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7 Steps to Become a SEAL

How to Become a SEAL AND Start Preparing as a Teenager

Here is an email I receive quite often from young teenagers who know they want to serve their country, but are curious how to start preparing themselves for the military training - especially SEAL and other Special Ops programs.

Hi Stew,

If I wanted to become a Navy SEAL when should I start training? I am 15 years old and have wanted this since I was What are the requirements for becoming one? I have read some of your articles and wanted some advice on some tips towards training, and towards getting though the course? Do I have the right mentality etc?

First, thanks for your decision to want to serve your country. It is always nice to see someone in their teens thinking of their future and service in the same thought. What I am about to share with you is the LONG answer as I get this question often and feel it deserves the full answer - taking you from your present age in high school and to and through BUDS.

Step 1: Learn to be a Team Player

I cannot emphasize this enough as it requires experience and an understanding of being part of a team. Knowing how to work towards a goal whether that goal is to drive a ball down the field or to train for an event with other team members is important to your future training. When I was young I played five sports and was never exceptional at them all but good enough to be a team captain when I became a senior in high school. I truly feel that my training for these sports enabled me to understand what it means to work hard toward a goal and be a better leader and follower.

Step 2: Get Some Leadership Skills

Whether you are a team captain, class president, or head of a community service group - all of these skills will help you understand what it means to lead and to follow orders. Being a good leader is important but being a good listener and able to follow rules and other leaders is just as important.

Step 3: Study Hard

Dummies usually get weeded out just as those who fail a PT test in the military.  Make sure you graduate high school, perhaps get some college (good but not necessary), and study a foreign language. Any foreign language is fine at this level in high school as it is more understanding how languages and other cultures work that will help you with more important languages later (Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc).  Also understand Algebra and Science, as you will see this math and physics in Dive Training when you apply Laws of Physics to the body while diving.

Step 4: Graduate High School / GED / College

Now at years old is where your options start to open up. You have to have a high school diploma to enlist. Recently they have started to accept a GED certificate but depending upon your choice of service you may need a semester of college level classes to join the military. You can enlist as young as 17 years old with the signature of a parent or guardian or you could decide to attend college for a few years or graduate. Many SEAL enlisted are college graduates with advanced degrees even. So after college you can either enlist, join as an officer by attending OCS - Officer Candidate School OR you could get a military scholarship and attend college for free by joining an ROTC college or the U.S. Naval Academy. All sources can lead to attending BUDS as an officer. This will also give you four more years to REALLY train hard as well.

*NOTE: Do I even need to say stay away from drugs and alcohol as it has no purpose in this training...

Step 5: If You Choose to Enlist

There are many opportunities for the enlisted SEAL or Special Ops soldier. Not only will you receive some of the best training in the world, but you can also earn thousands of dollars in bonuses. Presently, the Navy is paying BUDS graduates $40, for successfully completing the training and earning the SEAL designation. But, when you meet the recruiter you will be assigned a SEAL mentor once you have signed in. SEAL Mentors are former SEALs / Special Ops who help you properly prepare for the training you have signed to do. You have to sign up with the Delayed Entry Program to meet with the SEAL Mentor and do the workouts. You will not sign up at first as a SO - Special Operator - you have to pass the BUDS Physical Screening Test (PST) first before you can be part of the SEAL Challenge Program. This means you have to pick another Navy designation when you join, but that goes away after to pass the PST. 

Step 6: Acing the PST

You want to go to Boot Camp in the best shape of your life. Do not think the Navy is going to get you in SEAL shape during Boot Camp. You need that foundation NOW and hopefully after a lifetime of fitness and athletics you will have the ability to build on that foundation. This means you need the following scores on the PST to have about an 80% chance of graduating BUDS.

Swim yds (side, breast or CSS stroke) in under ( sub for officers)*
pushups in ( for officers)*
situps in ( for officers)*
pullups(20 for officers)*
mile run in minutes(sub for officers)*

*Officer billets are much more competitive and require higher scores to be accepted generally.

