I’ve had several inquiries about changes to the minimum AFQT and line scores necessary to enlist and/or qualify for certain jobs in the military. Their assumption was that these minimum scores hold true in all occasions and at all times which isn’t the case.
The numbers provided by the military and republished on this web site are guidelines only and are subject to change at any time. The documentation of these changes lags well behind the actual changes so it’s important to check with your recruiter to determine the exact minimums in place at the time you’re going to take your ASVAB test.
Minimum scores for the Reserves and National Guard also change and are typically much higher than those for active duty military.
Why do the ASVAB minimum scores change?
Due to budgetary and logistics constraints, the military only has so many openings within a given time period. That includes openings for enlistment and openings in the various jobs each service branch offers.
If the military were a commercial business they could just stop accepting applicants but, for various reasons (legal and otherwise) that I won’t get into here, not accepting applicants even for a short period of time isn’t an option.
When a service branch is near a cap on enlistment or job openings they need a quick and easy way to reduce the number of people who are eligible for enlistment or who qualify for training in those jobs. To do this they raise the minimum AFQT or line scores necessary to enlist or to qualify for those jobs.
Because these scores may change frequently, they don’t bother to update the official documented minimum scores with every change and rely on recruiters to inform applicants of the most up-to-date minimum scores.
Currently, the minimum AFQT score necessary to enlist is now higher than the minimums for most service branches (again – consult your recruiter for specific details). This just underscores the need to prepare effectively for the ASVAB test – it’s only getting harder to get the branch and job you want with low to average scores.