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Tier One Military Education Status

DoD Tier I

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Published: May 9, 2011
Updated: February 12, 2019

06MAY2014 UPDATE There is NO LONGER a requirement to score 50 or higher on the AFQT in order to be considered as Tier I for ANY of the below credentials.

High School Diploma Graduate

A diploma issued to you after you completed a 12-year “traditional” graded (credit based) day program of classroom instruction; the diploma must be issued from the high school where you completed the requirements for graduation.

Minimum Requirements;

  • Classroom Instruction. You must have successfully completed four academic years of classroom instruction. An academic year is considered a minimum of 120 hours of classroom instruction per academic course to earn a full credit. To earn a half-credit, you must have completed a minimum of 60 hours of classroom instruction.
  • Credit Based. You must meet the minimum required credit requirements in all subjects for high school graduation as determined by the local school system. At a minimum, at least 75 percent of the credits earned towards high school graduation requirements, per academic year, must have been derived from a classroom based (student-teacher environment), instructor-led learning experience. An exception would be allowed in cases where 25% of credit earned through non-traditional instruction occurred in a single year excluding the senior year.
  • Graduation Credential. The graduation credential must have been issued by the high school in which you were enrolled and attending at the time you completed the graduation requirements.

Note: If you failed the school’s exit exam, you must have a letter from an authorized school official verifying that you met all the high school graduation requirements but failed the exit exam, and that is the reason you did not receive the high school diploma.

Adult/Alternative Diploma Graduate

New, as of Change Three – 27Jun12: A diploma issued to a graduate of a public or private non-traditional school using alternative methods of instruction to complete graduation credit requirements based on state law (i.e., all alternative, accelerated, or high school completion programs to include the GED (see note 1 for GED clarification).
A secondary school diploma awarded on the basis of attending and completing an alternative, continuation, adult or school/program. A diploma issued from a school/program whose course content and curriculum are similar to, but whose method of instruction is different from the traditional high school program. The diploma you received must have been issued on the basis of completing a classroom structured, (teacher-student environment) teacher-directed, credit-based program.

Minimum Requirements;

  • Must attain an AFQT score of 50 or higher. Classroom Instruction. You must have successfully completed four academic years of classroom instruction. An academic year is considered a minimum of 96 hours of classroom instruction per academic course to earn a full credit. To earn a half-credit, you must have completed a minimum of 48 hours of classroom instruction.
  • Credit Based. You must meet the minimum required credit requirements in all subjects for high school graduation as determined by either the local school system or state education board. At a minimum, you must have earned at least 1 credit towards high school graduation requirements, in each of the four academic years, from a classroom based (student-teacher environment), instructor led learning experience consisting of a minimum of 96 hours of instruction.
  • Graduation Credential. The graduation credential must have been issued by the high school in which you were enrolled and attending at the time he/she completed his/her graduation requirements.

Note 1: A traditional GED even with a 50 or greater ASVAB score is still considered a Tier II credential UNLESS the GED was received as a result of an alternative, accelerated school (not all states have this option) in which case the GED may be considered as a Tier I credential.

Completed One Semester of College

A non-high school diploma graduate who completed 15 semester hours/22 quarter hours of college level credit or 675 clock hours from an accredited traditional or on-line post-secondary institution. If you are a non-high school diploma graduate who attended and completed 15 semester hours of college credit or 22 quarter hours of college credit or 675 clock hours of classroom instruction from an accredited post-secondary institution, you can be classified as Tier I. Credit earned through testing, adult education, assessment, military training or high school equivalency preparation is not applicable.


Credits earned must be from an accredited institution listed in the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website Credits earned must be from an accredited institution listed in the current or applicable American Council on Education (ACE) Accredited Institutions of Post-secondary Education (AIPE) Directory. Any credits earned from schools that are candidates for accreditation shall not be used towards this requirement. Signed and dated official transcripts from the issuing institution are required. If the transcript does not include credits from all other schools attended, then official transcripts from the other schools are required.

