Are You Officially Enlisted After MEPS? Find Out Here

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Thinking about joining the military can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. One of the big questions you might have is whether you’re officially enlisted after completing your visit to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). This step is crucial in your journey, but understanding what happens next can clear up any confusion.

At MEPS, you’ll undergo a series of medical exams, aptitude tests, and background checks. While passing these assessments is a significant milestone, it’s not the final step in your enlistment process. So, what really happens after MEPS? Let’s break it down so you know exactly where you stand and what to expect moving forward.

Understanding the MEPS Process

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) process is a critical step in joining the military. This section details what happens at MEPS and its role in military enlistment.

What Happens During MEPS?

At MEPS, you undergo several procedures to determine your qualifications for military service. The process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Medical Examination: A thorough medical examination is conducted to ensure you meet health and fitness standards. This includes vision, hearing, and drug tests.
  2. Aptitude Testing: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test assesses your skills and abilities in various areas to match you with suitable military occupations.
  3. Background Check: A background check verifies your criminal history and suitability for military service.
  4. Interview: You participate in an interview to discuss your motivations and ensure your understanding of military life and obligations.

These steps confirm that you are physically, mentally, and morally fit to serve in the military.

The Role of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS acts as a gatekeeper in the enlistment process. Completing MEPS is necessary before officially joining the military, but it doesn’t mean you’re already enlisted. If you pass all evaluations at MEPS, you might sign an enlistment contract. But, final enlistment often depends on additional training, such as attending boot camp.

MEPS ensures that only qualified individuals proceed to the next stages of military training and service. It verifies your readiness and commitment to serve in the armed forces. This process eliminates any uncertainties about your qualifications and helps streamline your entry into the military.

By understanding the MEPS process, you can better prepare and anticipate the steps toward your military career.

Are You Officially Enlisted After MEPS?

Completing the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) process is essential, but it does not mean you’re immediately enlisted. The next steps depend on your specific branch and situation. Let’s investigate into what “officially enlisted” means and where MEPS fits in the enlistment timeline.

What “Officially Enlisted” Means

Being “officially enlisted” means you’ve taken the Oath of Enlistment and signed your enlistment contract. This occurs after successful completion of MEPS but isn’t limited to it. You might wait days or weeks between MEPS and your swearing-in ceremony, depending on various factors.

MEPS validates your physical, mental, and moral qualifications for military service, but the final enlistment happens at a later stage. Once you’ve passed MEPS, expect to coordinate with your recruiter to complete the enlistment contract and other formalities.

How MEPS Fits Into the Enlistment Timeline

MEPS is a middle step in the enlistment process, bridging initial recruitment and final enlistment. It includes medical examinations, aptitude testing, and background checks. Here’s a rough timeline to illustrate:

  1. Initial Contact: Meet with a recruiter and express interest in joining the military.
  2. Pre-Screening: Fill out forms and provide documentation for initial eligibility checks.
  3. MEPS: Undergo medical tests, take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), and complete a background check.
  4. Delayed Entry Program (DEP): Join DEP if needed, awaiting an available training slot.
  5. Oath of Enlistment: Swear in and sign your enlistment contract, officially joining the military.

It’s critical to understand that while MEPS is a significant step, it doesn’t signify the end of the process. Further coordination with recruiters, completion of DEP, and other formalities determine your official status.

Post-MEPS Steps

Upon completing MEPS, you’ve cleared a significant hurdle on your path to military service. So, what’s next? Let’s break it down.

Taking the Oath of Enlistment

The Oath of Enlistment marks your official entry into the military. You’ll swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies. This ceremonial step takes place after passing the MEPS evaluations and discussing your contract, including job assignment and enlistment term, with a career counselor. It’s a formal commitment, transforming you from a recruit to an active member of the armed forces.

Future Training and Deployment

After taking the oath, Basic Training or boot camp comes next. Depending on your chosen service branch, you’ll go through weeks of rigorous physical and mental preparation. For instance, Army Basic Combat Training (BCT) lasts about 10 weeks, while Marine Corps Recruit Training can extend up to 13 weeks. Training instills discipline, fitness, and military skills crucial for your role. Following basic training, service members often receive additional assignments or advanced individual training (AIT) to hone specific job-related skills before deploying. Your training and deployment path will shape your early military career and capabilities.

Understanding these steps and their significance post-MEPS helps you prepare for the journey ahead.

Common Misconceptions About MEPS

You might think that passing MEPS means you’re officially in the military. That’s a common misunderstanding. MEPS is just a step in the enlistment process. Let’s clear up some misconceptions.

MEPS vs. Basic Training

MEPS and Basic Training serve different purposes. At MEPS, you undergo medical examinations, aptitude tests, and background checks. It’s about determining your eligibility. Basic Training, on the other hand, is where you transform from civilian to soldier. It’s rigorous, involving physical conditioning, drill instruction, and military education. For instance, while MEPS checks your vision and hearing, Basic Training teaches you how to handle a rifle and follow military protocols.

Legal and Commitment Implications

Another misconception involves the legal and commitment aspects post-MEPS. Passing MEPS doesn’t legally bind you to military service. You commit to the military when you take the Oath of Enlistment. This oath is a formal declaration that binds you to defend the Constitution and obey military orders. If you have doubts after MEPS, you can still withdraw from the process. But, once you take the oath, you’re legally and morally obligated to fulfill your service commitment.

Understanding these misconceptions can prepare you better for the journey ahead.


Understanding the role of MEPS in your military journey is crucial. While MEPS is essential for assessing your eligibility, it’s the Oath of Enlistment that officially marks your commitment to serve. This step legally binds you to defend the Constitution and sets the stage for Basic Training. By grasping these distinctions and the implications of each phase, you can better prepare for the path ahead. Your journey from MEPS to Basic Training is a significant transition, one that requires both mental and physical readiness. Stay informed and committed as you take these important steps towards serving your country.


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