TOEIC Success Story: Military Applications

TOEIC's role in the international business world is well known, but did you know about its use in the military? As in other workplaces, English skills have become key for military personnel. Defense forces all around the world use TOEIC to measure these skills accurately and objectively.

The Standardization Agreement (STANAG 6001), developed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), determines general English proficiency levels for military personnel. The six proficiency levels, ranging from 0 (no proficiency) to 5 (highly-articulate native), are based on reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

In 2010, fifteen experts from seven NATO countries convened to determine which STANAG levels TOEIC tests match with and to create guidelines for aligning score ranges with each level. Now in countries such as Spain, TOEIC scores can be used to satisfy STANAG requirements.

In France, the military has gone a step beyond using TOEIC scores for STANAG requirements and has contracted TOEIC to replace their existing testing methods. Faced with a growing number of personnel needing to secure military language certificates in English, the Navy, followed by the Air Force and then the Army, turned to TOEIC. The ability to administer multiple testing sessions in multiple centers has allowed much-needed flexibility for people with complicated schedules. An estimated 16,000 candidates within the French Ministry of Defense will take the TOEIC each year.

Across the globe in Korea, where military service is mandatory for all able-bodied men over the age of 18, many hope for specialist positions that will allow them to use their strengths. For those interested in serving as an English translator a basic TOEIC score of 900 is required, though in recent years fierce competition has pushed the scores actually needed to win a position into the 970 range.

Communication skills are critical in every arena, especially the military. As globalization continues to draw countries closer together, more and more defense forces are electing to have personnel that can express themselves in English. TOEIC tests are an ideal way to meet the growing demand to assess English skills.


─ Rachel Bingham, TOEIC USA

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