Age Requirements for the U.S. Army Rangers

SFC Petry also had to meet age requirements to become a Ranger.
i Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The United States Army Rangers leads the way, securing strategic locations and reconnoitering enemy positions well in advance of a formal invasion or attack. The appeal of becoming a Ranger to those with the right physical and mental constitution is considerable – as a Ranger, the soldier represents some of the finest special operations soldiers in the world.

Entrance Requirements

    Ranger prospects cannot enter directly into Ranger School without first completing Basic Training and the Army's Airborne School. As such, they must meet the Army's entrance requirements for age. Ranger School applicants must be male and 18 years of age, or 17 with parental approval. Although 41 is the maximum age for an Army applicant, it must be remembered that only the most physically-fit individuals have much of a chance in making it through the School. However, since the Army wants applicants that are already proven soldiers, competency and ability carry greater weight than age when it comes to Ranger School applicant consideration.

Officers and Ranking Requirements

    Officers and enlisted Army personnel must meet not only age requirements, but be within certain rank brackets as well. For example, enlisted individuals must simply make it through the various schooling needed in becoming a Ranger. Officers, however, must be between the ranks of first lieutenant and major. Newly-commissioned officers cannot join yet, while existing officers must apply prior to promotion into administrative or larger battalion-level positions.

Experience Matters

    Ranger School is already very good at weeding out those less-than-ideal applicants. Although "official" age and rank requirements are in place for applying to the School, the reality is that the Rangers consistently desire those with proven leadership and experience. A prime example of this are the recruiting efforts from 2009 to 2011, where the Rangers were actively seeking experienced non-commissioned officers at the staff sergeant level – and higher – to apply.

Talents and Training

    Age and experience matter to Rangers as much as MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty. Infantry is always accepted – as the Rangers are effectively a Light Infantry unit – but other MOS such as Artillery, Linguists and even Career Counselors are encouraged to join. The Rangers seek out personnel who are effective on the battlefield, as well as gleaning intelligence data and fulfilling effective support roles. Ranger School is, however, equally tough for all applicants.

the nest