What are the ROTC program types?

Started in 1917, the ROTC program has produced myriad officers for the United States Military over the years. There are three types of ROTC programs integrated into colleges and universities all over the country;

  • Army ROTC
  • Airforce ROTC
  • Navy or Marine ROTC.

The Army ROTC is the largest given that the Army is the largest branch of the armed forces. The courses proffered are in military sciences, where Cadets train in leadership skills and military tactics and skills. Cadets are awarded two to four year academic scholarships that cover the costs of book and a modest stipend to cover other living expenses that increases yearly. After completing the two to four year course, where knowledge in infantry tactics, use of small arms, and navigation is gained, the Cadets graduate in Second Lieutenants in the Army and are assigned to any of the various Army services.

Airforce ROTC Cadets train in air force history and leadership skills during their introductory phase of the program. The freshman training in this case is similar to that offered in the Army ROTC program but thereafter the Cadets train in skills that are geared more towards the Airforce service. They spend time in any one of three Air Force bases where their military skills are tested. The leadership skills include sharpening of oratory skills, weapons training, and golf. Cadets are also given the option of attending summer training where they can attend Airforce Jump School and visit several bases. Upon graduation, the Cadets enter the service as Airforce Second Lieutenants with varying service contracts depending on their career choices. Those who want to become pilots have the longest service contract. Airforce ROTC scholarships last for three to five years and pay for tuition and living expenses just like the Army ROTC program.

The Navy ROTC program has two branches.; one for those who want to become officers in the US Navy and the other for those willing to become officers in the US Marine Corps. Navy ROTC Cadets train in skills such as navigation and mathematics while Marine ROTC Cadets concentrate more on physical conditioning that is required in the field. These Cadets must spend time on a ship during the summer, with Marine units and with air wing units. Calculus and physics are compulsory subjects for any Navy ROTC cadet. Upon graduation Navy ROTC Cadets become Ensigns while Marine ROTC Cadets become Marine Second Lieutenants.

Although the scholarships are identical to those of the other two branches, the application for Navy ROTC program depends highly on an individual’s science and math grades.

High school students looking for a scholarship and a guaranteed job should think about joining any of these three ROTC programs.

Useful Resources


Airforce ROTC


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