Have you considered military academy, military college or university, or a career in the military? Military schools are a great way to receive training for entrance into the military, whether it be into the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. There are several options for military schools dependent on the age of the cadet and what kind of career they are pursuing.
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is military-style training for high school students and is offered at participating high schools and military boarding schools. Its purpose is to help the teenager develop leadership skills, responsiveness to and respect for authority, and good physical health, amongst other things. High school students may take three to four years of the JROTC course and will rank higher than other recruits if they choose to join the military after graduation. There is no obligation for JROTC cadets to join the military after high school graduation.
Cadets in the JROTC program typically wear uniforms once or twice a week and are encouraged to act in a way that honors family, country, citizenship, and patriotism. Military discipline is highly stressed in physical training and in academics. Many cadets also choose to participate in extracurricular activities such as drill team, color guard, rocketry, orienteering, and marksmanship programs. Some schools may organize trips to U.S. military bases.
Reserve Officer Training Corps
Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, is a college- or university-based program available at over 1000 schools in the United States. This is a great way to attend a university near you and still get military training. ROTC classes are electives that focus on military-style physical drills, leadership, problem solving, and discipline. Cadets wear uniforms and also participate in simulations to supplement their drills.
There are separate admission, physical, and academic requirements for each military branch Reserve Officer Training Corps. The biggest branch of the armed forces is the Army and so their ROTC is also the largest program. As an Army ROTC cadet enrolled in the Basic Course, you are not required to serve in the military after you graduate. Cadets who receive an ROTC scholarship or enter the ROTC Advanced Course must agree to complete eight years of military service. This can involve several years of active duty and several years Individual Ready Reserve service.
Military Junior College
Military Junior Colleges participate in the Early Commissioning Program (ECP) that allows graduates to become commissioned officers in the armed forces reserve in only two years instead of the usual four. The following are the five Military Junior Colleges in the United States:
- Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri
- Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania
- Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama
- New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico
- Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia
Cadets are expected to complete a bachelor’s degree at another institution before going on to serve as regular officers on active duty. Military Junior College is a great way to gain service time for promotions and retirement while still attending college. After completion of the two-year program and after you’ve been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, you will be obligated to serve a total of eight years in the military.
Senior Military Colleges
Senior Military Colleges offer military discipline and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs in these four-year or higher universities. Every cadet must participate in the ROTC program, but is only required to enter military service after graduation if they receive a scholarship. Students are organized into Corps of Cadets. Senior Military Colleges in the U.S. are:
- North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Georgia
- Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont
- Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas
- The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina
- Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia
- Mary Baldwin Women’s Institute for Leadership in Staunton, Virginia
Military Academies are highly competitive four-year schools. Cadets become commissioned officers in their respective branches after completion of their bachelor’s degrees and commit to a minimum of five years service. The academies are:
- U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York (Army)
- U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (Navy and Marine Corps)
- U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado (Air Force)
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut (Coast Guard)
Cadets at military Academies are expected to excel in academics, physical programs, and military programs. Extracurricular sports are required and high moral conduct and character is enforced to encourage Corps of Cadets’ development in pride, teamwork, and leadership. The rigorous programs in these Academies produce high caliber individuals ready for dedicated service.
Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School, or Officer Training School in the Air Force, is Basic Training for those interested in becoming officers in the armed forces. Those who typically attend are graduates of a traditional four-year college or university as well as those already enlisted servicemembers seeking to transition into officer roles.
Each branch’s program in Officer Candidate School (OCS) lasts 12 to 17 weeks and focuses on leadership skills and physical training. Upon completion of the OCS program, cadets become commissioned officers. The Officer Candidate Schools are:
- Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning in Fort Benning, Georgia
- Navy Officer Candidate School at the Naval Station in Newport, Rhode Island
- Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia
- Air Force Officer Training School at the Macwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama
- Coast Guard Officer Candidate School at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut