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How Do I Become a Paratrooper?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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In order to become a paratrooper, you first need to enlist in the military. At your time of enlistment, you will need to ask about paratrooper school and be accepted into the program. While most branches of the military offer some form of airborne program, the most common way to become a paratrooper is to enlist in the army. In order to become a paratrooper, you must first successfully complete basic training. There are also several other factors that must be considered in order to join the paratrooper ranks, such as finding a job within the military that fits within the needs of the airborne services, meeting particular fitness requirements and achieving a certain score on aptitude testing.

Most military forces around the world offer some type of paratrooper service. While most of the military forces have a branch of airborne troops, the most common branch of service is the army, with other branches including the airborne title in an elite division such as special forces or emergency response teams. This makes enlistment in the army the first step required to become a paratrooper. While the airborne units require representatives of assorted military occupations, the most common position that will allow you to become a paratrooper is an infantry soldier.

Once accepted into military service in the U.S., you will be required to complete your normal basic training and advanced individual training (AIT) before going to basic airborne course (BAC), more commonly known as Jump School. In the United States Army, this is conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia. Completing this three-week course is required in order for you to become a paratrooper. The BAC is divided into three concentrations, consisting of ground, tower and jump weeks. Each week, you must pass a test to become a paratrooper.

The most successful method that will allow you to join the BAC and become a paratrooper is to get the promise of Jump School in writing at the time of your military enlistment. Another method is to request the school while at your permanent party base. This will be the base you are stationed at following your basic training and AIT schooling. This method, while difficult, is occasionally successful. The main issue with this method is that once you have completed the Jump School and have become a paratrooper, you will be required to be stationed at an airborne base.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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