Note: This is not legal advice. The information is not interpreted by an attorney. The information here may or may not be current or applicable to your individual situation. Military service is a serious commitment and should be undertaken only after careful consideration and your own research with reliable sources. Hopefully some of the information here can point you in the right direction, but do not rely on any information on this site as accurate or up to date without researching it and confirming it yourself.
Homeschoolers entering the United States military must do so under the tier system of education credentials implemented in 1987 by the DoD. The tiers are as follows:
Tier 1 – Regular high school graduates, adult diploma holders, and non-graduates with at least 15 hours of college credit.
Tier 2 – Alternative credential holders, including those with a General Education Development (GED) certificate of high school equivalency.
Tier 3 – Those with no education credentials.
Recruits must also take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a battery of tests used by DoD to determine enlistment eligibility and qualifications for military occupations. It consists of 10 tests, four of which comprise the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT): Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension.
Prior to 2007, homeschoolers typically fell in Tier 2 unless they held at least 15 hours of college credit, in which case they were considered Tier 1. In 2007, the Department of Defense modified its enlistment policy so that homeschoolers with an AFQT score of 50 or above will be classified as Tier 1. Homeschool students who score below 50 will be classified as Tier 2. In June 2012, Pentagon released a new policy that made policy permanent. Homeschoolers will be considered as Tier 1 candidates as long as they score 50 or above on the AFQT. The former policy was not always applied equitably across the services; this new memorandum eliminates that problem by eliminating the subjective nature of some of the requirements found in the 2007 policy.
Homeschoolers have been admitted to all of the US military academies. Admission guidelines are strict and potential candidates should plan ahead to meet the standards set forth by each academy. Congressional recommendations are required for all but the Coast Guard Academy and physical fitness is a must. For more information about admission to each of the military academies, visit their websites below.
Ace the ASVAB – “If you’re serious about joining the military, then get serious about the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB is a timed multi-aptitude test, which is given at over 14,000 schools and Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) nationwide and is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. Start now by taking our practice ASVAB tests. These tests will give you an idea of how you’ll score, and identify areas that need improvement. Then use our suggested resources and ASVAB study guides to learn how to prepare for the ASVAB test.”
ASVAB Tips & Strategies: General Study Tips – Includes study tips for the ASVAB in particular and a link to Kaplan general study tips
Homeschool Graduates Entering the Military – Valerie Moon’s graphic depicting routes of enlistment and commissioning for homeschoolers entering the military
Beyond homeschooling: joining the military – “This article tells about some differences between the two largest career paths in the military services, becoming an officer or enlisting. It also looks at how home education affects those choices.”