Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

Once you've visited your local recruiting station and your recruiter has done all the initial paperwork and screenings, qualified applicants will be taken to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). MEPS performs thorough physicals for each potential recruit and determines their PULHES physical rating. MEPS also administers the ASVAB test if required and it is also where you choose your MOS (job).

Transportation to MEPS

Your Recruiter will provide transportation to the closest MEPS, which is usually a long car ride. Following is the list of MEPS location throughout the United States (one is located in Puerto Rico as well):

Eastern United States MEPS locations: Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore, Beckley, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Fort Dix, Fort Jackson, Fort Lee, Harrisburg, Indianapolis, Jackson, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Lansing, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Montgomery, Nashville, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, ME, Raleigh, San Juan, Springfield, Syracuse, and Tampa

Western United States MEPS locations: Albuquerque, Amarillo, Anchorage, Boise, Butte, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, El Paso, Fargo, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, OR, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, Spokane, and St. Louis.

Meals and Lodging Expenses

Meals and any required overnight lodging will be provided without charge. Most applicants will share a room with another potential enlistee at a local hotel (overnight lodging is typically provided for those living several hours away from their closest MEPS).

ASVAB Testing

The Military Entrance Processing Station will administer the ASVAB to those who have not taken the test while in high school or at another testing facility. For those who stress out about tests, it may be advantageous to take the ASVAB at a more familiar and therefore less stressful location. Keep in mind that those living far away from MEPS will most likely be taking the ASVAB after hours of sitting in the car, then be lodged overnight before undergoing the physical screening.

Physical Screening at MEPS

MEPS physicians will evaluate every potential recruit for suitability for military service. The physical screening will consist of the following tests:

  • Drug and alcohol (urine testing required)
  • Color vision (many MOSs require normal color vision)
  • Hearing
  • Blood
  • Doctor examination and interview
  • Eye examination
  • Height and Weight
  • Joint and muscle movement
  • Fingerprinting

Picking an MOS (job) at MEPS

One of the final things you do during your initial visit to the Military Entrance Processing Station is choose an MOS. Hopefully your Recruiter is there with you during this process as they can provide valuable feedback on choosing an MOS and help you play hardball with a MEPS counselor who may be trying to pawn an MOS off on you that you don't particularly care for.

Picking an MOS solely based on the enlistment bonus offered is not recommended as they are offered for MOSs the Army is having a difficult time filling. Some of these MOSs may be dangerous (but be perfect for those who accept the danger and like an adrenaline rush) while others require specialized technical skills and the Army just needs more of them at the present time. View our page on enlistment bonuses by MOS for an up to date look at the enlistment bonuses on offer.

Picking an MOS at MEPS is a VERY important decision that must not be taken lightly. We highly recommend you do research on Army MOSs before you go to MEPS. This is exactly why we recently compiled our comprehensive Army Jobs / MOS List section to help potential recruits find jobs they are interested in / suitable for. For each MOS, we provide the major duties, duty description for each skill level, required ASVAB score, physical demands, and any other requirements needed to obtain the MOS. We highly recommend anyone seriously interested in joining the Army to do research on Army MOSs prior to their visit to MEPS. It reduces the stress involved and should result in you leaving MEPS with the job YOU want. For more information on choosing an Army MOS, view our article on Choosing an Army MOS.

Final Thoughts and Tips on the MEPS Process

After you have selected your MOS, you should receive a stack of enlistment documents that you need to hold onto. If you were promised something that is NOT on any of the paperwork you signed at MEPS...then 99.9% of the time you will not get whatever was promised. That is why it is imperative that you read over everything you sign at MEPS and make sure everything you want is put on paper. Sure, the MEPS personnel may be irritated that you're reading every mundane documents but it is for your benefit so take the time to read it! It's your future career so take things slowly and make sure you understand everything you're signing.

You should be free to leave MEPS with your Recruiter after you've chosen an MOS. If you came in a group, then you may have to wait for others to finish. The MEPS personnel should give you paperwork indicating what you must bring with you on your next visit to MEPS. Yes, you will have to revisit MEPS when you ship to basic training as they will do perform another physical to ensure you meet height / weight requirements.

After MEPS

Most Army recruits will spend at least a few months in the Future Soldiers Program before they ship to basic combat training. The Future Soldiers Program can be very helpful as it teaches you drill and ceremony, general Army knowledge expected of you at Basic Training, etc. Best of all, if you complete all the tasks in the Pre-Basic Training Task List, you can enter Army service with a higher rank (called an advanced enlistment).

Article Last Modified: March 03, 2011

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