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Can Civilians Get Military Training?

Military training is intended to be difficult to help shape recruits into soldiers. Civilians occasionally wonder whether they could handle the same grueling training. Some civilians may also want to improve their physical conditioning or learn how to handle firearms. So, is military training available to civilians?

TLDR – Civilians can get military training through private training courses. Private military training for civilians is designed and managed by former members of the military, offering a realistic training experience for civilians.


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How to Get Military Training Without Joining?

Civilians cannot participate in the same training completed by recruits during boot camp. The only way to receive military training without joining is to enroll in a private military training course. There is a wide range of training courses available.

The most effective military-style training courses are offered by experts in their fields, including experts in firearms, close combat, and physical training. Some courses focus on specific skills, such as firearms training or combat techniques.

Military soldiers training rope climbing
Yay Military soldiers training rope climbing

You may also find training courses that combine skills to recreate the training regimes employed by the Marines or the Army. These courses often last multiple days in remote areas. You may even stay in barracks and have a drill sergeant waking you up each morning.

Civilians have access to military training for all types of skill levels. You can decide on the intensity of the experience that you want. For example, if you want to learn how to properly fire a gun or develop your self-defense skills, you can take individual courses or private lessons. If you want an immersive training experience, you may need to sign-up for a military-style boot camp.


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What Kind of Training Do You Need to Join the Military?

Civilians do not need any special training before enlisting in a branch of the military. To enlist, individuals need to be enrolled in high school, possess a high school diploma, or possess a GED.

Candidates also need to pass a physical fitness test. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requires candidates to complete push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. The US Army and other branches also have height, weight, and age requirements. Candidates must be at least 17 years of age and under the age of 35.


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What Is the Hardest Training in the Military?

Almost every veteran from any branch of the military claims that their training was the hardest. The best way to evaluate the difficulty of military training is to look at the attrition rates. The attrition rate is the percentage of candidates that drop out of the training before completion.

Training for the US Army Special Forces has one of the highest attrition rates. Each year, about 3000 soldiers apply for the Special Forces. Only about 936 moved on to the training course in 2019. Of those who participated in the training, about 30% complete training.

Military soldiers training
Yay Military soldiers training

The US Navy SEAL Team also has a high dropout rate. About 80% to 85% of candidates do not complete the training to become a Navy SEAL. However, there is a major difference between Special Forces and Navy SEAL training courses.

A larger portion of the Navy SEAL candidates is civilian recruits, which means that they did not have any prior military experience. Most of the candidates for the Special Forces are enlisted personnel. They have already completed basic training.

While most applicants are already enlisted personnel with a rank of E-3 or higher, civilian recruits can apply to the Special Forces. However, candidates must be active members of the National Guard and at least 20 years of age.


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Can You Back Out of Military Training?

A recruit can decide to quit the military before, during, or after basic training. However, leaving the military is not always easy. Recruits sign a contract with the government, which is hard to back out of after arriving for training.

Before training starts, recruits go through the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). This allows you to quit by filing a formal request. While the military is not required to accept the request, they typically do.

After training starts, the only way to quit is through entry-level separation. Recruits can leave service without penalty during their first 180 days of enlistment. The main caveat is that recruits cannot make the request themselves. An entry-level separation must be proposed by a commanding officer, a counselor, a military psychiatrist, or the military chaplain.

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