Many Americans  are eager to take a chance to serve their country in uniform and still keep their civilian job and a life at home. Joining the National Guard is an appealing choice for them because they can become citizen-soldiers. Read on to learn more about the compulsory requirements for the U.S. National Guard Enlistment.

Amongst six military branches, the Army and Airforce have guard components – The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. The first Army Guard, activated in 1963, were from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and with origins in the original colonial militia regiments. Meanwhile, after World War II, which led to a reorganization of U.S. military forces, the U.S Air National Guard was formed in 1947. Enlisting either the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard is one of the sacred missions for all American citizens.

It is undoubted that there are many benefits of joining the United States National Guard which are mentioned in our previous blog. If you are planning on serving in the U.S. Guards, here are some mandatory requirements for the National Guard Enlistment you must take into account. Let’s check it out!


1. Joining the Army National Guard


Candidates with prior military experience must meet different military entrance requirements than those who have never served in the military. It should be noted that there are some additional requirements or these standard requirements listed below might alter as a result of updates or modifications to service regulations or mission needs.

Army National Guard
Become an U.S.  Army National Guard

Depending on the local Guard unit’s staffing needs, mission requirements and other variables, prior service members will take guard opportunities. It is highly recommended that you should make an appointment with a recruiter to talk about being a prior-service Guard applicant regarding the best career choices based on your geographic preference for service. 


1.1. Joining the Army National Guard as a New Recruit


In addition to the basic requirement such as physical and mental toughness, you must meet the following mandatory requirements following so as to join the National Guard without prior service: 

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 35
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least a junior in high school, or have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
  • Achieve a minimum score on the ASVAB test
  • Meet medical, physical and moral requirements

Take note: For those who are still in high school and want to join the Army National Guard, they must be at least 17 years old, be a junior in high school and possess parental consent. Furthermore, they are required to complete their high school education while taking up their trainer. First of all, their basic combat training over the summer will be done between their junior and senior years. After that they will take one-weekend training a month while they accomplish their final year of high school and then attend advanced individual training in the summer. 


1.2. Joining the Army National Guard as a Prior Service Applicant


Here are the requirements you need to meet if you aspire to serve in the Army National Guard as a former service member: 

  • Be able to complete 20 years of qualifying service before you turn 60.
  • Meet education standards for the MOS you would like
  • Have your current discharge order (such as DD 214 or NGB22), as well as an approved DD Form 368, Request for Conditional Release.
  • Meet physical and medical standards.

Take note: Those who have served in the military in the past but have taken a break in military service may be required to attend basic combat training. Furthermore, they will likely not need to retake the ASVAB. In case you are a former service member, talk about the rank you will have when entering Guard Service. 

>>> See Also: Essential U.S. Air Force Height and Weight Requirements


1.3. Joining the Army National Guard as a Currently Serving Soldier


Enlisted Army soldiers and officers who wish to join the National Guard directly from active duty and have no adverse administrative actions on their records can speak with a transition officer about how to transition from active service. 


2. Joining the Air National Guard


Like the Army National Guard, the requirements for joining the Air National Guard will also depend on whether you are a prior service member or not. Again, bear in mind that there will be additional qualification or the following standards listed below might alter because of updates or adjustments to service regulations or mission requirements.

Air National Guard
Joining the U.S. Air National Guard


2.1. Joining the Air National Guard as a New Recruit


If you want to join the Air National Guard as a new recruiter, you must meet all the mandatory requirements as follows: 

  • Aged 17-39
  • Be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalency
  • Pass a medical screening test
  • Pass the ASVAB
  • Have a secondary school diploma or equivalency or be a senior in high school

Take note: To pass your ASVAB examination, we highly recommend you take as many ASVAB practice tests as possible at our homepage. 


2.2. Joining the Air National Guard as Prior-Service Military


If you have prior military experience and you wish wish to join the Air National Guard, here are the primary requirement you need to meet: 

  • Have an honorable discharge from active-duty service. 

Take note: You might be able to upgrade your general discharge by completing DD Form 293, Application for the Review of Discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States.

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be able to complete 20 years of service before you turn 60.
  • Pass a medical screening test and retake the ASVAB 

Don’t forget to speak with an Air National Guard about what rank you will receive when entering into Air National Guard service.


2.3. Joining the Air National Guard from Active Duty


Serving members of the Air Force under two programs might be accepted to join the Air National Guard. 

  • Palace Front is right for those who wish to transition directly out of active duty when their commitment ends and into a Guard unit. 
  • Palace Chase is suitable for those who expect to transition into the Guard unit but they have not fulfilled their active-duty service commitment to the Air Force yet. Furthermore, once they have completed half their commitment, they can apply to the program


3. Time Commitments 


3.1. The Army National Guard


The Army National Guardsmen will conventionally commit to training one weekend per month, along with a two-week training period per year. It should be noted that members report on Saturday and Sunday only for most training weekends, however,  occasionally  they may be required to report for Friday-night duty.

Besides, bear in mind that both the president of the United States and the state’s governor may activate the National Guard.


3.2. The Air National Guard


The Air National Guardsmen commit to work a minimum of weekends each month plus two weeks each year after they complete basic and technical training. 

Furthermore, remember that the U.S. president or the governor of the state might activate Guard units for support in times of need.


4. Duration of Commitment


4.1. The Army National Guard


Typically, your enlistment period in the Army National Guard will be 8 years. Nevertheless, you can be allowed to serve at least 3 or 6 years and spend the remainder in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). It should be noted that IRR Soldiers don’t train with a unit, but might still be called up in the event of an emergency. It is highly recommended that you should talk to our local recruiter so as to understand how this works, discuss my options with me, and help you make the best choice for your needs. Furthermore, Prior service members might have different commitment requirements depending on current policy and other factors.


4.2. The Air National Guard


When joining the Air National Guard, with no prior service, you are committing to serve a total of 6 years. Former service members should ask Guard recruiters regarding current enlistment policies for prior service military because there are some changes in duration of commitment based on mission requirements and other variables.


4.3. Taking the ASVAB for National Guard


The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is administered to potential recruits to help determine which military jobs they’re best suited for. The test involves General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto and Shop Information, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension, in addition to Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects. The four main areas form a recruit’s Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT) score, which determines if they can enlist and which jobs they qualify for.

Read More>>>> The Best ASVAB Prep Books

It should come as no surprise, then, that if you want access to all these National Guard benefits, a good score on the ASVAB test is crucial. Not only this, but an accurate score can also be a great tool for more general career planning both within and beyond the National Guard.

If you’re looking to set yourself up for a good life and career with the National Guard, we can help. We provide personalized lesson plans alongside practice tests, flashcards, and comprehensive study guides.