How Tall Do You Have To Be To | 11 Q&A’s

You'd be surprised at how many height related questions pop up over the internet. Height plays more of a role in day-to-day life than many of us think, and in some it can be a the determining factor between a yes and a no, or success and failure.

That being said, although subject to change, here are 11 questions and answers to some common height related USA based questions as of 2021.

how tall do you have to be

1:  How Tall do You Have to be For Amusement Park Rides?

The standard height requirements for amusement park rides will vary depending on the ride, some are designed for younger children, and might have a height requirement of 1 meter, etc. If traveling at higher speeds and varying angles, unless it is 100% safe there will be changes in height requirements, and children might not even be allowed on the ride.

Mostly height requirements depend on the manufacturer's guidelines on ride safety, and should never be argued with, as these are the rules to stop accidents from occurring. As an example, the attractions at Disney Land include rides that require a height of 32-46 inches, depending on the type of ride.

It is also important to note that height requirements can change depending on the number of riders, or if an adult accompanies the child. Take for example the ride "Autopia" at Disney World. The height requirement is 54 inches if riding solo, but can ride at a height of 32 inches if accompanied by someone who is 54 inches tall. So technically there is a height requirement, but this changes for the 2nd rider if riding in a pair.

2: To Work at Starbucks?

There isn't a height requirement to work at Starbucks. However, this is a job that requires various movements that might be a problem if you're shorter in height. 

For example, putting heavy boxes on high shelves, and having to climb on shelves to grab things. Also, if you cannot reach the coffee machines, grind beans and pour the syrups, etc without standing on tiptoes then it is not going to be practical to work there.

This is not to say it will be impossible though, as each outlet will be different and may have the equipment to aid you, so always check this out before applying.

3: To Become a Model?

The height requirements for modeling differ for the modeling you will be doing. In general, it will be as follows:

  • If performing social media modeling then height is generally not going to be a problem.
  • For commercial modeling, industry sample sizes indicate a slight drop in required height to 5'5-5'11 (165.1 cm-180.3 cm) for women and 5'8-6'2 (172.8 cm-188 cm) for men. This is a general estimate and is best to contact the agency to find their own requirements.
  • If you desire to be a runway/catwalk model, then height restrictions are usually mandatory, and quite tall too, at around 5'9-6' (175.3 cm-182.3 cm) for women and 5'11-6'3 (180.3 cm-190.5 cm) for men.

4: To Become an NBA Player?

There is no specific height you need to be an NBA player. However, the average NBA player stands at 6'7" (2.05 cm) in shoes, and around 6'3 (190.5 cm) is the shortest height we see NBA players in today's game truly excel, such as Russel Westbrook and Stephen Curry.

Although basketball is associated with being tall, that doesn't mean being short makes it impossible to excel in this sport. Some successful shorter players include current players (2021) such as Chris Paul 5'11 (180.3 cm), who is an elite defender, and Isaiah Thomas 5'9" (175.3 cm) although fading now, he has in the past been classed as an all-star.

Retired players Spud Webb (5'7" 170.3 cm) won the 1987 dunk contest, and Muggsy Bogues 5'3" (160 cm), was the shortest player ever to play in the NBA, and quite effective too.

The one thing that these players have in common is the position of point guard.

The reason shorter individuals can still excel at this position is that you can be crafty by compensating for your lack of height through the use of court vision. Due to the physical nature of other positions, it would be highly unlikely a player under 6" (182.8cm) would be able to excel in the NBA.

5: To Become an Astronaut?

In seeking its first astronauts, Nasa selected candidates who were military personnel and shorter than 5'11" (180.3 cm) so they could squeeze into the Mercury spacecraft. But as spacecraft sizes have changed, so have height requirements. 

  • Nowadays, Astronaut candidate selection for commander or pilot requires a height between 5'2"-6'3" (157.5 cm-190.5 cm).
  • If you want to be a mission specialist, then the height required is slightly more relaxed, at 4'10.5"-6'4" (148.6 cm-193 cm).

When in space the spine stretches out and astronauts have reported gaining up to 2 inches (5cm) in height! This is lost when they come back down to earth though.

6: To Become a Flight Attendant?

Each airline is different and will have its own requirements for a flight attendant's height.

Objectively, flight attendants need to be tall enough to be able to reach the overhead bin and to maneuver suitcases and other items safely. They also need to be short enough so they do not have to duck, and are not awkward and cramped walking down the isles.

For this reason, most airlines will have height requirements, with a lower and upper range of around 5'2-6'2" (157.5 cm-188 cm).

7: To Sit in The Front Seat?

If a child sits in the front seat then the risk of injury increases, with one reason for this being that airbags are designed to deliver a force too powerful for a smaller, lighter child. This is why there are regulations in place to prevent this from happening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives guidelines stating that children must be of a height at least 4'9" (144.8 cm) and also over the age of 13 to sit in the front seat.

In the USA, States which use height requirements will generally go with this number (or very close to it) (1) as advised for a child before using an adult seatbelt, but each will differ in height/weight and/or age provisions etc, so it is best to check the requirements in the State you will be driving.  

For adults of unusually short stature, there are no height requirements or specific rules for sitting in the front seat or driving, and a booster seat, pedal extenders, or hand-controlled throttle and brake can be fitted alongside other modifications to allow for normal driving.

8: To Be a Pilot?

Airline Pilot 

Around the world, different airlines will have varying requirements to join them. But for US-based airlines, there is not a formal minimum height requirement to become an airline pilot. Of course, you must be able to reach the controls and safely pilot the aircraft.

Being on the taller end of the spectrum can be more troublesome, at around 6'3" (190.5cm) and above, as some small airplane cockpits can be pretty cramped. Also, during flight training a flight school will need to be found that has airplanes to can accommodate a taller height.

Airforce Pilot

This will differ from country to country and is constantly changing.

For example, to join the US Airforce it was previously required you must have a height between 5'4" (162.6 cm) and 6'5" (195.6cm) and have a sitting height of 34-40 inches, with applicants outside of this range having to submit a waiver. As of May 13, 2020, this has now changed to encourage a more diverse pool of applicants, and all heights can apply.

9: To Be a Beauty Pageant 

Many females across the country dream of becoming the next winner of a beauty pageant.

For lower-level competitions, the height requirements are not as tall as you may think, but the more prestigious the competition, height might affect the outcome. If you are on the shorter side, while you can still enter, you would need to be almost flawless in other areas o compensate for this.

  • Around 70% of all contestants who go on to win Miss USA are between 5'7" and 5'9
  • When it comes to Miss Universe, 5'7 has been shown as a realistic minimum to win as 2017's winner was this height, but most countries are going to send taller women into the competition. However, in 2020 there were a few front runners under this height, Australia and America (165 cm) and India (168 cm) so like anything, time brings changes that could favor shorter contestants.

One reason for taller contestants is that the pageant organization likes to promote women with modeling potential, and as models are generally tall, if we take a look at the winners from the more prestigious competitions then they fall into a range of 5'7-5'11 (170.2 cm-180.3 cm).

10: To Donate Sperm

Genetics are a factor when giving sperm, as recipients can state their requirements, which range from eye color, having dimples or a bachelor's degree.

The minimum height requirement for sperm donors is generally between 5'9" (175.3 cm) and 5'10" (177.8 cm). If you are a white male then most sperm banks will require you to be at least 5'10" (177.8 cm), which is around average height. On the higher end of the scale, there are some banks that require a height of 5'11+ (180.3 cm), but this not as common.

11To Be a Firefighter?

There is no standard minimum height requirement to be a firefighter. But it is best to call the department you are trying to get into to see if they have their own requirements for height and weight. From a physical standpoint, if you think about the situations the job may present to you, height may cause issues.

For instance, during the candidate physical ability test (CPAT) you will have to go through a series of tests to prove your physical ability, including equipment carrying and ladder raises + extensions. Shorter individuals are going to need a strong upper body to counter their lack of height, but there are usually practice sessions before the final test to help work on technique.

In other words, with good upper body strength, a short person can overcome a lack of height and be as good a firefighter as a taller person.

Being short actually has benefits, such as working in team scenarios and being able to fit into tight spaces which may prove advantageous in some situations.



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