Can You Join The Marines With A GED?

Last Updated on April 14, 2024.

When you would like to join the military but have never graduated from high school, you may want to know that you have a chance to continue your education when you are on active military duty.


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But please understand that, in general, you must acquire your secondary education degree before you are able to join the ranks. This website provides free online GED classes and practice tests to help you determine if online studying suits your preferred learning style.

If so, simply register with Onsego GED Prep, a full-scope GED prep course that will prepare you for the GED exam fast.

Today, there are two nationwide accepted high school equivalency exams, the GED® (General Education Development) and HiSET® (High School Equivalency Test).

When we say GED in this post, we refer to the credential that’s awarded upon the successful completion of either of these options.

Signing up for a branch of the military services is very competitive, and you must meet specific expectations.

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The Army and the Navy both are welcoming persons who hold a high school equivalency diploma, and the Marine Corps is accepting applicants with a high school equivalency credential, but they evaluate each individual case.

Talk with your local recruiter from the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps to learn how to file an application by the time you’ve earned your high school equivalency diploma.

For the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), the GED diploma is recognized and accepted as a basic enlisting qualification. Now, due to an ongoing recruiting crisis, however, the Army dropped the requirement for recruits to have a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Be aware, though, that you can join the U.S. Marines without holding a high school diploma, but you are required to meet strict additional requirements before your application will be accepted.

The U.S. Marine Corps allows no more than five percent of all recruits to be enlisted without holding a common high school degree, and just like other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, all Marine Corps recruits fall into one of three categories (the three-tier system).

The 1st category includes recruits who hold high school diplomas, the 2nd tier includes recruits who hold GED credentials, and the 3rd tier includes recruits who don’t hold a secondary education credential.

In case you don’t qualify, consider becoming a police officer with your GED, another interesting way to serve your community and the nation as a whole.

Marine Corps Minimum GED Scores

The USMC (United States Marine Corps) recognizes GED diplomas as basic qualifications for enlisting. So if you don’t hold a high school diploma, you still can join the Marines Corps, but you’ll have to meet additional requirements to get accepted. This also counts if you are looking to join the U.S. Coast Guard with a GED to protect our nation in, on, and around the water.

There are no minimum GED scores required, but applicants scoring in the 165- 174 (college-ready) and 175-200 (college-ready plus credit) ranges have demonstrated a high level of skills and knowledge. The U.S. Marine Corps allows just up to five percent of applicants to serve without holding a high school diploma.

Do You Need to Have College Credits to Get into the Marine Corps with a GED?

As stated above, having scored high on the GED test is great but not a requirement to get enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. You must take the ASVAB test, and generally, applicants who have scored high on the GED test will also do well on the ASVAB battery.

If you want to qualify for service in the U.S. Marine Corps, passing the well-respected and heavily researched Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) aptitude test is required with a score of at least 50.

Each year, the ASVAB exam is taken by a large number of high school and college students looking to secure a job in the U.S. military services. So keep in mind that to qualify for the U.S. Marines or one of the other departments of the armed forces, a GED diploma is not considered equal to a grade 12.

The ASVAB is not an IQ test but measures skills and aptitude in 10 areas to help the Army determine your aptitude for specific tasks. The test is also used for Air Force recruits, and to learn if you can join the U.S. Air Force with a GED, <- check out this article.

Can I Join the Marine Corps at Age 17 with a GED?

If you want to be enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and be in the age range 17-28. If you are holding a GED instead of a high school diploma, you are required to pass the ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) with a score of at least 50. In the years 2006-2013, the U.S. National Guard operated the GED Plus Program for applicants who hadn’t completed high school.

17-year-old applicants must hold parental consent, and it goes without saying that the higher your ASVAB score is, the better your chances will be to get enlisted. Additionally, all applicants are required to meet physical requirements.

To improve your chances of getting enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, you can also enroll at your local community college and complete 15 credits or more. If you do that, you’ll be moved from the 2nd recruits tier into the 1st, together with all those recruits that already hold a high school degree.

Herein lies the reason that sometimes, students prefer to enroll in an online high school diploma program such as that offered by Acellus Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.

Read also this post about joining the U.S. Army with a GED. You’ll learn that the Army only allows some fifteen percent of recruits to hold a GED diploma! We see that getting a good education is the primary reason why people want to join the military.

Marine Corps GED Waiver

As said above, the U.S. Marine Corps accepts only up to 5% of its recruits without holding a high school diploma. Enlistees will be placed in a 3-tier system. Those in tier one are holding a high school diploma; those in tier two are holding a GED, and those placed in tier three are recruits that hold neither. So, holding a GED is not bad at all, but it definitely has its disadvantages.

If you seriously want to join the U.S. Marine Corps without holding a high school degree, contact and consult with your regional Marine Corps recruiter and learn all about the options open to you. Your recruiter is the right person to help you with the U.S. Marine Corps enlistment process and will advise you about preparing for the ASVAB aptitude test.

Your ASVAB score is key to determining your career opportunities in the U.S. Marine Corps. Therefore, you should prepare for the test optimally and take it very seriously. Your future depends on it!

If you feel you are ready, schedule your ASVAB test at one of your state’s test centers, and some are even situated near military bases. If you talk with recruiters, you can find out which branch will suit you best,  and once accepted, you have many options to further your education.

Please note that the GED is a fully computerized test, whereas the HiSET exams may be taken both on a computer and on paper.