Air Force ROTC Requirements + FAQ
Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is a program offered during college for those aspiring to join the military after completing their bachelor’s degree. ROTC is a great way to attend the college of your choice while beginning the journey to pursue a career in the military. Anyone who is enrolled at a college with an ROTC program (or crosstown agreement), is in good physical shape and has good moral character 14 years or older. Those committed to attend both the ROTC class and leadership laboratory are welcome to join. Air Force ROTC also offers scholarships, which have several different requirements and are competitive. Students on scholarship are required to serve in the military upon graduation for four years and must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average to maintain their scholarship. So if you are interested in joining, here is what you can expect.
The ROTC program is designed to correlate with a bachelor’s degree program. Every fall and spring semester, you will have some commitment to the ROTC program. Freshman and sophomore years, you will be enrolled in the general military course (GMC). This requires a 1 credit hour class and a 1 to 2 hour leadership laboratory (lead lab) per week. The 1 hour class mainly discusses topics like military history and military basics. Lead lab is the opportunity to learn military uniform standards and marching. It is also a great time to meet others in the program. You will be required to wear a military uniform on these days. Most units also have an established physical fitness program, which may occur outside of lead lab or the classroom. Generally, students on scholarship are required to attend and those not on scholarship are highly encouraged to attend. Keep in mind you can still obtain a scholarship through ROTC even if you are not on scholarship your first year. After completing sophomore year, you would be required to attend a 13 day field training at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Air Force ROTC Requirements
To be eligible to join AFROTC, each cadet must meet the following requirements:
Be enrolled in an accredited college that hosts or has a crosstown agreement with an Air Force ROTC detachment
Be a U.S. citizen after freshman year
Be in good physical condition (cadets must pass the Fitness Assessment)
Be of good moral character
Attend both the Aerospace Studies class and Leadership Lab each semester
Air Force ROTC Fitness Test Requirements
The FA is taken every fall and spring term while a cadet is enrolled in Air Force ROTC. Cadets in the General Military Course (GMC) or not on a scholarship must attempt the test but do not have to pass. Scholarship cadets and cadets in the Professional Officer Course (POC) must pass the test each fall and spring term.
The FA is composed of three events in the following order:
All events must be completed, with a short rest period between each event. The minimum score is 75 points, and all minimums must be met.
Air Force ROTC FAQ
Do I have to cut my hair?
Hair must be kept in accordance with Air Force guidelines when in uniform.
Do I have to wear a uniform to class every day?
The only time cadets are required to wear their uniform is to Leadership Lab and during one class session during the week and three times a week with Physical Training. Occasionally, during special events, you may be required to wear your uniform.
How much time do I have to spend with Air Force ROTC each week?
The only required time is during your Air Force ROTC classes, Leadership Lab, and physical fitness training. (This equates to approximately six hours per week for freshmen and sophomores; eight hours per week for juniors and seniors.)
How are new cadets treated?
Very well. Cadet "sponsors" are assigned to new students. They can help students find classes, get textbooks, learn to wear the uniform correctly, meet other cadets and learn basic customs and courtesies. It is also the responsibility of the cadet's flight commander to help new cadets fit into the program. Many detachments also have tutoring programs and other forms of assistance. Hazing is not permitted! You'll find the cadet staff and detachment staff are friendly and concerned about your well-being and progress.
How much marching and drilling will I have to do?
Not as much as you think. Marching/drill is sometimes practiced during your squadron time at Leadership Laboratory. There are no mandatory drill sessions outside of LLAB but usually cadets get together to practice drill on the weekends.
When will I receive my Air Force ROTC uniform?
You will wear an issued polo shirt for the first semester and be issued a full uniform at the start of the spring semester. We will tell you how to arrange for having alterations completed (at no cost to you). However, you are responsible for keeping the uniform clean and presentable.
Am I expected to participate in any extracurricular activities?
Your first and foremost concern is attending classes and maintaining good grades. After this, you will certainly want to examine some of the various activities sponsored by both your university and Air Force ROTC. There's something in our program of interest to everyone.
Can I participate in intercollegiate athletics while a member of the Air Force ROTC program?
Yes. Generally, extracurricular campus activities and Air Force ROTC are perfectly compatible – as long as you do not overload yourself with extracurricular activities. A serious physical injury while participating in intercollegiate or intramural athletic activities may cause you to be disenrolled from Air Force ROTC because of a change in your physical profile.
Where can I attend Air Force ROTC?
Air Force ROTC is offered at over 1000 institutions throughout the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
If I join Air Force ROTC, does that mean I'm joining the military?
No. You won’t sign a contract to serve in the Air Force until you either accept a scholarship or until the first day of your junior year in the program.
What is the difference between Junior ROTC in high school and ROTC in college?
