How To Become a Navy SEAL: Everything You Must Know

Have you ever wondered how to become a Navy SEAL?

If you're considering embarking on the challenging journey of becoming a Navy SEAL, it's crucial to understand what lies ahead. This blog post will examine the steps and qualifications necessary for Navy SEAL training and successfully graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) in Coronado, CA.

Do You Want To Become a Navy SEAL?

From the initial fitness test at Navy basic training to BUD/S, we'll discuss everything you need about this elite military tough-as-nails program. Additionally, we'll discuss financial aspects such as pay and allowances during your training period.

After graduating BUD/S, explore recruitment opportunities within different operational teams or even further specializations in other branches. Gain insight into a Navy SEAL's challenging yet fulfilling career path by consulting our comprehensive guide on their training.

Navy SEAL Fitness Test

Before getting orders for Navy SEAL training, candidates must pass a demanding fitness test to demonstrate their physical capabilities. This test is crucial for recruiting staff to take you seriously as a potential candidate. A strong performance on the PST will set you up for success in the challenging training program.

Minimum Requirements and Recommended Scores for Each Exercise

The Navy SEAL Physical Screening Test (PST) consists of five exercises: swimming, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and running. To qualify for consideration as a SEAL candidate, you must meet or exceed the following minimum requirements:

  • 500-yard swim using breaststroke or sidestroke - within 12 minutes and 30 seconds
  • 50 push-ups - within two minutes
  • 50 sit-ups - within two minutes
  • 10 pull-ups without touching the ground between repetitions
  • A mile-and-a-half run wearing boots and pants - within ten minutes and thirty seconds.

Beyond meeting these minimums, it's essential to aim higher if possible since competition is fierce among applicants. Strive for optimal scores like completing an eight-minute swim or performing over one hundred pushups in two minutes.

For most, their dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL will end here.

For those who are serious about becoming a Navy SEAL, here are a few tips that may help prepare you for BUD/S:

Mental Preparation Tips:

Visualize yourself completing each evolution (BUD/S event) and never quit during the evolution. It's easy to lose confidence in the middle of a long run while BUD/S instructors are screaming at you.  Don't give in.  Keep going.  One step at a time, moving forward.

Develop a robust support system of friends, family, or fellow aspiring SEALs to help keep you motivated and accountable throughout your training journey.  Motivate other members of your class.  If your strength is running, encourage other members of your class.  Trust me, we all have weaknesses and will sooner or later receive encouragement in return.

Remember, the BUD/S instructors are the gatekeepers to the SEAL community. They're committed to filtering the weak both physically and mentally.  It's their job to harass you and not only take you to your limits but expand them.  If you're not a team player and can not handle mental pressure, your days at BUD/S will be few.  You cannot have an operator tying high explosive det cord who can't perform under pressure.  There's good reason BUD/S is called the most demanding military training in the world.

 Physical Preparation Tips:

Create a balanced workout routine that includes cardiovascular exercises like swimming in cold water similar to water temperatures of the Pacific and running alongside strength-building activities such as push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.   If possible, practice running in boots and soft sand.  Do all you can to imitate PT in Coronado.

Incorporate interval training into your regimen for improved endurance in high-intensity situations.

By dedicating time to both mental and physical preparation, you'll increase your chances of success.

Key Takeaway: 

Before starting Navy SEAL training, candidates must pass a rigorous fitness test called the Physical Screening Test (PST). The PST consists of five exercises: swimming, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and running. To qualify for consideration as a SEAL candidate, you must meet or exceed the minimum requirements set by the Navy, but aiming higher is recommended to increase your chances of success in this demanding program.

Navy Spec War Draft Program

The Navy Spec War Draft program is designed to provide prospective SEAL/SWCC candidates the opportunity to train more effectively before attending boot camp. This extra preparation can be crucial in ensuring success throughout the various stages of intense military training that follow.

