Military Education & Careers
When it comes to learning about the Military, knowing where to start your research may seem daunting. The first steps to considering service include understanding the Military's basic entrance requirements, exploring the different Service branches and deciding between enlisted and officer career paths.
BRANCHES OF SERVICE
As the oldest branch of the U.S. Military, the Army protects the security of the United States and its resources.
The Army Reserve trains part time near home until needed, and members deploy alongside the Army.
|Army National Guard
Army National Guard members deploy with the Army on a part-time basis, with a special focus on homeland security and relief programs.
The Marine Corps is often first on the ground in combat situations.
|Marine Corps Reserve
Marine Corps reservists train domestically until needed, then deploy with the rest of the Corps.
The Navy defends the right to travel and trade freely on the world's oceans and protects national interests overseas.
The Navy Reserve trains service members close to home until they are needed in action.
The U.S. Air Force protects American interests at home and abroad with a focus on air power.
|Air Force Reserve
The Air Force Reserve gives service members the opportunity to train and serve on a part-time basis, as needed.
|Air National Guard
The Air National Guard trains part time to assist in domestic disasters and international conflicts.
The Coast Guard protects America's waterways and deploys with the Navy during wartime.
|Coast Guard Reserve
The Coast Guard Reserve offers a part-time service opportunity for service members to train near home.
ROTC (RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS) PROGRAMS
Founded in 1926, ROTC stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) . It’s a college program offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation. Each Service branch has its own ROTC program. Click HERE for more information.
There are five service academies. Entrance to these schools is highly competitive. Applicants for every academy but the Coast Guard’s need a nomination from the vice president or a member of Congress.
Students attend the service academies for free. In return, they agree to spend the next several years as military officers.
- U.S. Military Academy (Army) in West Point, New York.
Trains future Army officers aka West Point.
- U.S. Naval Academy (Navy/Marine Corps) in Annapolis, Maryland.
Trains future Navy and Marine Corps officers (there is no Marine Academy)
- U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Coast Guard) in New London, Connecticut.
- U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.
Trains students for military and civilian careers. New graduates have two choices. They can join the Navy or the Coast Guard as an officer. Or they can get a job in the civilian maritime industry at sea or ashore.
Service academies offer an outstanding education and full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years. The competition to get in is fierce. Admissions criteria include:
- High school academic performance
- Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
- Athletics and extracurricular activities
- Leadership experience and community involvement
- A congressional letter of recommendation (not required by the Coast Guard Academy)
Graduates of all four academies receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their respective Service branch. In all cases, there is a service obligation of a minimum of five years.
The U.S. military operates many types of schools to train members of the U.S. military, foreign militaries, and civilians in certain fields. The military academies are colleges that train future officers.
The military also operates its own medical school, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Students pay no tuition or fees, and receive a salary and military benefits.
Some of the military schools include:
- National Defense University
- Army War College
- Naval War College
- Air Force Institute of Technology
- Air University
- Defense Acquisition University
- Defense Language Institute
- Naval Postgraduate School
- Defense Information School
SENIOR MILITARY COLLEGES
Senior military colleges are civilian schools that combine higher education with military instruction. Students participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and can go on to become commissioned officers following graduation. Every cadet must participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, but only those cadets who receive an ROTC scholarship are required to enter military service following graduation. For example, about half of Virginia Military Institute’s cadets earn commissions as second lieutenants (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force) or ensigns (Navy)
SENIOR MILITARY COLLEGE TOTAL ENROLLMENT % FEMALE Texas A&M Corps of Cadets 2,530 15 Norwich University 1,524 16 The Virginia Military Institute 1,713 11.4 The Citadel 2,291 7 Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets 1,093 16.5 University of North Georgia 772 17 Mary Baldwin Women's Institute for Leadership 100 100
Midshipmen at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., receive full scholarships in exchange for a service obligation in the Merchant Marine Reserve or Navy Reserve. The other Merchant Marine academies also produce shipboard officers for vessels integral to shipping and transportation needs, but a service commitment is not always required.
OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOL
New four-year college graduates go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) to join as officers. Each service has its own OCS, which lasts around three to four months. Enlisted members can also apply to attend OCS and graduate as commissioned officers.
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