  • College level credits (100 series and above courses) earned through on-line Internet courses while enrolled and attending classroom instruction from the same AIPE institution are acceptable.
  • Combining semester credits with quarter credits, or combining clock-hour credits with either semester or quarter credits, are allowed. Use the following formula:
    • 45 clock-hours = 1 semester credit (1 trimester credit equals 1 semester credit).
    • 1.5 quarter credits = 1 semester credit.
  • Clock-hours from two or more accredited post-secondary vocational/technical schools may be combined for a total of 675 clock-hour credits.

Job Corps Programs

A Job Corps graduate with a General Education Diploma (GED) or an alternative high school credential high school diploma and a Job Corps certificate of completion from a vocational/technical program consisting of at least 675 clock-hour credits of vocational/technical education. The official document used by the Job Corps to report skill/trade training clock-hour credits is the Training Achievement Record (TAR).


Only On/Off-site Work Based Learning (WBL) clock-hour training credits documented on the TAR are acceptable towards the 675 clock-hour credit requirements. Employ-ability/Career/Social Skills Training, Orientation, GED Preparation, or non-skill/trade training clock-hours do not count towards the required 675 clock hours of skill/trade training. The Job Corps Certification Form must be included when verifying the educational standing of Job Corps applicants.

Note: If you completed 675 or more clock-hour credits but dropped out of the vocational/technical program before earning a certificate of completion, or failed to earn a GED, you are ineligible for Tier I status.

Home School Diploma with AFQT Score of 50 or Higher

A diploma issued to a graduate of a home school program in accordance with State requirements, administered by a parent, teacher/school district, or umbrella association. A home school diploma from the parent, guardian or home school association with certification and transcripts issued in compliance with applicable state laws. The curriculum must involve parental instruction and supervision and closely pattern the normal credit hours per subject used in the traditional high school. At a minimum the last academic year (9 months) must be completed in a home school environment. For applicable laws governing home schools, refer to

Note: DoD authorizes home school graduates with AFQT scores of 50 or higher to be enlisted with Tier I status. Applicants with AFQT scores below 50 are considered Tier II.


If you received a Homeschool Diploma, you must provide the diploma or certificate, and if available, the transcripts indicating that you completed four years of high school curriculum.

Home school transcripts must contain the following information:

  • Your name
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number (It is acceptable to have only the last four digits)
  • Date of home school enrollment
  • Date of graduation
  • Courses transferred from other educational institutions (if applicable)
  • Courses attempted/completed with start and completion dates of each course during each home school grade
  • Signature of your parent/guardian, date, and home telephone number

A letter from your parent/guardian describing the education process will suffice if it includes the same information as described in the above. You must also complete an Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM).

Virtual/Distance School Diploma

A diploma awarded upon completion of an accredited Home Study, Distance Learning, Independent Study, Self-Study, Correspondence School, Cyber School or Virtual Learning Program.


  1. A secondary school diploma or certificate issued by an accredited program and AFQT score ≥ 50 is required to qualify for Tier 1 status.
  2. The Distance Education and Training Council ( is the authoritative source for accreditation of distance education.

Prior Military Service

If you are a prior service veteran who served a complete enlistment of four years or more in any Component of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are eligible to (re)enlist as high school diploma graduate.


DD Form 214 or other appropriate military service verification documentation.

133 Responses to “DoD Tier I”

  1. sean says:

    Hi my name sean im 26 i have no ged but i want to join the navy militay or air forces i know im kinda late but willing to work hard to get into a better sitiuation in life can anybody tell me how can i start this process thanks

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You are not late — the Navy’s maximum age for active duty is 34, and it is even older for the Air Force; however, you do need to gain a minimum of a Tier II education because Tier III (no credential or minimum college credit) cannot process (for the Navy — you’d need to ask the Army if their policy is different). Now, even with a Tier II education (a GED or similar certificate) has very limited seats and your ASVAB score must be above average. I highly recommend that you work toward earning something listed in this article — most go for the 15 college credits. Once you obtain your GED, you can apply for enrolment in college, and there are federal grants available (check with the college’s admission office) that can definitely help you pay for it and the books required. It will be hard work, but in the end, it will be more than worth it.