Benefits of Participating in the Draft Program

  • Better Preparedness: The draft program allows you to focus on improving your physical fitness, swimming skills, and mental toughness before entering boot camp. This gives participants a head start and an edge over those not participating in the preparatory phase.
  • Mentorship: As part of the Navy Spec War Draft program, you'll have access to experienced mentors who can guide you through your training journey and offer valuable advice on how best to prepare for each stage of the SEAL or SWCC selection process.
  • Pipeline Success Rate: Candidates participating in the draft program have a higher chance of completing their respective pipelines than those not taking advantage of this additional training period. Investing time into proper preparation increases your chances of becoming a Navy SEAL or SWCC operator.

The Navy Spec, War Draft Program provides an excellent opportunity for potential recruits to gain valuable skills and knowledge that will help them succeed in boot camp. By attending the 10-week Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Illinois, participants can further develop their team-building abilities and mental strength to become successful Navy SEALs.

Key Takeaway: 

The Navy Spec War Draft program is a preparatory phase for prospective SEAL/SWCC candidates before attending boot camp. It provides better preparedness mentorship and increases the pipeline success rate by focusing on fitness training, swimming skills, and mental toughness to ensure successful completion of specialized SEAL training like BUD/S & SQT courses.

Importance of Teamwork and Mental Resilience

A key aspect of Navy boot camp is the development of strong teamwork skills and mental resilience. Recruits are organized into divisions, each member relying on their teammates to succeed in various tasks and challenges. This fosters a sense of camaraderie that will be crucial during the more demanding phases of BUD/S training.

The 10-week Navy boot camp at Great Lakes is an essential foundation for aspiring SEALs. It provides them with basic military knowledge and instills vital physical fitness habits while fostering teamwork skills and mental resilience required for advanced specialized training.

Key Takeaway: 

Becoming a Navy SEAL starts with a 10-week introductory training course at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois, which serves as an essential foundation for aspiring SEALs. During this period, candidates undergo various tests and assessments designed to evaluate their skills and readiness while instilling discipline, teamwork, mental resilience, and physical fitness habits required for advanced specialized training.

BUD/S:  Six Months That Many Describe As Unrivaled Torture

After the dust settles and you're finished congratulating yourself for passing the physical test to go to BUD/S, it's time to prepare for the most gripping military training in the world.  Of course, the majority will ring the bronze bell, signifying quitting.  As you know by now, BUD/S is a volunteer in or volunteer out program.

Phases of BUD/S Training 

The BUD/S program consists of three distinct phases lasting six months, each designed to test and develop different aspects of a candidate's abilities:

  1. First Phase: This phase focuses on developing the physical fitness and mental toughness necessary for success in later stages. Activities include timed runs, swims, obstacle courses, and Hell Week - an intense five-day period with minimal sleep of four and a half hours that pushes candidates to their breaking point. Every BUD/S recruit will be made to their max and beyond human capacity.  Like the motto from BUD/S Class 89, "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday."
  2. Second Phase: Also known as the Combat Diving Phase, this stage teaches trainees underwater navigation techniques using open-circuit SCUBA gear. Candidates learn to perform dive physics calculations and become proficient in various diving operations, such as search-and-recovery missions or clandestine infiltrations.
  3. Last Phase: In this final stage, Land Warfare Training, students are taught small unit tactics, including weapons handling, demolitions training, land navigation exercises, and other critical skills needed for SEAL missions. The culmination is a realistic field exercise simulating real-world scenarios where teamwork becomes crucial for survival.  One highlight is that all BUD/S classes will venture to San Clemente Island to blow things up nonstop.

Mental toughness is also critical for success as a SEAL candidate. Throughout BUD/S, trainees face numerous obstacles designed to test their determination, adaptability, and ability to perform under pressure. Developing these qualities early on can significantly improve one's chances of making it through the grueling selection process.

Most BUD/S graduates claim their most significant achievement is graduating from BUD/S training.  It matches any college diploma hanging on the wall no matter how IVY the school may be; it also ranks up there with their firstborn, most birthdays, & anniversaries.

