How the Navy SEALs Work

By: Lee Ann Obringer & Francisco Guzman  | 

Navy SEAL Requirements

SEAL training
SEAL candidates sit on the sand during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abe McNatt/Released

Entering training to become a Navy SEAL is voluntary. Anyone can volunteer, and officers and enlisted servicepeople train side by side. (Women are now allowed to join but as of 2021, none have successfully finished SEAL training.) In order to enter SEAL training, however, they do have to meet certain requirements. Those wishing to volunteer for SEAL training have to:

  • Be an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy
  • Be 28 or younger (although waivers for 29- and 30-year-olds are possible)
  • Have good vision —at least 20/40 in the best eye and 20/70 in the worst eye. Both eyes must be correctable to 20/25.
  • Meet the minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a clean record (waivers are granted, depending on number and severity)
  • Be a high school graduate

Pass a stringent physical screening test that includes the following:


  • Swim 500 yards (457 meters) in 12.5 minutes or less, followed by a 10-minute rest
  • Do 42 pushups in under two minutes, followed by a two-minute rest
  • Do 50 situps in under two minutes, followed by a two-minute rest
  • Do six pullups, followed by a 10-minute rest
  • Run 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) in less than 11 minutes

These are just the minimum requirements. The better you can perform on these tests, the more likely you are to be accepted as a SEAL.

Once a potential SEAL qualifies for training, the real fun starts.