How to Become a Navy Seal: What You Need to Know

Becoming a Navy SEAL is one of the most brutal and treacherous tasks known to man. In fact, less than 1 in 4 SEAL hopefuls make it through the training program.

There's no sugarcoating how dangerous Navy SEAL training can be. Some have even died in the past.

Want to know what prospects go through to join one of the most prestigious military units in the world? Let's look at how to become a Navy SEAL.

Keep reading to learn more.

How to Become a Navy SEAL: The First Requirements

It's no surprise that there are several requirements needed to get through the perilous Navy SEAL training program. Even some of the greatest athletes in the world have tried to make it through — and failed.

If you want to join the club, be prepared for at least a year and a half of Navy SEAL Bootcamp. Even after you make it through the initial training, you'll need an additional year of training and will continue to train throughout your career.

Before even joining the program, you'll need to prepare intensely just to meet the minimum requirements needed to get through BootCamp. You'll need physical strength, mental strength, endurance, and grit.

It's important to note that age is important as well. If you're older than 28, you'll need to get specially approved to join the training, and those are only 29 or 30-year-olds that have special operations knowledge or skills.

Preliminary Assessment

If you want to get ready for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School (BUD/S), you'll need to pass strict requirements. You won't need a college degree, but you'll need to be between 17 and 28 and pass four tests.

  1. Pre-enlistment medical screening
  2. Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
  3. Computerized-Special Operations Resilience Test (C-SORT)
  4. Physical Screening Test (PST)

The ASVAB is used to analyze a recruit's learning ability and mental aptitude. Those that want to train to become a SEAL must get the following scores:

  • MC = at least a score of 50
  • VE + AR = at least a score of 110
  • GS + MC + EI = at least a score of 170
  • VE + MK + MC + CS = at least a score of 220

The C-SORT is used to see a recruit's resilience and mental toughness. There are three categories: performance strategies, psychological resilience, and personality traits. Each range from 1 to 4, with 4 being the best.

Lastly, they must meet the minimum requirements for the PST. They are as follows:

Navy SEAL Enlisted:

  • Swim 500 yards (side or breast stroke) — Optimum (9:30) — Minimum (12:30)
  • Push-up — Optimum (75) — Minimum (50)
  • Curl-up — Optimum (75) — Minimum (50)
  • Pull-up — Optimum (15) — Minimum (10)
  • 1.5-mile run — Optimum (9:30) — Minimum (10:30)

Navy SEAL Officer:

  • Swim 500 yards (side or breast stroke) — Optimum (8:25) — Minimum (12:30)
  • Push-up — Optimum (98) — Minimum (50)
  • Curl-up — Optimum (91) — Minimum (50)
  • Pull-up — Optimum (21) — Minimum (10)
  • 1.5-mile run — Optimum (8:59) — Minimum (10:30)

Needless to say, just meeting the minimum Navy SEAL requirements can be grueling.

Navy SEAL Training Stages

If you want a career as a Navy SEAL, you'll need to pass several stages of training first. Let's take a look at them.

Stage 1: Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School (NSW Prep)

This stage has many prerequisites to ensure that you'll survive the rest of the training, including tests on physical fitness, mental toughness, and academic topics.

By the end, they should be able to complete the following PST:

  • 1000-yard swim with fins in under 20 minutes
  • At least 70 push-ups within 2 minutes
  • At least 10 pull-ups within two minutes
  • At least 60 curl-ups within two minutes
  • Complete a four-mile run with shoes and pants in under 31 minutes

If they pass this, they move on to the next stage.

Stage 2: Naval Special Warfare Orientation (NSWO)

The next stage is the famous BUD/S training in Coronado, California. This three-week stage helps train prospects in the special operations training lifestyle.

They must finish a brutal obstacle course, improve their swimming skills, and learn the value of perseverance and teamwork. Instructors will begin finding trainees who show high integrity and exceptional skills. They then head to underwater demolition training.

Stage 3: First Phase — Basic Conditioning

Trainees begin "hell week" — 7 weeks of intense training. Here, they'll focus on:

  • Water competency
  • Physical training
  • Mental tenacity
  • Teamwork development
  • Conduct hydrographic survey operations

Every week, performance requirements increase. They'll need to swim more, run more, and complete harder calisthenic exercises. They are timed in intense four-mile runs, two-mile swims, and obstacle courses.

They only get 4 hours of sleep during a five-and-a-half day period. This means they're pushing their body to the limit for 20 hours at a time.

At this point, a significant amount of candidates start dropping out.

Stage 4: Second Phase — Combat Diving

Navy SEALs have to be experts when it comes to operating underwater. This training teaches them to become basic combat swimmers in stressful and uncomfortable environments.

Those that don't enjoy water environments rarely make it through this phase.

Stage 5: Third Phase — Land Warfare Training

Only the strongest candidates with the highest commitment make it to this phase. It has the lowest dropout rate because of this.

This training session focuses on:

  • Patrolling
  • Navigation
  • Demolitions
  • Marksmanship
  • Basic Weapons
  • Rappeling and other combat tactics

During this phase, trainees will spend a lot of time in the classroom to learn how to gather and process information in the field. The final three and a half weeks are spent on Catalina Island, practicing what they learned with real missions in a simulated environment.

Stage 6: Seal Qualification Training (SQT)

The final stage of Navy SEAL training is the longest one at 26 weeks. Here, prospects will focus on advanced tactical training.

Stage 6 training includes learning:

  • Weapons training
  • Medical skills
  • Maritime operations
  • Land navigation
  • Small unit tactics
  • Demolitions
  • Cold weather training

SERE training represents survival, evasion, resistance, and escape.

SQT training also qualifies candidates in skills like static-line parachute operations and freefall parachute operations.

When they complete this training, the prospects finally receive their SEAL trident and are assigned to a SEAL team. There, they undergo another year of training until they are finally deployed.

Think You Have What It Takes?

Now that you know how to become a Navy SEAL, do you think you have what it takes to become one of the world's finest military members?

There's only one way to find out. You can start training on your own and see how you compare with the information we've provided above.

If you'd like to learn more and stay up to date with the Navy SEALs, make sure to check out our other articles.

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