What is AFROTC?

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is a three to five year program that trains a full-time civilian college student to become a leader and officer in the United States Air Force (USAF) or United States Space Force (USSF). Upon graduation from school and upon completing the AFROTC training program and selection process, the cadet will commission as an officer in the USAF or USSF.

Commissioning Sources

AFROTC is not the only way to join the USAF or USSF. Here are other options for comparison:

Education Required HS Diploma or GED (and admission to accredited college) HS diploma Bachelor's Degree
Maximum Age 39 23 39
Length 3 - 5 years 4 years 2 months
Environment ~6 hours/wk military 24/7 military 24/7 military
Max education Undergrad or graduate Undergrad Undergrad or graduate
Scholarship Competitive, but possible All cadets on scholarship Education already complete

US Air Force Academy

2022-07-09_11h17_06-715x400-min The US Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a four-year university located in Colorado Springs, CO and is the USAF’s Service Academy, similar to the Army’s Military Academy in West Point, New York, or the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Cadets at USAFA live at the campus during the school year and wear uniforms, march to class, and are in a military environment 24/7 while at school. The professors and staff of the school are mostly active duty military as well.

Selection for USAFA requires a strong high school record, and nomination by a politician in your state. Info on how to apply to the Academy can be found here.

Officer Training School

2022-07-09_11h19_18-611x400-min Officer Training School (OTS) is a roughly two month training school located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. OTS is for civilians or enlisted military members that already have a bachelor’s degree. Upon selection to OTS, civilians will become officers upon graduation and then enter active duty immediately.

Selection for OTS requires working with a special Officer Recruiter for civilians, which you can search for here. Office Recruiters may cover several states, so are very busy and may be difficult to reach. For enlisted members, they will apply directly using directions on the Air Force Portal.

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps

2022-07-09_11h23_27-702x400-min AFROTC is a training program that requires roughly six hours per week of time while a cadet is a full-time student in a supported university. Outside of those six hours, cadets are mostly ‘regular college students’ and may live on or off campus, wear civilian clothes, have a side job, etc.

Upon graduation from college with at least a bachelor’s degree, and completion of ROTC program requirements, cadets will commission as an officer and then enter Active Duty within one year of graduation.

There are 145 different AFROTC training detachments across the country, supporting thousands of universities and over 10,000 cadets at any given time. The staff and professors that train military classes are Active Duty military, but the rest of the cadet’s classes will be taught by normal university professors.

To join an AFROTC detachment, use the College Locator to find a detachment and visit their web site for more info. Each detachment will have slightly different procedures for how they’d like you to process the paperwork to join.

This website will go over the AFROTC program from start to finish. For ways to learn more about the other commissioning programs, please see the links in their sections above.