Just reaching the minimum standards will give you a 6% chance of graduating BUDS. What you need is a fitness program to achieve these scores.

For the enlisted, the good news is that you get some pre-training after Boot Camp which is run by SEAL instructors in Great Lakes. There you get to workout and get back into shape after losing some of it due to Boot Camp schedule. This program is designed to better prepare you for SEAL training and it is tough. If you can get into above average shape prior to Boot Camp and use that time as a taper, then you will be in perfect shape to start ramping up for BUDS again after Boot Camp.  However, I recommend within at least months of attending Boot Camp you should be running in boots and swimming in fins. Same for officer candidates.

Step 7: Attend SEAL or other Special Ops Training

Here is where a lifetime of training all come to the ultimate test. Years of training in sports, school, daily life events should have created a disciplined and motivated person ready to NOT only survive training BUT compete to win events in the training programs. Those who go to Special ops training programs to compete never think about quitting (usually) as compared to those seeking to merely survive the training.

Below are more related articles to help you thoroughly understand what is next for you to do to properly prepare for SEAL Training.

- Navy SEAL Grinder PT - Want To Be a SEAL? - Get Fit for SEAL Training - Top 10 Things to Know Before BUD/S - How to Join Naval Special Operations - Candidate Fitness Assessment

Good luck with your challenge. I know it may seem like forever until you get there, but time will fly and you will wish you had more time to train if you do not start now. The best thing about this method of preparation is that if you should change your mind you have set yourself up for success in ANYTHING you select.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at [email protected].

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How to Become a Navy SEAL

All roads to becoming a Navy SEAL, end at BUD/S -- Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. There are many routes to get to sunny Coronado, California, where BUD/S is located, but the only way to become a Navy SEAL is to finish BUD/S first. Below are the several options SEAL wannabes struggle with and should know before signing any paperwork with the Navy:

First Option: Join the Navy by Enlisting

This is the route that will give you the best chance of attending SEAL training; there are 10 times more enlisted SEALs than there are officers who attend SEAL training. The need for enlisted SEALs therefore always will be higher than the need for officers in the teams. That is why the SEAL officer route is more competitive. Here is the way to join the Navy and get to BUDS the quickest. Many candidates attend BUD/S with college degrees as enlisted, with the hopes of going to Officer Candidate School (OCS) later in their career.

Step 1: Go to a recruiter's office. Choose a Spec Ops/Spec War Source Rating

You will have to sign up for a regular Navy Source Rating (designator -- like GM gunners mate or OS operations specialist) to join the Delayed Entry Program. Ask your local recruiter about the Navy Special Warfare/Special Operations mentor in your area. These former SEAL, EOD and divers are mentors for recruits, and their duties are to help recruits prepare for training by giving regularly scheduled physical screening tests (PST). You have to pass the PST with your mentor in order to change your rate to SO. SO, or special operator, will be your new designation after you pass the PST with competitive scores. However, you have to pass the elevated standards of the Navy SEAL PST before you will get the opportunity to attend boot camp, then BUD/S.

Navy SWCC Fitness Training Overview

Below are the minimum and recommended standards for the PST:

PST EventMinimum StandardsRecommended Standards
yard swim minutes
mile timed run9 minutes

Currently, Navy Special Warfare has instituted a "draft" where the best scores get submitted into a nationwide competition and the best candidates get selected first. The better your PST scores determines how soon you get to go to boot camp, then BUD/S, so achieving above (or beyond) the recommended standard is critical to your acceptance to go to SEAL training.

Recommendation -- Ace the PST on your own before you join the delayed entry program. Your process will go much smoother instead of being one of the weekly failures of the PST.

Step 2: Boot Camp Training

All recruits will report to Great Lakes, Illinois, to attend basic military training. During boot camp, you will be required to take and pass the Special Warfare/Operations PST again. If you pass at boot camp, you officially are in the pre-training community -- meaning you will get orders to attend BUD/S.

Step 3: Pre-Training Phase (Post-Boot Camp and Pre-BUD/S Training)

After boot camp, you will work out for a living and still live in Great Lakes in a program called BUD/S Prep. Your job is to learn about the Special Warfare communities as well as start an extensive physical training program for weeks. The pre-training program is to help candidates get into better shape, because boot camp does not prepare a BUD/S student properly for their advanced training programs they will see in Coronado. Consider this the SO rating A school.

The pre-training instructors are not interested in weeding anyone out at this point; however, if you do not meet the standard, you will not get to attend BUD/S. The goal of this training is to teach candidates that they will not survive the next phase of training if they strive for the minimum standards in the PST.

Option #2: Enlist and Serve in the Navy, then Try Out for BUD/S

This is a longer route to BUD/S and applies to enlisted as well as officers in the Navy who want to attend BUD/S. It is also the same route a former BUD/S student who did not graduate will have to do if he wants to try to attend BUD/S again.

Imagine yourself at your regular Navy command, working during the day, then adding in extra workouts at night to prepare for the BUD/S PST. This will be your life for a year or two -- or more. The ability to get above-average PST scores is possible, but it requires lots of extra effort. It has been done before by many great enlisted and officer SEALs, but it is a challenge and demonstrates your desire to go to BUD/S if you can get the recommended elevated scores on the PST while on active duty -- especially if stationed on a ship.

You have to route a special request chit up your chain of command and have to wait until your time at your present command is completed before leaving for BUD/S. Many have arranged a deal to re-enlist in the Navy if they can attend BUD/S at the time of the end of their first enlistment. Of course, you still have to meet all of the elevated standards. For more information, go to the Navy SEAL and SWCC official site.

For the future BUD/S students in the fleet, there is a pre-BUDS program as well. It is called the fleet transition program, where students get TAD orders to attend before attending BUD/S. Look into the FTP in Little Creek, Virginia.

If you are in another service branch, you have to join the Navy to go to BUD/S. There is no such thing as joining the Marine Corps, then going to the BUD/S program. You can join the Marines, but you have to get out of the Marines and join the Navy to go to BUD/S. See the Navy SEAL and SWCC official site for more information.

Related Video:

Options #3: Navy SEAL Officer Programs: US Naval Academy

USNA to SEAL: First you have to get into the Naval Academy. Once at the academy, you should start training with like-minded classmates as well as get to know the older students who are training every day for BUD/S. There are active-duty SEALs to help with your training programs and will start the screening process your junior year. You will take many PSTs as well as have to endure BUD/S screening -- a hour event that mixes in some of the worst events at BUD/S into a long weekend at the academy.

Usually by your senior year, the hundred or more classmates who thought they wanted to be SEALs has dwindled to , but they are all highly qualified and only slots each year. Your grades, leadership jobs, sports and athletic events completed, foreign languages and even community service hours come into play into selection. You will be  judged by a group of SEAL officers and senior enlisted in a personal interview while attending SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection Training. (official site info). An Academy midshipman will attend SOAS during the summer before their senior year.

Options #4: Navy SEAL Officer Programs: Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

Going to college under a Navy ROTC program is another route to get to BUD/S. Navy ROTC graduates have the opportunity to attend BUD/S after graduation. ROTC gets typically officer slots a year for SEAL training. These are nationwide competitions among all ROTC programs in the nation. These are highly competitive, but if you are an excellent or above-average candidate, you have a great chance at going to BUD/S.

Your requirements are similar to that of USNA and OCS; your grades, sports, leadership roles and PST scores will play a part in your acceptance. See the official ROTC website for what colleges offer Navy ROTC. ROTC candidates also will attend SOAS the summer before their senior year.

Options #5: Navy SEAL Officer Programs: Officer Candidate School - OCS

You need to have a college degree before applying to the OCS board. There are many opportunities for young college grads seeking to lead in the military, but officer slots for any of the Special Forces units are few and hard to come by. In fact, the latest numbers for SEAL officer candidates were about one in eight get accepted to attend SEAL training after OCS.

