Any gender can apply for Navy SEAL training, or what the Navy calls, “BUD/S” (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training.

Brief History of the SEAL Teams

President John F. Kennedy, aware of the situation in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for unconventional warfare and special operations as a measure against guerrilla warfare. In a speech, to Congress, on 25 May 1961, Kennedy spoke of his deep respect for the United States Army Special Forces. While his announcement of the government’s plan to put a man on the moon drew most of the attention, in the same speech he announced his intention to spend over $100 million to strengthen U.S. special operations forces and expand American capabilities in unconventional warfare. Some people erroneously credit President Kennedy with creating the Navy SEALs. His announcement was actually only a formal acknowledgment of a process that had been underway since the Korean War.

Below is a quick summary of the basic entry requirements. You have to be a U.S. citizen to apply for training, although some allied countries have sent troops to train at BUD/S.

Physical Entrance STANDARDS FOR BUD/S

Exercise Time Rest Average Minimum
Swim 500 yards (breast or sidestroke) Unlimited 10:00 minutes 9:30 12:30
Push-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 75 50
Curl-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 75 50
Pull-up 2:00 minutes 2:00 minutes 15 10
Run 1.5 miles Unlimited Event over 9:30 10:30

These are relatively easy. To be REALLY prepared you should be able to double the push-ups, pull-ups, and curl-ups listed. Run and swim times will naturally come down in training but do double these and you’re in good shape.


SEAL candidates must be 28 or less prior to arriving at NSW Prep School. Candidates aged 29 or 30 will be considered for a waiver if they meet the needs of the community.


SEAL or SWCC training is open to anyone who can meet the standards.


The military has an admissions test, just like colleges have the SAT or ACT. It is called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB. It has several sections, each focusing on a different aspect, such as math, reading, and mechanical comprehension. This is how the Navy classifies you as competent for various jobs. A Navy recruiter will explain the details, but the standard is different for SEAL and SWCC applicants.

To qualify for SEAL, you must score at least one of the following on the ASVAB: