Qualifications for a Woman to Join the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is available to all American citizens who qualify. Women in the Army are allowed to go on combat missions, as of March 2011. If you are a woman considering enlisting, you may wonder what the qualifications are for a woman to join the Army. This information will allow you to go into the recruiter's office knowing what to expect.

General Requirements

The general requirements for women joining the U.S. Army are the same as for men in many respects. You must be an American citizen, pass an aptitude test and have a high school diploma. You can't have more than two dependents and must be between the ages of 17 and 34. The place where requirements differ between genders are very specific. There are different requirements for men and women as regards height, weight, body fat percentage and physical fitness test.

Height and Weight

The Army has height and weight requirements for women that are separate from those for men. Height is the primary factor and women wishing to enlist must be between 58 and 80 inches tall. Weight requirements are a factor of height, though the overall tolerances are 91 pounds and 236 pounds. Age is another factor in weight requirements with older women allowed to weigh more than younger women. There are tighter weight requirements for younger women.

Physical Fitness Test

Every member of the Army must take a physical fitness test once a year. This is a three-part test consisting of pushups, situps and jogging. The degree to which you must perform is based on age. Standards are higher for younger women than older women. The minimum number of pushups ranges between seven and 19, based on age. Situp requirements range from 26 to 53 and the two-mile jogs must be completed between 18 minutes, 54 seconds and 25 minutes.

Body Fat

The Department of Defense sets body fat requirements for female soldiers. All recruits are urged to keep their body fat beneath 26 percent. However the actual requirements are less stringent. The youngest women are allowed to have a body fat as high as 30 percent. The body fat limit is increased by 2 percent for each subsequent age group until it reaches the maximum of 36 percent for the oldest women in the military.