Applying to Officer Candidate School and wanting to become a Navy SEAL means you actually will be selected to go to BUD/S immediately after you complete OCS. You will attend SOAS before attending OCS. If you do not get a billet after SOAS, you do not have to go to SOAS, unless you want to go as a different job in the Navy. You will be accepted to attend SEAL training by a board of SEAL officers after SOAS, and then they will send you to OCS first -- with immediate follow-on training at BUD/S.

Check out Seal Training Via Officer Candidate School

Step 4: Navy SEAL Training (BUD/S) PTRR and INDOC/BUD/S Orientation

Once you arrive at BUD/S, you will join PTRR (physical training rehabilitation and remediation) for a few weeks until the next INDOC class forms. BUD/S Indoctrination Phase (INDOC) is a challenging five- to six-week training to test the students thoroughly in the basics from the PST (again), swimming with fins, obstacle courses, timed beach runs, challenging PTs on the Grinder and surf zone training. Once you have passed the challenges of INDOC and not quit after the instructors personally test your desire, you get the opportunity to advance to Phase 1.

Step 5: Phase 1,2,3 at BUD/S

Now training begins at first phase. This is where most BUD/S students quit or get injured. This phase is where you will meet challenges regularly, such as four-mile timed beach runs, two-mile ocean swims, BUD/S obstacle course, log PT, hundreds of reps of push-ups, pull-ups and ab exercises. Drown-proofing, life saving and underwater knot tying also are challenging tests you must pass to continue training. Of course, there is Hell Week, a hour-long event designed to test your desire to be a Navy SEAL. You may sleep a total of hours in five days and log more than miles of running, swimming and paddling boats. This phase is the ultimate test of your ability to be a team player; whether you are under a log or boat, you quickly will learn who you want on your team.

Phase 2 is dive phase. You should have a basic understanding of SCUBA diving before attending, though it is not a requirement to be SCUBA qualified. You will be required to use algebra to solve diving math problems as well as diving physics. The most important laws to know in Navy SEAL diving are Boyle's Law and Dalton's Law of Partial Pressure. You will learn open-circuit SCUBA and closed circuit (oxygen re-breathers) in Dive Phase as well as one of the most challenging tests at BUD/S -- pool competency. This test is designed to teach and test your ability to remain calm in the event of everything going wrong underwater. You also will swim a six-mile ocean swim during this phase.

Phase 3 is land warfare. You will enjoy shooting, learning and using demolitions such as C-4 as well as patrolling, shooting and moving, and land navigation. This phase is full of potential safety violations so be careful where you point your weapon, have your weapon on safe when not in use, as well as many other potential dangers that involve demolition and marksmanship. The PT, runs and swims do not get easier -- in fact, you will be in your best shape ever during third phase and able to run miles, swim miles and ruck 20 miles on San Clemente Island.

Congratulations. You have finished BUD/S, but your SEAL training is not over. Just the basics is over.

Check out these videos and get a glimpse inside SEAL BUD/s training in San Diego.

SEAL Qualification Training -- After BUD/S graduation, you go to SQT -- an advanced training program that takes the individual who graduated BUD/S and forms a team that is capable of operating in the water, underwater, from planes and helicopters, ropes and parachutes, boats, and on foot. You will learn and master the basic insertion methods used by SEALs and conduct training missions. There is also a mix of many hours of classroom training where you learn about intelligence gathering, designing missions and moving together as a team from insertion to extraction of a mission.

Now after BUD/S and SQT, you get to go to the SEAL team that selected you and become a "new guy" and prove yourself all over again to the veteran SEALs you will be joining on combat deployments. You will continue to learn something new each day of your career, so stay in "receive mode" and listen to those who have been there and done that.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]

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How To Become a Navy SEAL Step by Step

Navy SEALs (SEa, Air and Land) are the most elite members of the U.S. Navy. The Navy's standards of qualification to successfully become a SEAL requires physical and mental fortitude that is possessed by only a select few. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about becoming a Navy SEAL, including common job requirements, average salary and answers to frequently asked questions.

What does a Navy SEAL do?

Navy SEALs carry out special warfare/special operations missions on sea, air and land that go beyond the means of standard military forces. Common missions for Navy SEALs include direct action warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism and foreign internal defense.

Their duties depend on their assignment or deployment. Navy SEALs can expect to handle duties including:

  • Inserting a SEAL or other military member in a special situation or location
  • Extracting hostages or other military members from dangerous situations
  • Capturing enemies for interrogation or arrest
  • Gathering information through reconnaissance, undercover missions or related events
  • Managing ground missions anywhere in the world and in any type of environment
  • Performing underwater missions
  • Demolishing natural or man-made obstacles
  • Providing support for other military units

Read more: Navy SEALs: Typical Job Duties

How to become a Navy SEAL

SEALs are male or female members of the Navy. Qualifications may vary if you&#x;re currently in the Navy or have prior service. Here are basic steps for a new recruit to become a Navy SEAL:

1. Prepare yourself early

The first step to becoming a Navy SEAL, also known as a special warfare operator (SO), , is to begin preparing yourself for training and the role as soon as you know you are interested in the position, as there are strict requirements to become a Navy SEAL.

These requirements include age, U.S. citizenship, security clearance, physical fitness, mental fitness, good eyesight and passing a background check. If you are interested in becoming a Navy SEAL, begin preparing early by getting into excellent physical shape, learning how to swim, earning good grades while you are in school and developing strong interpersonal skills such as leadership and teamwork.

2. Earn a diploma

If you want to become a Navy SEAL, you will first need to earn a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. If you have a GED, you may be required to have at least one semester of college-level courses completed to join the military.

3. Consider a college degree

With a diploma or GED, you can enlist in the military as early as age 17 with parent or guardian permission. While a college degree is not required to be a Navy SEAL, you may choose to earn a degree before enlisting in the Navy. You can also consider enrolling in an ROTC college or the U.S. Naval Academy. Many Navy SEALs are college graduates who hold advanced degrees. Pursuing a college degree can help you enlist in the military at an officer ranking, which increases your annual base salary.

4. Speak with a Navy recruiter

Meet with a recruiter who will review your eligibility and determine whether you meet the military's requirements. It is important to let the recruiter know you want a SEAL Challenge Contract before you enlist because this will earn you a higher sign-on bonus than if you enlist first and then decide to become a SEAL.

Once your recruiter determines that you meet minimum eligibility requirements for a SEAL Challenge Contract, they will connect you with a special warfare/special operations mentor who will help you train for your physical screening test (PST).

Related: 57 Questions To Ask a Military Recruiter

5.Score high on the ASVAB

Everyone interested in enlisting in the military must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. The ASVAB is made up of tests covering word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, general science, auto and shop information, mechanical comprehension, electronics information and numerical operations. This test helps determine the type of jobs you are eligible for in the military. Your score on the ASVAB must be high enough to qualify for the SEAL program.

6. Score high on the C-SORT

Candidates interested in becoming a Navy SEAL will need to score well on the Computerized-Special Operations Resilience Test (C-SORT) taken at the recruiter&#x;s office. The test assesses maturity and mental resilience through performance strategies, psychological resilience and personality traits to ensure the candidate meets the minimum requirements for the SEAL training program.

Your C-SORT results (a combined score of at least ) will be considered along with your PST and other tests to determine if you are a good fit for the Navy SEALS.

7. Begin Navy career

SEAL training starts with complete basic training at Recruit Training /command Great Lakes (RTC Great Lakes) in Illinois. After that, you will be assigned another Navy job until you pass the PST. During this time, you will be assigned a mentor or coordinator who will put you on a physical training regimen designed to help you prepare for the PST. This mentor will also proctor your PST and help you submit your entire application package to the Navy Recruiting Command, so it is important to follow their directions.

