Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)

Updated: March 29, 2021
In this Article

    Wanted! The Air Force is searching for talented and motivated high school and college students with outstanding character and proven leadership potential to become Air Force and Space Force officers. If you fit this description, there is a career waiting for you in the U.S. Air Force.

    How do you make this happen? The Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) offers scholarships to pay for your college education, provide you valuable leadership training, and equip you to be a future Air Force leader. If we have gotten your attention, read on to find out how you can get an ROTC scholarship that leads to a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.

    What Is ROTC?

    ROTC is an acronym for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and is one of the pathways to earning a commission in the U.S. Air Force You’ll find 145 AFROTC detachments on more than 1,100 university campuses across the country. ROTC lets you “train as you learn” by taking military science classes alongside your regular college courses. You must meet minimum age and academic requirements and pass medical and physical fitness standards to be commissioned in the Air Force. You may also qualify for Air Force ROTC scholarships based on your academic performance. Once you commit to and complete an AFROTC program, you’ll earn a commission as an active duty or reserve second lieutenant U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force upon graduation.

    How Do I Enroll In Air Force ROTC?

    High School Students

    If you’re a junior or senior, you can choose from more than 1,100 colleges and universities that have an Air Force ROTC program. Your high school guidance counselor has information on ROTC programs and scholarships. You may be eligible to compete for two, three, or four-year merit-based scholarships.

    College Students

    If you’re in college and are interested in joining an ROTC program, you can talk to the Air Force ROTC Detachment on campus about the Air Force ROTC program and available scholarships.

    Community College & Graduate Students

    If you have two years left at a community college or in graduate school, you’re still eligible to enroll in Air Force ROTC. You can find out how to enroll by talking to the Air Force ROTC Detachment on your campus.

    What Kind Of Training Do I Have To Participate In?

    As a freshman and sophomore, you’ll spend about six hours per week taking part in the AFROTC program. As juniors and seniors, that goes up to between six and ten hours of contact time per week. You’ll be in charge of the other cadets and spend more time developing your leadership skills. You will also have to complete a 13-week summer program before entering the last two years of the ROTC program. After you have completed the ROTC program and earned your degree, you’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force.

    General Military Course (GMC)

    The GMC is the first two years of the AFROTC four-year program. GMC involves a one-semester hour military course, two hours of leadership laboratory, and three hours of physical training (PT) each week. Once you complete all of the GMC requirements, you may compete for a place in the the Professional Officer Course (POC), which are the last two years of the AFROTC program. You must be selected to move into the POC. The selection system uses factors like your GPS, detachment commander’s recommendation, aptitude test scores, and PT scores. Once you are selected, you must complete a 13-day summer field training program at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, before entering the POC.

    Professional Officer Course (POC)

    In the POC, you’ll attend military classes three hours a week, take part in a two-hour, weekly leadership laboratory, and complete three hours of physical training (PT) per week. You’ll apply what you have learned in the GMC as a POC. POC cadets run the leadership laboratories and manage the detachment’s cadet corps. The cadet corps is modeled after the Air Force organizational pattern of flight, squadron, group, and wing. Once you are in the POC, you are enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and are on your way to an Air Force or Space Force commission.

    Summer Field Training

    In the summer in between your sophomore and junior years, you’ll attend Field Training. Field Training  is a demanding 13-day boot-camp-style military program. You’ll get weapons training, survival training, deployment skills, aircraft indoctrination, and physical conditioning. You will also enhance your followership, teamwork, and, most significantly, your leadership skills. Field training will evaluate your skills and determine if you have what it takes to enter the POC. You have to complete Field Training to enter into the POC and earn a commission in the Air Force or Space Force.

    Note: If you have completed the GMC program, Field Training is 13-days long. If you start the program in your junior year, training is 3-weeks long so you can learn all the academic information you missed during the first two years of the program.

