A Pathway to Becoming an Officer and Service
There is one primary route to an Air or Space Force commission for college students through Air Force ROTC. That route is typically a four-year program; however, some variations do exist that are explained briefly below. Students attend AFROTC classes along with other college courses and normally receive elective academic credit.
After successfully completing all requirements, the cadets are commissioned as Air Force officers with a four-year active-duty service commitment. Pilots, combat systems officers and air battle managers have longer commitments upon completion of specialized training.
The first two years of the four-year program, the General Military Course, consist one hour of classroom work, two hours of leadership laboratory and three hours physical conditioning each week. After completing the first two years requirements, cadets who wish to compete for entry into the last two years of the program, the Professional Officer Course, must do so under the requirements of the Professional Officer Course selection system. This system uses qualitative factors such as grade-point average, unit commander evaluation, aptitude and physical fitness test scores to determine a student’s officer potential. After selection, students must successfully complete summer field training unit at Maxwell AFB before entering the course.
In the Professional Officer Course, cadets attend class three hours a week, participate in a two-hour, weekly leadership laboratory and perform three hours of physical conditioning weekly. Cadets apply what they have learned in the General Military Course and at Field Training. Cadets conduct the leadership laboratories and manage the unit’s cadet corps. Each unit has a cadet corps based on the Air Force organizational pattern of flight, squadron, group and wing. Classes are small, with emphasis on group discussions and cadet presentations. Classroom topics include leadership, communication skills and national defense policy. Once enrolled in the Professional Officer Course, all cadets are enlisted in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), assigned to the Obligated Reserve Section.
While the typical track to commission is four years, some variations can be worked on a case-by-case basis. Two of the most common tracks are the two and a half-year program and the three-year program. Both of those routes require dual enrollment for the General Military Course academic classes, so there will be an increased academic course load during that first year in the program. Please contact us for further details to see if we can work out a track that will meet your situation.
Nursing majors may apply for an AFROTC scholarship and graduates agree to accept a commission in the Air Force Nurse Corps and serve four years on active duty after successfully completing their licensing examination. Cadet premedical scholarship recipients who are accepted to medical school within one year of graduating may be sponsored in their pursuit of medical degrees.
Both first-year and second-year law students can apply for AFROTC scholarships. Students complete either a one-year or two-year AFROTC program while attending law school.
Additionally, second-year law students can pursue an Air Force commission through AFROTC’s graduate law program. This program guarantees judge advocate duty after a student completes all AFROTC, law school and bar requirements. After graduating from an American Bar Association-accredited law school, the student must be admitted to practice law before the highest state court of any state or federal court. The new lawyer is then commissioned into the Air Force in the grade determined by the laws and directives in effect at the time of call to active duty.