8. Pass the PST

The minimum standards you need to meet to pass the Navy SEAL PST are strict and require a great amount of physical fitness and preparation. As a recruit, you will take the PST several times a month with expected improvement each time Your PST will include:

  • yard swim in ½ minutes
  • 75 push-ups in two minutes
  • 75 sit-ups in two minutes
  • Six pull-ups
  • mile run in ½ minutes

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Navy Physical Requirements

9. Receive your SEAL contract

Once you have met the minimum requirements on the ASVAB, C-SORT and PST, you will receive your offer for a SEAL contract, which will replace your original Navy contract and include a SEAL boot camp date.

Related: How To Train To Be a Navy SEAL

SEAL training

Once you&#x;ve earned a SEAL contract, it&#x;s time to begin the specialized training necessary to become a part of this elite special operations force.

1. Attend SEAL prep course

The SEAL preparatory course in Great Lakes, IL, lasts two months. It is an intense boot camp designed to prepare candidates for their initial SEAL training program. It includes two more PSTs that are even more challenging than the initial test.

To move on to the next level of SEAL training, you must pass an exit PST that includes:

  • yard swim: ½ minutes minimum; eight to nine minutes to be competitive
  • Push-ups in two minutes: 50 minimum; competitive
  • Sit-ups in two minutes: 50 minimum; competitive
  • Pull-ups: 10 minimum; competitive
  • mile run: ½ minutes minimum; nine to 10 minutes

Related: What To Expect in Navy SEAL Training

2. Complete BUD/S training

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training prepares and tests your ability to handle the extreme physical and mental challenges of SEAL missions. It is a week training program at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, CA and has three phases: Phase I with basic conditioning focusing on physical and mental ability; Phase II with underwater skills such as scuba diving and combat swimming and Phase III with weapons, demolitions, navigation skills and basic, small-unit tactics.

3. Complete airborne and surface warfare training

BUD/S is followed by three weeks of Basic Airborne Training at Fort Benning, GA. This training starts with basic static line jumps and gradually increases in difficulty up to completing accelerated free falls with combat equipment from a minimum of 9, feet in the air.

You will then spend 13 weeks at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL, for training with small-battery powered wet submersibles (SDV).

4. SEAL Qualification Training

After successfully completing basic special warfare training programs, you will move on to SEAL Qualification Training (SQT), a week advanced tactical training program. The training focuses on weapons, small unit tactics, land navigation, demolitions, cold weather climates, medical skills and maritime operations. Before graduating, you must also complete Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training and qualify in static-line and freefall parachute operations.

Once you&#x;ve completed all the elements of SEAL training, you will officially be considered a SEAL and be awarded a Navy SEAL trident for your hard work.

5. Complete additional SEAL training

You will now choose a Navy SEAL rating that will determine where your next SEAL training will be completed. There are several ratings you can choose from such as foreign language study, sniper, jump master, SEAL tactical communications training, explosive breachers and more. After choosing your rating, you will do 18 months of pre-deployment and intensive, individualized specialized training to prepare you for deployment and missions.

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about being a Navy SEAL:

What does Navy SEAL stand for?

Navy SEALs are members of the U.S. Navy's special force unit trained for unconventional warfare on sea, air and land. SEAL stands for SEa, Air and Land. They are a component of the Naval Special Warfare Command.

What are the requirements to become a Navy SEAL?

To become a Navy SEAL, you must be an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy and a U.S. citizen who can read, write and speak English fluently. You must also usually be under the age of 28, although waivers are sometimes allowed for candidates who are 29 to 30 years old. Every candidate will also need to pass a security clearance background check.

Candidates must also have good vision with at least 20/40 in your best eye, 20/70 in your worst eye, correctable to 20/25 with no color blindness, pass a stringent physical screening test and maintain a 1/8" length hair cut.

How much do SEALs make?

The salary of a Navy SEAL varies based on their rank with a starting annual base pay of up to $60, per year. In addition to their annual base salary, the income of a SEAL may vary based on bonuses and the types of missions they work. You will receive a sign-on bonus for joining the SEAL Challenge Contract and will receive another bonus upon successful completion of the SEAL training program. You can also receive extra pay for diving, parachuting and demolitions.

In addition to your salary and other income, you will also receive several benefits as a Navy SEAL including medical and life insurance, education funding, travel and supply discounts, vacation time, tax-free pay in combat zones, tax-free allowances for housing and food and access to military facilities.

Can Navy SEALS continue their education?

The Navy offers training, professional credentials and certifications in a variety of subjects such as explosive ordnance disposal to chemical and biological warfare, electronics and more. Training courses may translate to credit hours for an associate&#x;s or bachelor&#x;s degree through the American Council on Education. Undergraduate degree opportunities may be available through the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

3. What is the work environment of a Navy SEAL?

Navy SEALs train and work in all types of environments including deserts, urban areas, mountains, woodlands, jungles and arctic conditions. Typical missions may involve entering a combat situation by parachute, submarine, helicopter, high-speed boat, foot patrol or combat swimming.

4. How many Navy SEAL candidates complete the required training and become a SEAL?

Navy SEAL training is a very rigorous program designed to ensure only the most elite Navy members complete the program and become SEALs. Navy SEALs account for only about one percent of all active-duty members of the Navy, and it is estimated that only about % of all SEAL candidates complete the training needed to become a member of the SEALs, with approximately 1, candidates entering the training program and about candidates completing training each year.

5. At what age do Navy SEALs retire?

Navy SEALs are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service, but many SEAL members continue service for at least 30 years to maximize their retirement benefits. After 20 years of service, Navy SEALS are eligible for 50% of their average base salary for retirement. For each year spent in service between 20 and 30 years, the percentage increases by % resulting in a 75% benefit for those members completing 30 years of service.


When Navy SEAL Team 6 stormed into Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan a week ago, that was not just a fighting force. That was the most elite fighting force in all the world. It's harder to become a Navy SEAL than it is to enter Harvard Law School. Different, but harder.

Entry to the SEALs is perhaps the most brutal test of a man's will in all the military. There's usually a hundred and sixty of them hoping to be selected for each class. There will probably be only eleven left standing at the end of this most searching test of character.

It's a six month road to hell. Driven by their teak-hard instructors, they pound the Pacific beaches at Coronado, mile after mile. At the beginning, someone drops out just about every hour. They are driven into the Pacific Ocean. Freezing, shivering, they undertake a succession of exercises -- lifting, pulling, rowing, swimming -- until it seems no one can take it anymore. Except the guys who'd rather die than quit. Even going to lunch is murder. It's a two mile jog from the beach to the chow hall, mostly in teams of six, carrying a boat on their heads. Seventy-five percent of all SEALs have college degrees. The mental training, the development of an iron-will is as brutal as the physical test. One SEAL, whom I know well, told me of a devastating night when he had prepared his room for a 2 a.m. inspection.

Two instructors climbed up a ladder outside, through the window and trashed the place, hurling everything asunder, tipping out drawers, hurling washing powder all over the SEALs possessions. When he arrived back for inspection, he was immaculately dressed in his pressed trousers, polished shoes, starched shirt and devastated by the condition of his room. The instructor arrived immediately and bawled him out, ordering him instantly to go down to the beach and get "wet and sandy." At 2 a.m. the young SEAL ran across the dunes in the dark, all the way to the freezing water's edge, and plunged in wearing his best clothes. The instructor watched him for 12 minutes and ordered him out, to roll in the soft sand. When he finally stood up, the instructor told him he looked ridiculous, and to get back up and clean himself up and his room. As the SEAL jogged by, the instructor patted him on the back and told him, "Don't worry about it, son. I just needed to know how much unfairness you could take."

