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What the Recruiter Never Told You

Part 3 -- Enlistment Process and Job Selection


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Continued from Part 2

Once the recruiter has "pre-determined" your qualifications for enlistment (or gotten permission from his/her superiors to process you, in the event a waiver is required), you'll start the enlistment process.

This begins with filling out a bunch of forms, that the recruiter will send to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), where the real processing is done.

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

While this test is usually accomplished at MEPS, that's not always the case, so it deserves separate mention.

There are three ways to take the ASVAB to qualify for military service (and military job qualification):

High School. Results of ASVAB Tests taken in high school (Vocational ASVAB Program) can be used for military accession, if the test was taken less than two years before, and the scores achieved on the test are high enough to qualify for military service.

Paper ASVAB Test. Most people take the computerized ASVAB at MEPs, as part of their overall military processing, but it is possible to schedule to take the paper version of the test in the local area. MEPS has a traveling team, called the Mobile Examination Team (MET) that gives the ASVAB on a scheduled basis at designated locations (usually National Guard Armories). The recruiter can schedule applicants to take the paper version of the ASVAB through the MET.

Computerized Version at MEPS. Most people, however, take the computerized version of the ASVAB when they go to MEPS for their physical examination/enlistment processing. Quite often, the ASVAB is given on the afternoon before processing, then the recruit spends the night in a military-contract hotel, and undergoes the medical physical/enlistment processing on the next day.

The Trip to MEPS

The recruiter will schedule your trip to MEPS, and will arrange transportation to and from (sometimes the recruiter him/herself will drive you to MEPS, but they are not allowed to accompany you through the MEPS process).

The visit to MEPS is two-phased: Part of the process does not belong to any individual service. It's a joint-service operation, that attempts to determine whether or not you are qualified for the military. This includes the medical examination, and the testing (ASVAB, DLAB, etc.) portions of MEPS.

Once the "joint-service" part of MEPS determines your qualifications, you're turned over the the enlistment processing part of MEPS. This part of MEPS is not "joint-service," and is staffed by members of the Recruiting Command for the military service you are there to process for. This portion includes the Job Counselors, Security Clearance Managers, and the personnel who prepare the enlistment paperwork/contracts. (See The MEPS Experience for more detailed information).

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