There are, of course, some specific requirements (age, education, and so on) for each branch of the military, but those aren’t the only categories the service branches look at. Here are some basic guidelines for military aviation service as a whole.

If you don’t meet the requirements (and can’t get a waiver) for one branch, make sure you look at the others, which may have completely different sets of requirements.

  • Aptitude: As the title of military flight aptitude tests suggest, all branches give you a flight aptitude test to predict how successful you’ll be as an aviator. This aptitude is one of the single most important selection criteria that you can affect, so read on!

  • Moral character: Moral character is basically your legal record; that is, have you broken laws or been arrested for or convicted of a crime? Don’t automatically panic if you’re remembering a couple of youthful indiscretions; you can get waivers for certain minor infractions (check with your flight recruiter for details).

  • Psychological makeup: The military is looking for competent, confident team players who can handle the pressures of aviation service under duress, so you take a series of tests and screenings to predict your ability to successfully fulfill the role of a military aviator. Individual military services do give medical waivers for specific minor behavioral health issues.

  • Marital status and dependents: Although certain commissioning programs have restrictions on marital status, flight training has no such constraints. Certain phases of candidate programs are considered to be unaccompanied, so the branch doesn’t provide you with accompanied housing, but during the majority of your flight training, you can live with your family.