How Do ASVAB Scores Affect Army Jobs?

By: Denise Harrison  | 
These students are taking the Test for Adult Basic Education, which will help improve their technical scores on the ASVAB.
SPC Alicia Torbush/U.S. Army

Embarking on a career in the U.S. military is a noble and challenging endeavor. But before you can dive into the world of military jobs and specialties, there's a crucial step to navigate: the ASVAB test. This test not only determines your eligibility for enlistment but also guides the trajectory of your military career.

Let's delve into the intricacies of ASVAB scores and their significance.


What Are ASVAB Scores?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a test that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success within the military. Administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, the ASVAB test is available in over 14,000 schools nationwide and is taken by over a million military applicants annually.

Primarily, high school students in their sophomore, junior, or senior years take the ASVAB, but it's open to anyone eligible for enlistment. For those aspiring to join the U.S. military, understanding ASVAB scores is crucial.


Breaking Down the ASVAB Test

The ASVAB comprises two main sections:

  • Determining Your Fit: This section assesses which military jobs or military occupational specialties (MOS) align best with your skills.
  • Aptitude Assessment: Known as the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), this evaluates word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge. Your AFQT score, a crucial component of the ASVAB score, determines your eligibility for enlistment in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps.


Interpreting Your ASVAB Test Scores

AFQT scores are presented as percentiles between 1 and 99. This score is relative, meaning it compares your performance to a reference group. For instance, a score of 71 indicates you performed as well or better than 71 percent of the test takers in the reference group.

The average ASVAB score is 50. The Army states that about half the population scores 50 or above, while approximately 16 percent score 60 or above.


Minimum ASVAB Score Requirements for Different Military Branches:

  • Air Force: 36
  • Navy: 35
  • Navy Reserves: 31
  • Marine Corps: 32
  • Coast Guard: 40

If your initial score doesn't meet the minimum ASVAB score requirements for a particular military branch, don't fret. You can retake the test after waiting one month. For a third attempt, a six-month wait is mandatory. Remember, your scores are valid for up to two years from the test date.


How ASVAB Scores Influence Army Jobs

Your ASVAB scores, especially the line scores from ASVAB subtests, play a pivotal role in determining the Army jobs or MOS you qualify for. For instance, a role like a combat engineer might require proficiency in mechanical comprehension, while a clothing repair specialist might look at your scores in general technical areas.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • "ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery." (April 15, 2011)
  • "10 Steps to Joining the Military." (April 17, 2011),13898,rec_step04_questions_ usmc,,00.html#asvab
  • Official Site of the ASVAB. (April 15, 2011)
  • Powers, Rob. "ASVAB AFQT For Dummies." Wiley Publishing Inc. January 2010.