Joining the Navy Reserve

Chief of Navy Reserve
Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink is welcomed aboard the Naval Reserve Force, Active (NRFA) fast frigate USS McClusky (FFG 41) by Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mark Lakamp aboard Naval Station San Diego, Sept. 7, 2011. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Kuzlik/U.S. Navy)

The Navy Reserve is a force of highly trained men and women available to meet the expanded needs of the regular Navy. Reservists serve as officers or enlisted personnel, depending on their qualifications and interests.

For more on general Reserve benefits and pay, the Benefits section.

Navy Reserve Guidelines

If you are interested in joining the Navy Reserve, you must:

-- Be between the ages of 18 and 35 without prior service. Prior service age limits differ.

-- Have a high school diploma although, in some instances, GED certificates can be accepted.

-- Pass a physical.

-- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which will determine career paths available for consideration. To learn how to get a good score on the ASVAB, go to the ASVAB section. For more on joining the Reserve, see the Joining the Reserve page.

Education Benefits and Skills Training

G.I. Bill -- Depending on your eligibility, the GI Bill allows you to attend school full time while serving in the Reserve and get full tuition and stipends. That's in addition to your Reserve paycheck and any other Reserve educational benefits you may be eligible to receive. For more on the GI Bill for Reservists, go to the GI Bill resource section.

Voluntary education programs -- As a member of the Navy Reserve, you can pursue college and university courses through the Navy College Program. This program helps Navy Reserve service members earn college credit by taking credit by exams, assisting with the transferring credits from school to school, getting college credits for military training and experience and more. Learn more about Navy Voluntary Education Programs.

Specialized Enlistment Programs

If you have no prior military service, you can enter the Navy Reserve through two special enlisted programs. These programs are for high demand specialized skills and/or ratings.

Accelerated Initial Accession Program (AIA) -- This option lets you jump-start your career. Through the Navy Reserve Accelerated Initial Accession program, you can enlist in the Navy Reserve as a fireman, seaman or airman. This enlistment option enables you to qualify for one of several Navy ratings (skill specialties or jobs) through on-the-job apprenticeship training.

Advanced Pay Grade (APG) -- High-demand skills could mean a higher pay grade. If you are employed in a civilian occupation that corresponds with an undermanned Navy Reserve rating, you can enter the Navy Reserve at an advanced pay grade (higher pay rate than normally assigned to a specific job). To enter through this program, you must have a qualifying ASVAB score and be physically qualified. A three-year enlistment is required.

To qualify, you must be employed currently or have been employed within the past 12 months in civilian fields comparable to the ratings for which you are applying. You should not have prior service, active or inactive, within two previous years in ratings convertible to the ratings for which you are applying. You must show sufficient documentation of professional and supervisory experience on a résumé, along with employer and personal recommendations.

After enlisting, you will be assigned the permanent pay grade of E-3. Go to Pay Charts to learn more about pay.

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