Key Aspects Covered during SQT

Succeeding at BUD/S qualifies you for Seal Qualification Training (SQT), further refining your skills before joining operational teams. Some key areas covered during SQT include:

  • Advanced Combat Skills: Trainees learn advanced marksmanship, close-quarters combat techniques, and sniper training to become proficient in various weapon systems.
  • Parachute Training: Candidates undergo military free-fall and static-line parachute training to master airborne insertion methods for covert operations.
  • Cold Weather & Mountain Warfare: SEALs must be prepared for any environment; therefore, SQT includes survival skills such as cold weather and mountain warfare tactics. This ensures that they can operate effectively in diverse terrains around the world.

In addition to these specialized skill sets, candidates receive instruction on medical procedures, communications equipment usage, mission planning strategies, and intelligence-gathering techniques. Graduates of SQT earn their coveted Navy SEAL Trident insignia and are assigned to operational teams where they continue honing their abilities through real-world missions. For more information about BUD/S school or Seal Qualification Training (SQT), visit the official Navy SEAL website.

Becoming a SEAL demands physical and mental fortitude for yourself and your family, yet the rewards can be significant. Aspiring SEALs should know the financial benefits they will receive while undergoing training.

Key Takeaway: 

Navy SEAL training consists of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school followed by Seal Qualification Training (SQT). BUD/S has three phases that test and develop candidates' physical fitness, mental toughness, underwater navigation techniques, small unit tactics, and other critical skills needed for SEAL missions. SQT further refines their skills before joining operational teams, where they continue honing their abilities through real-world missions.

Military Pay & Allowances During Training

As a Navy SEAL trainee, you can expect military pay and allowances throughout your course. This financial support provides the necessary resources for this arduous period and allows you to concentrate on your training without worrying about finances. In addition to basic military pay, SEAL candidates are eligible for dive pay and special delivery vehicle team compensation.

Breakdown of Pay and Allowances for SEAL Trainees

  • Basic Military Pay: Based on rank and years of service, all military personnel receive basic pay according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) tables. As a recruit starting at E-1 rank, your monthly base salary will be around $1,785 before taxes.
  • Housing Allowance: Depending on whether you live in government-provided or off-base private accommodations, you may qualify for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). BAH rates vary based on location and dependents' status. Check out the current rates using the BAH Calculator.
  • Dive Pay: Upon completion of dive school during BUD/S training phase two, qualified divers receive additional monthly incentive pay ranging from $150 to $340, depending upon their experience level.
  • Special Delivery Vehicle Team Pay: SEALs of Special Delivery Vehicle (SDV) teams receive an additional $150 monthly.

Additional Benefits Provided by the Military

Besides pay and allowances, Navy SEAL trainees enjoy several other benefits provided by the military. Some of these include:

  • Healthcare Coverage: Trainees can access comprehensive healthcare coverage through TRICARE, which covers medical, dental, and vision services for service members and their families.
  • Tuition Assistance & GI Bill: The military offers generous education benefits such as Tuition Assistance programs that cover up to 100% of tuition costs for courses taken during off-duty hours. Additionally, you may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits after completing your training and serving on active duty.
  • Veterans Affairs Home Loans: After meeting eligibility requirements based on length of service, you can take advantage of VA home loan programs offering competitive interest rates with no down payment or private mortgage insurance required. Learn more about this benefit at the VA Home Loan website.

In summary, pursuing a career as a Navy SEAL provides extensive specialized training and ensures financial stability through various forms of compensation and additional military benefits throughout your journey.

Completing Navy SEAL training is a significant accomplishment and will result in generous pay and allowances for the trainee. Upon finishing their training, those who have gone through the Navy SEAL program can take advantage of various recruitment chances to delve into more specialized roles in other branches of the armed forces.

Key Takeaway: 

Navy SEAL trainees receive military pay and allowances, including basic military pay, housing allowance, dive pay, and special delivery vehicle team compensation. They also enjoy additional benefits such as healthcare coverage through TRICARE, education benefits like tuition assistance and the GI Bill, and eligibility for VA home loan programs after meeting service requirements.