    Professional Development Training (PDT)

    In addition to your regular college and AFROTC classes, you can also compete for various PDTs. PDTs are specialized summer classes and opportunities in a variety of Air Force fields. Here are just a few of the PDTs available to ROTC cadets:

    • Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) Program
    • Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advance Course In Engineering (ACE) Cyber Boot Camp Summer Internship Program
    • 45th Launch Control Group (LCG) Space Cadet Intern Program (SCIP)
    • Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Flight Orientation Program (FOP)

    Air Force Scholarships

    The Air Force offers two, three, and four-year scholarships to high school students and students currently enrolled in college. For high school students, you can apply for scholarships online. Read on to find out what scholarships are available.

    High School and College Students

    Type 1

    • What it covers: Three to four years of full tuition, partial fee coverage, and book stipends
    • Deadline: The scholarship application window is open from July 1 through Dec. 31 each year
    • Application Requirements:
      • Enroll in a scientific or technical degree program
      • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
      • Complete a scholarship interview
      • Complete the Physical Fitness Assessment
      • Attend summer field training
      • Complete General Military and Professional Officer courses
    • Service Commitment: Minimum of four years of active duty

    Type 2

    • What it covers: Three to four years of book stipends, fee coverage, and tuition with a cap of $18,000 a year
    • Deadline: The scholarship application window is open from July 1 through Dec. 31 each year
    • Application Requirements: Same as Type 1 scholarship
    • Service Commitment: Same as Type 1 scholarship

    Type 7

    • What it covers: Three to four years of book stipends and tuition capped at your college’s in-state rate
    • Deadline: The scholarship application window is open from July 1 through Dec. 31 each year.
    • Application Requirements: Same as Type 1 scholarship
    • Service Commitment: Same as Type 1 scholarship

    Air Force ROTC In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP)

    If you were not awarded a scholarship out of high school, you have the chance to compete for in-college scholarships in the spring of your freshman year term, and again in the fall as a sophomore. Scholarship availability will depend from term to term based on funding.  Consideration for scholarships reviews the following: Commander’s ranking in the cadet class, cumulative GPA, and physical fitness assessment scores.

    ICSP Scholarships Available:

    • Type 1: uncapped tuition/fees
    • Type 2: $18,000/year tuition/fees
    • Type 3: $9,000/year tuition/fees
    • Type 6: $3,000/year tuition/fees

    Enlisted Airmen

    If you are an enlisted airman, you may qualify for the following scholarships:

    Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP)

    ASCP lets you separate from active duty and get a scholarship worth up to $18,000 per academic year. You’ll enroll as a full-time college student in the Air Force ROTC program and receive an annual textbook allowance and a monthly stipend. When you graduate, you’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

    AFROTC Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program (POC-ERP)

    This program offers you a chance for an early release from active duty to enter AFROTC, become a full-time college student, and receive a commission in the Air Force. Upon graduation and completion of ROTC requirements, you’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant, return to active duty and serve for at least four years.

    Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR)

    If you are an active duty airman, the SOAR program lets you leave active duty and receive an ROTC scholarship worth up to $18,000 per year. Upon graduation and completion of ROTC requirements, you’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant, return to active duty, and serve for at least four years.

    What Are The Stipends You Mentioned?

    A stipend is money paid to you to help pay for books and provides funds for personal expenses. You are eligible for the stipends even if you are not on an AFROTC scholarship.

    Book stipend: $900 per academic year
    Monthly stipend: Based on your class status

    • Freshman: $300
    • Sophomore: $350
    • Junior: $450
    • Senior: $500

    Travel Expenses: All high school scholarship recipients are authorized to have their travel expenses covered from their home to your college. You’ll get paid back 30 days after you start school.

    Life After ROTC

    Whether you aspire to fly jets, be an engineer, or work in space operations, you can pursue one of the dozens of jobs in the Air Force, depending on your college major. An Air Force career can take you many places—even into space! AFROTC is a direct pathway into a career in the newly formed U.S. Space Force.

    After completing the AFROTC program and earning your college degree, you’ll be ready to soar into an exciting and rewarding career. You can use your education and leadership skills to serve your country as an Air Force officer. A career in the Air Force comes with a great deal of responsibility but also comes with the honor and respect you’ll receive every time you put on your uniform.

    About The AuthorJim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.

    Written by Team

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