While your AFQT score qualifies you for enlistment, the other five ASVAB subtests determine for which jobs you’ll qualify. These subtest scores are combined into various combinations to make up your composite scores or line scores.
The individual military branches have determined what minimum line scores are required to successfully complete their various job training programs. Note that these scores are only used to determine if you qualify for entry into the training program and not if you qualify to do a certain job on day one.
Nearly all of the enlisted jobs in the military are entry-level positions. In the civilian world hiring for these positions would be based on an applicant’s past education or job history but the military is only looking to determine if a candidate for a certain job has a good potential to be able to be trained for that job.
So, if you want to be a computer programmer in the military you don’t have to have any previous programming experience or even computer experience! All they’re interested in is if you have qualifying line scores on your ASVAB test that indicate you could successfully complete the training program for computer programming.
Each branch has its own individual system of line scores and recruiters and job placement specialists use these scores along with eligibility for security clearance, medical considerations, and physical fitness to match an applicant to available military jobs. Depending on the branch you’re entering you also may have your job guaranteed to be waiting for you when you enlist.
To summarize ASVAB scoring, here are the three main types of ASVAB scores and their purpose:
- Standard Score
Your score on individual ASVAB subtest sections. You’ll have one score for each section (Arithmetic Reasoning, Verbal Expression, etc.)
- Line Score
Combines various standard scores into more specific aptitude scores that military branches use for job qualification.
- AFQT Score
Calculated from the four English and Math subtests and used to determine overall enlistment qualification. If you don’t meet a minimum AFQT score you’ll be ineligible for enlistment. (The following links show AFQT score requirements for the various service branches: Air Force ASVAB, Army ASVAB, Coast Guard ASVAB, Marines ASVAB, and Navy ASVAB).