Soldier with Afghan instructor

Soldiers in the intensive language training with native Afghan instructors, organized by the Defense Language Institute, spend six hours a day learning how to read, write and construct sentences.

U.S. Army/Spc. Breanne Pye

Army Linguist Requirements

Before you're considered for a job as an Army linguist, you must take a test to prove your level of competency in language skills. The Defense Language Aptitude Battery determines how well you can learn a new language if you're a native English speaker. You must score a 105 or higher (out of 176) if you hope to attend the Army's Defense Language Institute [source:]. If you're already fluent in a second language, you must prove your skill level through a Defense Language Proficiency Test or an Oral Proficiency Interview, scoring a 2/2 or higher.

If English is your second language, you must also prove your fluency in the English language, and you could be sent to school to sharpen your skills. If English is not your native language, you must also prove your citizenship to be considered for a job as an Army linguist. And top secret security clearance is also required. This involves a background check and interviews with your family and friends to determine if you are capable of working with and protecting classified national security information. Finally, you must have normal color vision; you cannot be color blind as an Army linguist [source:].

Of course, to become an Army linguist, you must enlist in the Army, which requires you meet a separate set of requirements: You need a high school diploma or the equivalent (GED), and you must also be in "good moral standing," good health and physical condition, and between the ages of 17 and 35 [source:].