Recruitment Opportunities after Completing Training

Upon completing the BUD/S and SQT courses, you will have numerous opportunities to connect with recruiters from different military branches. These connections can help guide your career path as a Navy SEAL or explore other specialized roles within various military units. Let's delve further into the opportunities available.

Different Operational Teams within the Navy SEALs

The Navy SEALs are divided into several operational teams, each with its unique mission focus and skill set requirements. Some examples include:

  • Naval Special Warfare Group 1– based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California
    • SEAL Team 1
    • SEAL Team 3
    • SEAL Team 5
    • SEAL Team 7
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 2– based at the Joint Expeditionary Base–Little Creek in Virginia
    • SEAL Team 2
    • SEAL Team 4
    • SEAL Team 8
    • SEAL Team 10

Your interests and abilities will play a significant role in determining which team is best suited for you. It is essential to research each team thoroughly before making any decisions about your future career path within the Navy SEAL community.

Further Specializations in Other Branches

If you're interested in discovering additional specializations outside of being a Navy SEAL, the US Military offers many stimulating chances to consider. Some popular choices include:

  • Army Special Forces (Green Berets): Focus on unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, and special reconnaissance missions.
  • Air Force Pararescue: Conduct personnel recovery operations in hostile environments and provide emergency medical treatment to injured service members.
  • Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC): Carry out direct action, special reconnaissance, and counter-terrorism missions worldwide.

Each of these elite units has its selection process and training pipeline. It is crucial to research each option thoroughly before deciding which path aligns best with your skills and career goals. Connecting with recruiters from different military branches can help you gain valuable insights into the opportunities available within their respective organizations.

In conclusion, completing Navy SEAL training opens up possibilities for your military career. Whether you choose to serve as part of an operational team within the Navy SEALs or explore further specialization in other branches, numerous exciting paths are available for those who have proven capable of meeting the rigorous demands of this elite community.

Key Takeaway: 

Completing Navy SEAL training opens up possibilities for your military career, including opportunities to connect with recruiters from different military branches and explore other specialized roles within various military units. Your interests and abilities will play a significant role in determining which team best suits you, so it's essential to research each option thoroughly before deciding which path aligns best with your skills and career goals.

FAQs with Navy Seal Training

What is the success rate of Navy SEAL training?

The success rate for Navy SEAL training varies, but on average, only about 20-30% of candidates complete the program. This includes passing the initial fitness test, completing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) School, and SEAL Qualification Training (SQT). The high attrition rate is due to the extreme physical and mental demands placed on trainees.

Is Navy SEAL training really that hard?

Yes, Navy SEAL training is considered one of the most challenging military programs. Candidates must endure intense physical conditioning, sleep deprivation, exposure to harsh environments, and extensive combat skills development. Mental resilience plays a significant role in determining who will succeed in this demanding program.

What is the summary of Navy SEAL training?

Navy SEAL training consists of several stages: passing an initial fitness test; participating in a draft program; attending boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois; completing BUD/S School, which has three phases - essential conditioning phase, diving phase, and land warfare phase; followed by SQT where they learn specialized skills like parachuting and cold weather survival before becoming fully qualified operators.

Why is Navy SEAL training so hard?

Navy SEALs are required to perform highly specialized missions under extremely challenging conditions. Their rigorous training prepares them for these situations by pushing their physical limits while testing their mental fortitude. The difficulty ensures that only those with exceptional determination and commitment become part of this elite force capable of executing critical operations worldwide. Successful BUD/S graduates are prepared for swimming in 55-degree water, timed runs in soft sand wearing combat boots, mentally tenacious, withstanding the endless screams from the BUD/S instructors, and have an all-in no matter how dire the circumstances attitude that never blinks!

How To Become a Navy SEAL Conclusion

In conclusion, to become a Navy SEAL requires rigorous physical and mental training. The fitness test begins a long journey, including boot camp, BUD/S Training, and SQT courses. Nevertheless, with commitment and determination, applicants can be a part of one of the most exclusive forces on earth.  There are few more extraordinary achievements than becoming a Navy SEAL operator.

If you're interested in pursuing Navy SEAL training or learning more about military opportunities, visit for more information on how to get started.

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