It was men like this who stormed Osama bin Laden's house. Men like this whose expertise at marksmanship, tactics and if necessary, hand-to-hand combat is the best there has ever been. They think odds of five to one against them is probably fair. Marcus Luttrell, whose book which I co-authored, Lone Survivor, has become a classic, described the last day of training when there were only eleven left, thus: "Matt McGraw could only say, 'Thank God, thank God.' Two guys fell to their knees and wept. Someone was saying, 'It's over. It's over.' Like the remnants of a ravaged army, we helped one another back over the sand dunes, picking up those who fell, supporting those who could barely walk. In our wildest imaginations, no one had ever dreamed it would be this bad."

Those are the Americans they sent in to take out bin Laden, those iron-souled SEALs who came clattering in over that Pakistani town, in the dark, not knowing what awaited them when they hurtled down the ropes into that compound. Might it be a heavy machine gun? Might they have to blow the place apart? How many of them would make it home? For a normal person it would have been terrifying, but for the SEALs it was different, because they're trained to believe they're invincible. And they rushed out into the dark, with their courage high, and they smashed their way through their mission. Because they are not other people. They are men who would rather die than quit.

In my latest thriller, published on May 2nd, The Delta Solution, SEAL Team 10 acts in an identical fashion, as they prepare to raid a ship held by Somali Pirates. It is a fantastic coincidence, but will tell you much of what you want to know about how they operate.


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Get the Job

Navy Sea, Air and Land Forces, better known as Navy SEALs, are intensely trained operatives in the Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations division of the U.S. Navy. They conduct counterterrorism operations, perform secret missions behind enemy lines, capture and eliminate enemy targets and participate in direct warfare. You must meet minimal education and physical requirements to become a Navy SEAL.

Basic Degree Requirements

A high school diploma or general education diploma is the minimum educational requirement for Navy SEALs. You do not need college credits or a degree to be a candidate for SEAL training. However, you must between 17 and 28 at the time of enlistment and eligible for secret-level security clearance. The Office of Personnel Security and Suitability, Bureau of Diplomatic Security conducts national agency, law enforcement and credit history checks to determine if you qualify for the necessary security clearance.

Degree Requirements for Officers

Navy SEALS who want to be promoted to an officer role do need a college degree. The Navy does not have specific degree requirements, but does expect officers to have proven academic performance in a challenging bachelor-level major. Other required qualifications for SEAL officers include leadership experience and foreign language skills or cultural expertise.

Physical Screening Test

Every SEAL candidate must meet minimum Navy Physical Screening Test (PST) requirements for Navy Challenge Programs. The timed test requires you to do 50 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes and 50 pull-ups in two minutes plus swim yards in minutes and run miles in minutes. You are allowed between two and 10 minutes of rest between each activity.

SEAL Training

Navy SEAL candidates must undergo the most mentally and physically rigorous training the military has to offer. Initial training lasts 12 months and includes basic orientation, physical conditioning, combat diving instruction, land warfare training, and parachute jump school. Afterward, you must complete 18 months of predeployment training and intensive specialized training. Successful completion of the training programs will result in assignment to a combat operation as a Navy SEAL.

Q\u0026A Navy Seal enlisted with a college degree and the back up going Army Officer and getting it

Navy Seal Career

*A job as a Navy Seal falls under the broader career category of Military Officer Special and Tactical Operations Leaders, All Other. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category but may not specifically apply to this career title.

Job Description for Military Officer Special and Tactical Operations Leaders, All Other : All military officer special and tactical operations leaders represents occupations with a wide range of characteristics. Examples include: Advanced Foreign Counterintelligence Officer (Afco) , Advanced Military Source Operations Officer (Amsoo) , Air Antisubmarine Officer , Air Boatswain , Air Intelligence Officer , All Source Intelligence , All Source Intelligence Technician , Amphibious Operations Officer , Antisubmarine Warfare Intelligence Officer , Antisubmarine Weapons Officer .

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