Training – Becoming a Navy SEAL

Navy SEALs Training


After selecting the SEAL option, recruits begin a long, arduous but rewarding process that will push their physical and mental strength to its extreme limits.

The Navy SEALs training process will begin after completing boot camp, when SEAL candidates attend the Naval Special Warfare Prepatory School. After the 12-week school, candidates then go through 3 weeks of the SEAL Indoctrination Course. These programs are designed to prepare candidates for the intensity that they will face during the upcoming training:

Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL (BUD/S) The most well-known step in Navy SEALs training, BUD/S is the backbone in the development of Navy SEALs. The 24-week course consists of 3 main phases:

Phase I: Basic Conditioning

The first phase of BUD/S is all about physical endurance and mental toughness. Candidates are assessed on the various skills that they must possess in order to excel in the unconventional warfare environment. They are placed in boat teams of 6 – 8 crewmembers and are trained in the use of teamwork as well as individual skills.

The climax of this phase is hell week, which usually takes place during week 4. During hell week, recruits are submitted to over 5 days of constant grueling activity: over 130 straight hours of intense training with only around 4 hours of sleep the entire week! This week requires the utmost determination and mental tenacity.

Phase II: Diving

Physical training continues to grow in intensity during this phase. However, candidates’ training begins to focus on the skillset that makes US Navy SEALs different than any other unit in the US military: combat diving. Candidates learn about everything from basic swimming techniques to the complex diving systems that enable them to complete long distance dives to infiltrate heavily defended targets.

Phase III: Land Warfare

The final phase of BUD/S, which is 9 weeks long, is where the remaining SEAL candidates learn to fight as a unit using small-unit tactics. Other important skills that the candidates are taught at this phase are the use of demolitions, how to run patrols, and land navigation. Of course, the physical conditioning during this phase grows in intensity as the candidates approach graduation.

SEAL Qualification Training (SQT)
SQT is the next step in Navy SEALs training after the completion of BUD/S. The course, which is 16 weeks in length, is focused on the development of each individual candidate as a member of a small fireteam. Candidates’ leadership abilities are pushed to the limit as they learn a variety of skills such as heavy weapons, close quarters combat (CQB), first aid, demolitions, and an assortment of air/land operations. This course also involves SERE school (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) in which candidates are taught how to survive behind enemy lines while avoiding detection/capture.


After the completion of SQT, candidates are awarded the most prestigious emblem in the US Navy: the SEAL Trident. The trident is a symbol of all the blood and sweat that the SEALs put into their training as candidates.