Can someone in a wheelchair join the military? My best friend who also uses a mobility device asked me this question because he wanted to serve.
Do you also want to do military service? I’ll tell you what career choices you have. Read more to find out!
Can You Join the Military in a Wheelchair?
Yes, but according to a Red&Black column, it is not typical for people with mobility disability issues to enroll for service. (1)
The military is demanding, and there is no room for individuals to pose actual risks to themselves and others.
You may fail the rigorous training because of your physical disability. All applicants must pass a medical entrance exam that tests fitness, height, hearing, vision, and weight. (2)
Despite these limitations, the military is vast and disabled people can enjoy non-combat roles. Giving people with mobility disability issues access to programs is also beneficial to the nation.
READ MORE: How to Lose Weight in a Wheelchair
Military Requirements for Wheelchair Candidates
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees equal opportunities for candidates with disabilities. So, can someone in a wheelchair join the military? Yes!
You can qualify for active service duty in non-combat roles if you meet the following conditions.
To undergo basic military admission, you must be 17 or 18 years of age. But note that a 17-year-old needs parental consent.
You must be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent residence permit (green card).
People from American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Puerto Rico are considered U.S. citizens.
Proven educational background is a primary ticket for entry into any military branch. A high school diploma is preferable, but a General Education Development (GED) is acceptable in specific situations.
Six US military branches offer protection services for people across the country. So check the requirements for the branch you want to join with a recruiter. (3)
Military Positions for Wheelchair Users
There are a number of opportunities to support the sector where you can provide technical assistance to individuals in uniform.
Here are five military jobs for disabled people using assistive devices.
1. Army Physician Assistant
Medical services are the military’s most enforceable responsibility to its service members. Because of the intensity involved, soldiers are prone to injuries that can be life-threatening.
An army physician assistant works with physicians caring for active duty personnel and their families. You can also operate health equipment, do blood and tissue samples, and others. (4)
Pharmacists ensure that individuals in uniform recover from ailments like severe burns or fractures through the proper administration of medical prescriptions, dosages, and refills if needed.
You will also educate your patients on crucial drug information, like side effects.
With technological advances, battery-powered wheelchairs can help increase your efficiency.
Money management is important in the military since the sector spends billions each year. According to Macrotrends, the United States military budget stood at $778.23B in 2020. (5)
Accounting specialties differ, and qualified manual wheelchair users can get an opportunity. You can get your accounting degree through special programs offered in five U.S. military academies.
Check our list of different types of manual wheelchairs.
4. Military Counselor
As a military counselor, you must counsel in an empathetic and assuring way.
You will also likely be working in a Veterans Administration hospital to attend on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also become a military counselor working alone or as a team in private practice.
Here is a video from USAG Stuttgart on what military counselors do.
5. Software Developer/Programmer
Advances in technology have changed how the military gets and processes information.
Top military functions rely on computers now. That’s why the military needs experts writing advanced programs and updating existing ones.
You will probably work aboard military ships and bases or even in offices. Since the military is a public entity, you will have accessible parking spaces and other benefits of membership.
Also Check: How Can I Be Confident in a Wheelchair?
1. Does the ADA apply to the military?
Yes, the Americans with Disabilities Act covers every individual with mobility disability issues. All public entities are subject to the ADA’s regulations.
2. Does the military accept disabled individuals?
Generally, the military doesn’t accept people living with disabilities because of the physical demands combat roles need. But it has other job opportunities for candidates with disabilities.
3. Can you join the navy with cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is not a disqualifying condition for the military, but the disorder’s symptoms are. Once diagnosed with this neurological disability, you will be turned away.
4. Can I join the military with metal implants?
It depends on the health condition needing orthopedic implants. Permanently attached metal implants disqualify you, but if the complication is not recurrent, you may be eligible for a waiver.
The question of “can someone in a wheelchair join the military” is tricky and needs a deeper insight. But people with mobility disability issues have other explorable special programs.
You can provide technical assistance, medical services, counseling, and money management services. Your valuable skills can help in military functions.
- 1. Sullivan J. GUEST COLUMN: Letting disabled people into the U.S. military makes social and fiscal sense [Internet]. The Red and Black. 2018 [cited 2022 Sep 7]. Available from: https://www.redandblack.com/opinion/guest-column-letting-disabled-people-into-the-u-s-military-makes-social-and-fiscal-sense/article_dbb08d22-eba2-11e8-b198-cb27834f8c5e.html
- 2. Enlisting in the Military — Today’s Military [Internet]. www.todaysmilitary.com. Available from: https://www.todaysmilitary.com/joining-eligibility/enlisting-military#jump-step-1%3a-take-the-armed-services-vocational-aptitude-battery-asvab
- 3. Join the Military | USAGov [Internet]. Usa.gov. 2019. Available from: https://www.usa.gov/join-military
- 4. Luckwaldt A. Army Physician Assistant Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More [Internet]. The Balance Careers. 2019 [cited 2022 Sep 7]. Available from: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/career-profile-army-physician-assistant-2356460#:~:text=Army%20PAs%20work%20with%20physicians
- 5. MacroTrends. U.S. Military Spending/Defense Budget 1960-2020 [Internet]. Macrotrends.net. 2020. Available from: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/military-spending-defense-budget
16 thoughts on “Can Someone in a Wheelchair Join the Military? [Requirements]”
We’re a military family so did know the answer: yes! I have seen many soldiers in wheelchairs! They do an amazing job.
This is good info to know. That way people who have disabilities can serve the country.
This post is really informative, thanks for sharing the various roles.
This is great to know. I honestly didn’t know this. It’s wonderful to know those in wheelchairs can join the military too.
I automatically thought of IT jobs when I thought of careers for people with disability issues in the military. That’s good to know they do accept them as long as they pass the entrance requirements!
I found this very interesting and enlightening. I hope anyone who wants a career in the military finds this post.
I did not know that the answer was yes, but it does make sense that it would be an option, it’s wonderful that everyone has the chance to serve if willing.
I’m glad to know that there are important jobs for people with mobility disabilities in the military.
It’s wonderful that even the military is willing to work with disabilities to allow those to serve as well.
I always thought that they turned away most disabilities due to the nature of the job requirements. Yes, you can get a waiver for some things. I tried joining way before I found out that I had major back issues. I’m thankful it didn’t work out. But the Navy was impressed with my knowledge.
I am glad to know that there is always a place in military for a person in wheelchair! I think that everyone should have a chance like that!
That is awesome to know. An individual in a wheelchair should be given equal opportunities.
Oh, wow! I had no idea that people in a wheelchair could join the military. I just assumed that they couldn’t because my son had to jump through so many hoops to get in, and he’s just color blind.
Thanks for this post. Coming from a military family, there are so many opportunities for anyone to be part of such a great institution as our military.
I had no idea. It feels good to see that there is a place for everyone.
I atone point wanted to go to West Point and then join the military. My father and grandfather post retired as offers.. my dad was an IT officer for the Navy. I love that there are posotions for all!