    I truly wish you all the luck in the world. May you and yours enjoy a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

  3. Anthony says:

    Hello! I appreciate all of you guys answering questions! I do have some of my own however. I’m 18 years old and when I was a senior in high school I was behind just a few credits to graduate and there was no possible way to earn them in time for graduation. My only option was to transfer to Duke Ellington Continuation School, which is actually apart of the traditional school I attended and is run by the same staff and learn the exact same material. Anyways I graduated in about a month and got my HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. Not a GED! Now my goal is to join the Marine Corps but I’m not sure if this will prevent me from joining. I’ve done everything this article says that would make me a tier 1. I have all my credits, my high school diploma, I was in a student to teacher enviorment and I passed my high school exit exam. Can someone please provide me with some insight? Thank you so much!!

  4. Anthony says:

    I posted this here because the Marines is a department of the Navy and I’m assuming the requirements must be the same, if not similar.

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All of your transcripts and your diploma must be submitted to the district’s educational specialist via the recruiter so he/she can make that very determination. Based on what you describe, you should be Tier I, but I have no way of knowing for sure because not all institutions are the same.

  6. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the information! Is there anyway I can contact the districts educational specialist my self?

  7. mike says:

    Can I currently get in the navy reserve with just a GED, or do I have to have the college credits also to be in the reserve?

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Openings are limited and your recruiter would know — I would not know about specific areas because one district may have been given an opening and the one right next to it may not have been given one.

  9. Chris says:

    Does non-credit clock hours still count? A post secondary school I am close to offers classes with clock hours, but they are non-credit. Can those still count towards my overall clock hours? I have 625 right now through JC.

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have no way of know whether your institution meets the minimum criteria for Tier I; I recommend that you contact your local recruiter as I am sure the recruiter can tell you specifically — if not, he can ask his EDSPEC. Good luck!

  11. Darryl says:

    I have an Adult Ed High School Diploma but I was rejected and viewed as a Tier II candidate because the navy view it as a GED which it is not. It is an actual High School Diploma as it states directly on it and even signed by the school district board members. No recruiter has been able to give me any answer?

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is the responsibility of the local Navy Recruiting District’s Educational Services Specialist (EDSPEC) to evaluate each and every non-traditional diploma and the methods used to obtain the diploma. If the EDSPEC has evaluated the school combined with your path to gain the diploma and found it to equal a GED, then without additional documentation to change that status, there is no recourse. Your recruiter can call the EDSPEC and ask him/her why your diploma was graded as it was.

  13. Isaiah says:

    Hi I was home schooled and received a non accredited Diploma given to me by my parents, but I have also attended two semesters of college getting more than the 15 credits. Am I considered tier one?

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as the college credits were not credits for remedial classes, then you should be okay. Gather up all of your home school records and college transcripts and bring them to your recruiter.

  15. Jed says:

    Hi my name is Jed. And i am 32. I wanna join as HM please help me to figure it out if i am qualified and what else are the requirements or qualifications before i can join. I took my asvab test and my AFQT is 55. And my Scores: GS 44, AR 52, WK 51, PC 49, MK 55, EI 52, AS 35, MC 46, AO 49, VE 50, CS 71… please lmi if i can join base in my scores…

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The ASVAB score requirement for HM is VE+MK+GS=156. Your scores are, VE=50, MK=55, GS=44 which gives you a line score total of 149. You are 7 points short of the minimum for HM — with these scores, you are not eligible for it.

  17. Will says:

    Can the 15 college credits be obtained through a community college or do they have to be obtained from a 4 year university?

