duty? Wondering if there is an end around for the age thing! Im 44 with 4 years active enlisted Navy and 2.5 years Army Reserves.
    I heard full time reservist also. Is that even an option?
    Thanks,

  47. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Dennis,

    I am not familiar with the inner workings of the Reserve as they relate to officer recalls and such. I highly recommend you contact an officer recruiter. You are getting long in the tooth, and I have no idea what designator you may be eligible for. Recently, they have been making updates to the program authorizations (PA), and age appears to be one area they have been tweaking — making it more rigid by setting maximum age without discussing waiver opportunities.

  48. Shimbel says:

    What the cut off age for the navy now ? I’m 36 and I want to join as active duty.

  49. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Shimbel,

    The maximum age for non-prior service applicants to join the Navy is 39. You must leave for boot-camp before your 40th birthday.

  50. Kevin says:

    This site states the max age for EOD officer is 42 at time of commissioning, however, milpersman 1210-230 states candidates should be 30 and under. Which is correct? Is 1210-230 out of date?

    Thank you.

  51. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Kevin,

    The latest Navy EOD Program Authorization 100E, dated April 2019, states, “Applicants must be at least 19 years old and must not have passed their 42nd birthday at time of commissioning.”

    A large number of designators raised their age limits during 2019 — even pilot’s ages increased by a few years.

  52. Christine says:

    Hello! I’m currently 41 right now and has served as enlisted for 11 years and got out as PO1 back in 2009. Is it still possible for me to join the Navy Reserve? Also, is it still possible to retain my rank? I worked in supply. I’ll appreciate any info anyone can provide.

  53. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Christine,

    It is possible, but being out greater than 10 years it is likely you will lose two pay grades if you are able to stay in the same rating. Contact your local Navy Reserve Recruiter.

  54. Christine says:

    Thank you for your reply NCCM(Ret)! Have a Prosperous New Year!

  55. Julian says:

    I’m 38. Want to join the navy, meet most requirements but I had a domestic violence arrest where charges were dropped. Would that be a problem? thanks

  56. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Julian,

    I wish I could give you a straight answer yes or no, but all DV related offenses must have the police and court records reviewed and a determination made as to whether you would be eligible to process.

  57. Sydney says:

    do you lose your rank if you’re coming from a different branch?
    Also would i have to do boot camp again

  58. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Sydney,

    The rank you enter at will be determined by the Enlisted Community Manager for the rating you qualify. Prior service are not required to attend Navy boot-camp but are required to complete a Naval Orientation Course at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes in Great Lakes, Illinois.

  59. Kevin says:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you for all the info you put on the website.

    Could you advise if reserve Special Warfare Officer is open only to O26A & O23A who are selected reserve (SELRES) or IRR?

    I.e. a rate such as BM or GM in the reserves (SELRES or IRR) would be ineligible to apply for reserve Special Warfare Officer?

    Thank you

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