The Air Force commissions only U.S. citizens with a bachelor's degree. Some career choices require additional academic qualifications (e.g., a graduate degree, specific courses). Applicants for a commission also must be physically fit and of high moral character.
Typically, men and women earn commissions through the U.S. Air Force Academy, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) or Officer Training School (OTS). Individuals in some professions may obtain a direct commission without attending one of the above commissioning programs.
US Air Force Academy
Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, Colo., the Air Force Academy annually accepts about 1,200 young men and women into its four-year program. Graduates earn a bachelor of science degree and an Air Force commission. The program is intense, with a well-balanced curriculum that includes the physical and social sciences, humanities and math. In addition, the academy provides cadets with a background in aerospace operations through courses such as astrodynamics and aero-engineering. Admission to the Air Force Academy generally is made through nominations from U.S. senators or representatives, but other avenues to receive an admission appointment are available.
Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)
The AFROTC gives college students a unique opportunity to earn a commission while completing their degree. The AFROTC offers two- and four-year programs at more than 750 colleges and universities. You apply for the four-year AFROTC program by simply enrolling in the aerospace studies course at the time you register for your other freshman courses. You may apply for the two-year AFROTC program if you have at least two years of undergraduate work remaining.
The annual book stipend is $900 per academic year, and the monthly stipend increases based on an individual's student status. Freshmen receive $300, sophomores $350, juniors $450 and seniors $500.
High school students interested in the four-year scholarship should apply late in their junior year or early in their senior year of high school. College freshmen and sophomores can apply by contacting the professor of aerospace studies at their college or university.
Officer Training School
The Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base near Montgomery, Alabama, provides people with a bachelor's degree to earn a commission. Its rigorous 14-week program guides college graduates or degree airmen to commissions as second lieutenants.
The Air Force directly commissions men and women in certain professions, including certain medical, legal or religious fields.
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