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, the required credits can be earned at a community college.

  19. Yulian says:

    Hello, i want to join the navy, but there is a problem i dont have a g.e.d or high school diploma, but i do have 36 credited college credits real college credits real college classes, can i still join the navy?, even if i dont have no g.e.d or high school diploma, i really want to join!.

    Also i am a single mother of two children,i read that if i am a single parent of less than two children that i am allowed to join full time as long as i have two or less children.

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, if the college credits are what is minimally required, then they count; however, you cannot join active duty as a single parent — no idea where you read that, but that information is wrong. Here are the Navy dependency rules for enlistment.

  21. Jayquan says:

    If I earned my High School diploma from a “Credit Recovery Program” at a Public High School does that count as Tier 1? It’s basically a City High School, but I went through a program to earn my diploma.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I would have no way of knowing about that specific program — the local district Educational Specialist must review it.

  23. Jayquan says:

    Who is the local district Educational Specialist? Is that “The Board of Education”? I’m just trying to figure out who the recruiters send your diploma too.

  24. Adam says:

    I received a High School diploma from a school accredited by the Middle States Association Of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) as well as a transcript,and I am in the process of enlistment in the Navy. Every where I have read, they are considered accredited by the US Military, However my recruiter has asked me to give proof that my diploma is accredited. Failing this my only option would be to get a GED. Are schools accredited by MSA-CESS not considered accredited by the Navy? Is there a way to give proof of accreditation?


  25. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is not your responsibility to prove the accreditation of your credential. What must happen is that you gather up all transcripts and diplomas/certificates and the recruiter will forward those to the Navy Recruiting District’s Educational Specialist (EDSPEC) for review. The EDSPEC will determine the Tier of your credential based on the institution’s accreditation and the Department of Defense policies.

  26. Adam says:

    Thank you for your reply.
    That clears up the situation a little.

  27. Sgt Mc says:

    Can you please site where this information was stated from a DOD source? I have been a recruiter for a while now and there is some information on here that would lead kids to believe they would be eligible even though not “all” branches have the same requirements or can work with some of them. I have ran verifications to et some kids in some of the situations stated above but it is just not possible. So if there is a DOD source that actually can mandate every branches education requirements I would like to know what that is. Thanks

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Sgt MC,

    My reference is the Navy Recruiting Manual and the approved NDAA for FY 2012. That law changed what education credentials the military must allow (Link references the laws verbiage). Now, cyber schools and other schools once considered Tier II to be Tier I — the law at the time allowed for the services to keep the 50QT ASVAB requirement, but that allowance came to an end in 2014. For the Navy, they released the first change keeping the 50QT back in June 2012 (link announces the date the Navy incorperated the change). The Education Specialist must still evaluate the school and the courses taken — also, the school must have the proper accreditation as stated in my article. What part are you finding trouble with?

  29. Becca says:

    Question about the GED and 15 credits. Must those 15 credits be traditional classroom? Or can they be online classes from an accredited 4 year or junior college? I was a little confused about that portion. Also, the TASC is valid in my state (and 9 others)alone with the GED, may I opt for this instead? Thanks.

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, non-remedial credits acquired on line that are fully accredited can be used for this purpose. To the GED program, the local Navy Education Specialist must review and make a determination (via your recruiter).

  31. Mike says:

    Good morning, when I graduated from high school I got a certificate of completion reason why is because I did not pass the exit exam but I completed with all my credits for graduacion and I have a letter from the school that it shows why I ended up with this certificate instead a diploma, someone I know told me this is still considered a tier 1 because I have all my credits for graduacion, do you think I can process in the navy with this??

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you met all other requirements for graduation except passing the exit exam, then, yes, you have a Tier I education.

  33. Gale says:

    My son was homeschooled in 9th grade, went to a tradional private school for 10th, 11th, and 3/4 of his 12th grade year. He homeschooled for the remaining 12th grade year under a small, private school. He did the required work, earned all necessary FL credits, did well on SATs, and graduated in May of 2012.

