Updated: January 26, 2024
In this Article

    If you want to join the largest and most popular ROTC program, then look no further! Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a great way for you to serve your country as an Army commissioned officer, gain unmatched leadership skills, and have all or most of your college tuition paid for.

    Army ROTC If you have a passion for success, you will fit right in with Army values and training that will turn that passion into an illustrious career as a professional soldier. Read on to find out what Army ROTC is all about.

    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. Army. You’ll find Army ROTC programs on over 1,100 college and university campuses nationwide. 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 Army. You may also qualify for Army ROTC scholarships based on your academic performance. Once you commit to and complete an Army ROTC program, you’ll earn a commission as an active duty or reserve second lieutenant U.S. Army upon graduation.


    How Do I Enroll In Army 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 Army 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, your can talk to the Army ROTC Enrollment Officer on campus about taking the Army ROTC Basic Course and about the scholarships that are available.

    Community College and Graduate Students

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

    Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET)

    This course is for you if you want to complete Army ROTC training in two years, you can attend ROTC Basic Camp. To qualify, you must complete the 28-day training program at Fort Knox, Kentucky. When you complete Basic Camp, you return to campus and enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course.

    Enlisted Soldiers

    If you are an enlisted Soldier, there are programs that allow you to go from “green to gold.” Find out how to enroll in the scholarship section below.

    Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP)

    The SMP lets you attend Army ROTC as you serve in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard. You’ll serve as an officer trainee while completing college. You earn Army Reserve/National Guard pay and benefits in addition to your Army ROTC allowances.


    What Army ROTC Training Do I Have To Complete?

    Army ROTC’s program includes military courses (in the classroom and in the field) that teach you leadership development and military skills. You’ll go through ROTC training as you attend your normal college classes. Depending on when you enroll, you’ll go through the following military training courses:

    Army ROTC Basic Course

    The Basic Course is made up of college electives you take during your first two years of ROTC. The Basic Course is one elective class and one elective lab each semester. You also have to attend physical training and field training exercises at various times during each semester. In these courses, you’ll be taught essential military skills and the basics of leadership. These courses build a foundation toward becoming an Army officer and leader.

    Army ROTC Advanced Course

    The Advanced Courses are elective classes you take during your last two years in college. Again, it’s one elective class and lab each semester and the required physical training and field exercises. You’ll be taught advanced military tactics and get experience in team-building and decision-making. Agreeing to enter the Advanced Course requires you to commit to serving as an officer after you graduate.

    ROTC Basic Camp

    Basic Camp is four weeks of challenging classroom and field training held in the summer at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This is the accelerated version of the two years of leadership development training you would get if you took the Basic Course. You’ll get a stipend, transportation to and from Fort Knox, housing and meals for the four weeks. After completing this course, you’ll qualify for enrollment in the Army ROTC Advanced Course (you have to have two years of college left).

    ROTC Advanced Camp

    Every cadet who enrolls in the Advanced Course must go to the Advanced Camp. This is a five-week summer program held at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and is used to evaluate and train all Army ROTC Cadets. You will usually attend Advanced Camp between your junior and senior years of college.


    What Types Of Scholarships Are Available To Me?

    Here are the ROTC scholarships you may compete for either as a high school student, college student, or enlisted soldier.

    High School Students

    Four-Year Scholarship

    • What it covers: Full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend
    • Deadline: October, January, and March each year
    • Service Commitment: Eight years split between the active duty and the Individual Ready Reserve

    College Students

    Three-Year Scholarship

    • What it covers: Full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend
    • Deadline: Check with your recruiter for current deadlines
    • Service Commitment: Four years of service

    Two-Year Scholarship

    • What it covers: Full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend
    • Deadline: Check with your recruiter for current deadlines
    • Service Commitment: Four years of service

    Enlisted Soldiers

    The Army Green to Gold Program provides you with several options if you want to get your degree and earn a commission as an Army officer.

    • Green to Gold Scholarship Option: If you are a qualified enlisted soldier, you may leave active duty to get your degree. The scholarship includes full tuition or room and board, book fees and a monthly stipend.
    • Green to Gold Active Duty Option: If you want to stay on active duty and attend college.
    • Green to Gold Non-Scholarship: If you want to leave active duty to attend college. You’ll get a monthly stipend.

    Note: If you don’t have any college credits, you can apply for a four-year scholarship. If you have two years or three of college left, you can apply for a two-year or three-year scholarship.

    What Is My Service Commitment After Completing ROTC?

    If you receive an Army ROTC scholarship or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course, you agree to complete eight-years of service with the Army. If you enroll in the Army ROTC Basic Course, you are not committed to service in the Army unless you are on an Army ROTC scholarship. All scholarship students will be required to serve in the military for eight years. You may fulfill your obligation by serving three years on active duty, and five years in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). If you are on a four-year scholarship, then you’ll serve four years active and four years in the IRR.

    What Are My Career Choices After I Complete ROTC?

    Army ROTC provides you with what it takes to become a commissioned Army Officer when you graduate. You’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and will receive specialized training in your first Army branch. After you finish officer branch training and a first assignment, you may choose additional specialized training and postgraduate education opportunities.

    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.

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