Army Ranger students learning proper patrol techniques
Army Ranger students learning proper patrol techniques

Soldiers in the United States Army's 75th Ranger Regiment are some of the finest combat troops the service has to offer. In order to become an Army Ranger, soldiers must be in excellent physical condition, intelligent and be exceptionally qualified within their military occupational specialty. In addition to these qualifications, Army Rangers must meet certain basic age criteria in order to be considered for selection and assignment.

Basic Age Requirements

Army Ranger in camouflage during training
Army Ranger in camouflage during training

There are technically no specific age requirements for soldiers seeking to become Army Rangers. Thus, the effective age limits are the same as those required to join the Army in the first place. Applicants must be at least 17 years old (or 18 without parental permission) and no older than 41 years old.

While these are the minimum and maximum ages, however, keep in mind the Army Rangers must be both extremely qualified in their job field and in excellent physical fitness [Reference 2]. Thus, the odds of an 18-year-old with little Army experience being accepted into the 75th Ranger Regiment are slim to none. In the same vein, a 40-year-old applicant whose best athletic days have passed him by is just as likely to be passed over.

Officer Age Requirements

U.S. Army Ranger rappels down tower
U.S. Army Ranger rappels down tower

The Rangers do not put an age limit on officers looking to join the regiment. However, they must be ranked between first lieutenant and major (O-2 to O-4). This means newly commissioned officers are not eligible to join, while officers ranked O-5 and above are no longer able to apply.

Because officers cannot earn their commission without a bachelor's degree, most do not join the Army until their 21st or 22nd birthday. It also takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to get promoted to O-2 following entry to the Army, so the effective minimum age to join the Rangers for officers is around 23 to 24 years old. Officers can then continue to apply until they are promoted to O-5.

Encouraged Ages

Army Ranger patch with US Flag
Army Ranger patch with US Flag

The 75th Ranger Regiment also encourages soldiers in certain jobs and of certain experience levels to join its ranks according to need. For example, in 2010, the Rangers were looking for infantrymen ranked E-6 or above to apply. In general, more experienced applicants bring more to the table for the Rangers, so those who have become non-commissioned officers may stand a better chance for selection. Because it takes, at minimum, 36 months to become an NCO (E-5), many soldiers may find themselves waiting until at least 20 to 21 years of age before becoming competitive for Ranger selection.