How Many Hours Does MEPS Take? A Complete Guide to MEPS Time Commitment

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

If you’re gearing up for a career in the military, one of the first steps you’ll encounter is the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). This crucial phase assesses your physical, mental, and moral qualifications to ensure you’re fit for service. But how long does this process actually take?

Understanding the time commitment for MEPS can help you prepare better and reduce any anxiety you might have. Typically, the entire process can span several hours, but the exact duration can vary based on a few factors. Let’s break down what you can expect during your MEPS experience.

Understanding MEPS: An Overview

Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is a critical step for those preparing for a military career. MEPS evaluates your physical, mental, and moral qualifications to determine your fitness for service. Understanding the process can help you prepare and alleviate anxiety.

What Is MEPS?

MEPS processes applicants for enlistment. This is where tests and evaluations happen. It’s also where enlistment becomes official if you meet all criteria.

  • Physical Examination: MEPS assesses your overall health. You undergo vision, hearing, and medical tests. This determines if you’re physically fit for military duties.
  • Aptitude Testing: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) evaluates your skills. This test helps find the best job fit within the military.
  • Moral and Legal Standards: MEPS reviews your background. This includes legal issues, drug use, and other factors. The goal is to ensure all recruits meet moral and legal standards.
  • Enlistment Procedures: MEPS includes job selection and enlistment contracts. Once you pass the exams, you choose a job and sign your contract.

The Timeline of MEPS

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) process is meticulous, often consuming most of your day. Here’s what to expect hour by hour.

What to Expect on the Day of MEPS

Arrive early to ensure you’re ready. Initial check-ins usually start by 5:00 or 6:00 AM. Registration involves verifying identification documents and completing necessary paperwork.

Medical screenings follow check-in. These include a thorough physical examination, eyesight and hearing tests, and blood and urine analyses. Doctors check vitals and conduct a general health assessment. Expect this part to take 3-5 hours.

The aptitude test is next. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) measures your knowledge and skills. This computerized test generally lasts about 3 hours.

After testing, you’ll attend a meeting with a career counselor to discuss job opportunities based on your ASVAB scores. This step typically takes about an hour.

Finally, before completing the day, the enlistment process occurs. It includes a background check and fingerprinting. You’ll sign contracts and take the Oath of Enlistment, dedicating about an hour for this part.

Factors That Affect the Duration

Several variables can extend or shorten your time at MEPS. The number of applicants can cause delays, especially during peak recruitment periods when processing times lengthen.

Medical conditions or history can add hours, as additional tests or consultations with specialists may be required. If you need waivers for specific conditions, expect further delays.

Specialty job selections or qualifications can also impact time. If you’re pursuing a career requiring particular clearances, additional paperwork and meetings may ensue.

Even with quick processing, anticipate spending around 8-12 hours at MEPS, accounting for potential delays and the comprehensive nature of the evaluations.

If you know what to expect and prepare accordingly, the experience becomes smoother and less daunting.

Typical Procedures at MEPS

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) handles your entry into the armed forces. A full day there ensures you meet physical, mental, and moral standards.

Medical Examination Phases

Each applicant undergoes a comprehensive medical examination. This process includes a thorough review of medical history, vision and hearing tests, blood and urine analysis, and an orthopedic assessment.

  • Medical History Review: Doctors check your medical records, detailing past illnesses, surgeries, and treatments. Any discrepancies might lead to further inquiries or additional tests.
  • Vision and Hearing Tests: Assessments determine if you meet the visual and auditory requirements. For example, a vision test measures clarity and range, while a hearing test ensures no significant hearing loss.
  • Blood and Urine Analysis: These tests screen for health issues and substance use, checking for conditions like anemia or liver issues alongside illegal drug use.
  • Orthopedic Assessment: Doctors evaluate your musculoskeletal system for abnormalities or injuries. They assess joint function, range of motion, and overall fitness, ensuring no conditions could impede your military duties.

Interview and Testing Procedures

Before enlisting, applicants complete several interviews and tests. Aptitude assessments and moral evaluations ensure readiness for military service.

  • Aptitude Testing: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) measures your strengths and suitability for various military roles. High scores can open opportunities for specialized positions.
  • Moral Evaluation: Background checks and personal interviews assess your character and integrity. Disclosure of legal issues or disciplinary actions is critical for a transparent evaluation process.
  • Career Counseling: Post-testing, a counselor discusses your results, explaining potential career paths. They match your skills to relevant military occupational specialties, helping you choose the best fit.

Understanding these procedures at MEPS can streamline your entry into the military, ensuring you’re prepared and informed for each stage.

Tips for Expediting Your MEPS Experience

Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) evaluations can be time-consuming, but you can take steps to streamline the process. Preparation and understanding streamline the MEPS experience and save valuable time.

Preparing Documents in Advance

Having your documents in order reduces delays at MEPS. Ensure you bring identification (such as a driver’s license or passport), a Social Security card, medical records, and any necessary waivers or consents. Gather educational transcripts and legal documents like marriage certificates if applicable. Organize these documents in a folder for easy accessibility during your appointment.

Understanding and Following Instructions

Know the procedures and follow all instructions precisely. You receive specific guidelines before MEPS, so read them carefully. Instructions often cover dress code, prohibited items, and the sequence of evaluations. Ignoring these can lead to delays or rescheduling. Remember, procedures at MEPS are sequential; one hold-up often cascades into longer waits overall. Ensure punctuality and comply with directions to expedite your processing.


Exploring the MEPS process is a crucial step in your military journey. By understanding what to expect and preparing accordingly, you can make the experience smoother and more efficient. Ensuring you have all necessary documents ready, following instructions closely, and arriving on time can significantly reduce the time you spend at MEPS. This preparation not only helps you move through the steps more quickly but also sets a positive tone for your future military career. Remember, a well-prepared applicant is a successful applicant.


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