How Do I Become an Army Drill Instructor?

To become an army drill instructor, you must have a non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank, serve for a certain number of years, and attend a special training school, which varies depending on which country you live in. Drill sergeants are army drill instructors in the United States, and they are usually Sergeants First Class or Staff Sergeants before attending Drill Sergeant School. In the United Kingdom, you must be a Warrant Officer class 2 to become an army drill instructor, though other non-commissioned officers in charge of training soldiers are referred to as drill sergeants informally. In Australia, army drill instructors are known as recruit instructors, and they can be either commissioned or non-commissioned officers.

Each country has its own set of requirements and designations for officers in charge of army drills. Drill instructor is a term used in the United States to describe a position in the US Marine Corps. Drill instructors in the US Army are given the rank of Drill Sergeant. Although the general responsibilities of these positions are similar, the training methods used different branches of the military can differ significantly.

Earning the rank of non-commissioned officer is the first step toward becoming an army drill instructor in the United States. Enlisting in the US Army and serving with distinction, demonstrating leadership qualities, and not requiring disciplinary action is one way to accomplish this. Sergeant First Class or Staff Sergeant are the most common choices, though regular Sergeants are occasionally accepted. You may also need four or more years of service in addition to the NCO rank and a good record.

The Department of the Army (DA) may select someone for Drill Sergeant status in some cases, but anyone can request admission to Drill Sergeant School (DSS). If the Department of the Army selects you, you will be referred to as a DA Select, and if you request admission to DSS, you will be referred to as a volunteer candidate. If you are accepted, you will be able to attend the school and eventually become an army drill instructor.

You will receive the same type of training that you will later be responsible for giving new recruits while attending Drill Sergeant School. This basically means you’ll have to go through basic training all over again. Because basic training can be physically demanding, you should be in top physical condition before attempting to become an army drill instructor.