The mission of the high school Junior ROTC program is to build better citizens for America. The mission of the college ROTC program is to produce leaders for the Air Force.
Do I have to be in Junior ROTC in high school to be eligible for ROTC in college?
No. In fact, the majority of students enrolled in college ROTC have never been involved in the Junior ROTC program.
Do I have to join Air Force ROTC as a freshman?
No. Any student with at least three years remaining in their studies are eligible for our program.
Can I enroll if I didn't take Air Force ROTC as a freshman?
Yes. You can enroll in Aerospace Studies (AFS) 111 and Aerospace Studies (AFS) 211/AFS 212 (your university may have a different name). This will double you up on the freshman (100) level and sophomore (200) level courses, making you what we refer to as a "250."
Can I attend Air Force ROTC without a scholarship?
Yes, you can. Many students do not start with a scholarship, but some earn one eventually.
I didn't receive an Air Force ROTC scholarship before I started college; are there scholarship opportunities while I'm in college?
Yes. Depending on how many years you have left in college, you may qualify for a two- or three-year scholarship.
Is preference shown toward scholarship cadets?
Definitely not! The fact that a cadet may have an Air Force ROTC scholarship has absolutely no bearing on an Air Force career, nor does it affect your evaluation while in the Air Force ROTC program.
Are there any restrictions as to what students select as their academic major?
None at all. In fact, encourage you to take a curriculum you are interested in and in which you have the capability to do well. Main academic concern is that you maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 2.5 and attain your degree in the time period planned. The GPA requirements are different if you are applying for a scholarship and once you are on scholarship.
Can I pursue graduate education after I'm commissioned?
Yes, you can! The Air Force is education-oriented and financially supports graduate studies.
How often can I take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)?
The test is given several times during the fall and spring and can be taken a maximum of two times with at least 6 months between tests.
I'm prior service – do I have to attend the General Military Course (GMC)?
Maybe. The Professor of Aerospace Studies may waive some or all of the GMC if you are prior enlisted. This is determined by the amount and kind of experience you had when you departed prior service. You may want to attend the sophomore Air Force ROTC classes and/or the preparation sessions for Field Training with the sophomores to see what Field Training with Air Force ROTC is all about. Prior service cadets normally attend the 2-week Field Training.
If I take Air Force ROTC classes, am I committed to military or government service once I join?
If you are interested in becoming an officer, there is NO service commitment during the first two years of the Air Force ROTC program (the General Military Course) unless you have an Air Force ROTC scholarship. If you decide to stay and join the Professional Officer Course (POC; the last two years of the program), you'll sign an allocation contract with the Air Force and then incur a service obligation. For Air Force ROTC scholarship students, you're obligated once you've activated the scholarship. Freshman cadets on scholarship may elect to leave the program at any point in their freshman year without incurring payback costs or service commitment to the Air Force.
What are the other Air Force commissioning opportunities?
Other commissioning opportunities exist through the United States Air Force Academy. Commissioning opportunities for college graduates also exist through Officer Training School, an intense 9-week program at Maxwell Air Force Base. Commissioned Officer Training is a 4-week program designed for professionals who have received a direct commissioned appointment as a lawyer, chaplain or into a corps of the medical service. And Reserve Commissioned Officer Training is a 13-day intensive program designed for hard-to-recruit Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard medical service officers.
Are there special programs for active-duty airmen?
Yes. There are several programs available. Some involve scholarship opportunities, while others are at your own expense. Remember, the first step in any enlisted-to-officer program is a stop at your base Education Office. Each of these programs has deadlines and age limitations, so check early.
Do I receive any ROTC credit for Junior ROTC?
Yes, you may. Three years of Junior ROTC (JROTC) are considered equal to three semesters of the General Military Course (GMC), and two years are equal to one year of the GMC. No credit is given for less than two years of JROTC training. If academically feasible, we generally recommend students complete all four semesters in the GMC to make you the most competitive and prepared for Field Training.
If I encounter academic or personal problems, where can I turn for help?
First, try your Air Force ROTC detachment instructor. While the instructor may not have a psychology degree, he or she does have experience in counseling and can direct you to the proper resources on campus. Air Force ROTC instructors try to develop a strong professional rapport with each cadet. Each university also offers various resource offices for their students and many services are free as part of your student fees.
Is the Four-Year Program more advantageous for students?
Yes, for the following reasons: It gives you more time to participate in Air Force ROTC without obligation, to gain experience and to decide whether you want to apply for the advanced program, the POC. You will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships if eligible. You can retake the Air Force Officer Qualification (AFOQT) test to improve your scores.
Do I receive any ROTC credit for Civil Air Patrol (CAP)?
The unit commander can give credit for part of the GMC to cadets who receive the Spaatz, Earhart, and Mitchell Awards during any academic term of the GMC.