    He recently took his diploma and transcript into the recruiting office and was told it’s worthless because it was issued by a diploma mill. The school has since closed. Diploma mills, by definition, require very little work if any…he did the work – I graded and approved it and sent it to the certified teacher to verify. He was issued a transcript and a diploma.

    How can the Navy Ed specialist prove that the documents are invalid? The school has closed. Where is the list of approved/unapproved schools that the Ed specialists use?

    He wants to join the Navy and is planning to go to a local state college for that last semester – but he’s already done the work with honors English, advanced math…weighty courses. Will they turn that diploma away, too? It will appear that he dropped out of school and had to make it back up. He did the work at 17!!!

  34. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Beyond what is defined in my article, each educational specialist has a list of all schools that existed in their area. When the school was open, a visit is made by the specialist to determine whether the school meets the requirements for Tier I status. If the school is not in their immediate area of control, then they contact the local specialist that it is. Apparently, the school did not meet the minimum requirements.

    If your son now goes to college and completes a minimum of 15 semester hour credits (non-remedial courses), then that will put him in the Tier I.

  35. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    We have an inmate who claims a high school diploma. He only lists U.S. Navy. He claims to have graduated in 1980. I haven’t run across this before and do not believe the navy offers high school diplomas. I have heard of them requiring GED’s but never anyone saying the Navy graduated them. Is there someone I can talk to verify whether he actually did graduate or not.

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Navy does not issue a credential. I suspect that he utilized the Educational Service Office at his command; if he wanted to complete a high school diploma (back in the 80’s and 90’s one could join without a credential if otherwise fully qualified with a high ASVAB score), they would have help set him up with a path to accomplish that and the Navy would have paid 100 percent of the cost, but the diploma itself would have been issued by the school he attended — not the Navy.

  37. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Thank you for your response.
    I didnt think the Navy did that. Is it the ddr214 (something like that) that I need to get to request any verification of him completing anything of that nature?

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Block 15b of the DD-214 answers either yes or no if the Veteran is either a high school graduate or equivalent. It does not provide any indication as to what type of credential or who may have issued it was. The Navy does not issue a diploma for high school.

  39. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Thank you for your help. I did not think they provided that. All we need is a verification of what he did. If the Navy says he did it, it is good enough for us! :) I guess I better get him to send for that. Thanks again

  40. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    where can I get an official request form to verify his status?

  41. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Beyond the copy of his DD-214 where it is annotated, I don’t know where else it would be listed. He would know the Navy didn’t issue the credential, and I would think he would be able to tell where he got his credential from — that issuing school/organization should have a record of his achievements.

  42. Matthew [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Thank you. Thats what I figured. I just was hoping I could find someone to call or something easier than ordering a dd-214 to see if this is real. Thank you for your help and time

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No problem, and good luck.

  44. Riley says:

    Hello, i’m currently attending a online high school program by the name of James Madison High School. It is a Tier 1 school. I’m wanting to enlist into the Marine Corps after graduation. I was wondering if you could tell me any information that I need to know about enlisting, and some advice for when I visit the recruitment office. Any information would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you!!

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I recommend that you write down questions that interest you — ask about educational opportunities, advancement, deployments, healthcare, military pay and allowances, etc.

    Also know that you will be asked about your history, specifically your medical and police involvement. If you have periods that you spent time in the hospital or outpatient procedures performed, I recommend gathering up those medical records because they will need to be submitted to the MEPS for review — already having those records could help speed things along.

  46. David [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hello I am currently enrolled in college to get my 15 college credits and I already have my GED am I able to take clep exams for credits as well?

  47. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The requirement is that the accredited college you are attending grants credit; however, as I always recommend before spending money, make sure the local educational specialist (via your recruiter, of course) has reviewed and approved the school and the program/classes which you are taking — ensuring they are non-remedial and otherwise acceptable for enlistment purposes.

  48. Miguel says:

    Hello, my question is about whether a teir 2 GED holder with NO college credits will be accepted into the 75th Ranger Regiment or the National Guard Special Forces? I know it is better to get 15 college credits and im actually at a community college right now for the spring semester. But college is really expensive and and i dont have much time. (im 31 YO). I know i still have time but my body is not young anymore so i need to join while my body can still somewhat do what young bodies could do.

    I know tier 2 enlisted GED holders needs 50+ AFQT. And i know i can score more than that. But i recently watched a video on youtube about an army recruiter who is also a youtuber (Archiezle aka sgt. Masibay) about tier 2 enlistment but he mentioned that even if a GED tier 2 enlisted are limited to some MOS or other units.
    So i want to know where i stand right now. If i need to continue getting credits and wait or i go right in for an option 40 contract i dont know if both 75th and SF are taking in tier 2 enlisted recruits.

    Question number 2 this is a quick question.

    For the 15 college creeits, does it have to be 15 total un the same school? Or can it be 15 total in 2 or 3 separate colleges? Like say i got 4 in a college in california and i got 11 or 12 in texas, totalling to 15-16 credits. Will that be fine? Or does it have to be in the same school?

    Thank you for reading thanks in advance for answering sorry if its too long

  49. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have no idea what the Nation Guard may be accepting; I do know that they are usually more liberal when it comes to how many Tier II they accept — I do not believe they are held to the Tier II totals that the active duty branches must adhere.

    To your second question, as long as the credits are non-remedial classes, and they are earned through an accredited institutions, it doesn’t matter how many schools you attended as long as the aggregate equals the minimum credits required for Tier I.

  50. Miguel says:

    I see. Thank you for answering my questions. Just a follow up question about whether a Tier 2 GED holder can enter the 75th Ranger regiment?

    Is that something that a tier 2 enlisted can be assigned into or i need to be tier 1?

    Thanks again

  51. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I can tell you just about anything and everything about the eligibility requirements for the Navy’s jobs and programs, but I don’t know any of the details for the Army or the National Guard.

  52. Miguel says:

    Aahh… I see.. Sorry about that sir. Thank you for answering my other questions.

  53. John says:

    Howdy! I am a teacher at a private Christian school. Since our founding in 2000, we have never charged tuition; as a result, we fail the first test for accreditation, which is financial stability. Thus, we will never be accredited.

    This particular set of rules seems to cover every situation EXCEPT unaccredited schools. Can you clarify the status/required procedure for graduates of unaccredited schools? Thank you so much.

  54. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The local district Educational Specialist must make a site visit to the school to do an evaluation to determine if the credential earned can be considered Tier I. You should be able to contact the education specialist by calling the local district headquarters directly, or by asking your local Navy recruiter for his or her contact information.

  55. Jefferson [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I have a GED through my local Adult Ed. 1 year of high school and some home school. Then my GED. After my GED I have 40 college credits. For the Navy am I tier 1 or 2? And what do I need on the AFQT?

  56. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as you have a minimum of 15 semester hour credits (non-remedial credits) from an accredited institution, you would be considered a Tier I. You would need a minimum of a 35QT on the ASVAB (provided you are line score eligible for the ratings available on the day you go to MEPS).

  57. Becca says:


    What is the process if I finished a 2 year degree in another country? I have a USA GED, because my highschool wasn’t fully equal to the American highschool requirements, but I did finish a vocational degree in my home country as well, I think it is similar to an associate of applied science here. Is my college education from home acceptable for the 15 credits to become tier 1?

  58. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The transcripts must be reviewed by the district’s educational specialist.

    You have been asking questions to my blog since May of 2013 — based on your questions, dependents and education seem to be your hold up. The policy concerning both have not changed since you have started posting here. Why are you not in the military yet?

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