Frequently Asked Questions
What is ROTC?
ROTC is program that prepares you to commission as an officer in the United States Air Force while you obtain your undergraduate degree. Learn more here and by visiting the Air Force ROTC site. Bonus trivia: ROTC is an abbreviation for Reserve Officer Training Corp.
What does as an Air Force Officer do?
There are over 140 career fields for officers in the Air Force including pilot, satellite operator, engineer, physician, criminal investigator, and intelligence, to name a few. There are few careers in the civilian world that do not have a parallel in the Air Force. Plus, a career in the Air Force will provide you with unique opportunities to travel and serve our country in ways you cannot as a civilian.
No matter what you do, an officer's primary job is to lead. As a cadet you will learn and practice the skills you need to be an inspirational and effective leader in the Air Force.
Check out the Air Force Career site to learn more about careers that match your interests.
If you would like to see what some of our graduates have accomplished see our Former Cadets in Action page.
How can I prepare myself for Air Force ROTC?
Air Force ROTC is a physically and mentally challenging program on top of an already challenging college course load. Preparing yourself in the academic, physical, and military realms may help you face this challenge with a leg-up.
To prepare academically, cultivate good study habits by working hard in your current classes, seeking help from instructors or tutors for challenging classes, and doing your best in school.
To prepare physically, developing a good workout routine and participating in sports programs now will benefit you greatly. Please also see the response below to the FAQ "What is the physical fitness test I take as a cadet like?" for further information on physical requirements cadets must meet.
Learning and practicing leadership skills is the best way you can prepare for the military realm of Air Force ROTC. Participating and becoming a leader in other extra-curricular clubs or programs offered in your community/at your school (such as Girl/Boy Scouts, student government, marching band, foreign language club, etc.) is a great way to do this. Additionally, if you have access to a Junior ROTC (JROTC) program at your high school or a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet squadron in your area, involvement in these programs can be a great introduction to what military service is like. For further information on becoming a CAP cadet, please see the CAP Youth page. Participation in JROTC or CAP is NOT a requirement for entry in to the Air Force ROTC program (don't worry if start Air Force ROTC knowing nothing about the military...we will teach you the essential information you need).
What scholarship opportunities does Air Force ROTC Offer and how do I apply?
All Air Force ROTC scholarships are offered on a competitive basis. Different scholarship programs are available depending on your current level of education.
High school students, or those who have never attended college as a full-time student, are eligible to apply for the High School Scholarship Program (HSSP). The application consists of an online portion, which can be completed through the Air Force ROTC site, and, if selected for further consideration, an interview. The online portion of the application must be submitted between June 1st and December 1st (no waivers to this deadline are granted). Once you have submitted the online portion, you will be contacted by an Air Force Officer in your local area to coordinate the interview. To apply and learn more about the different scholarships offered through the HSSP, please visit the scholarship page of the Air Force ROTC site. If you are offered a scholarship through the HSSP, you can use it at any school that offers an Air Force ROTC program.
Current college students are eligible to apply for the In College Scholarship Program (ICSP) during their first and second years in the ROTC program. To apply for the ICSP you must be an active cadet in the ROTC Program and request to be submitted for scholarship consideration. Submission dates vary each year, but generally occur in January. Scholarship offers are typically extended during late spring. Once you are in the program, your instructors will make multiple announcements regarding deadlines leading up to the submission window.
Air Force ROTC scholarships can only be applied towards tuition costs.
Will I be competitive for an Air Force ROTC scholarship?
Minimum ACT/SAT scores for application for the HSSP are listed on the Air Force ROTC Application Process Overview page. The Air Force considers the "whole person" concept and you will be evaluated based on your academic scores, extracurricular activities, leadership and work experience, physical fitness assessment scores, results from your personal interview, and questionnaire results.
Similar to the HSSP, the ICSP is selective and considers the "whole person" concept including: cumulative GPA, physical fitness test scores, and Commander's ranking. The Commander's ranking is an evaluation of your leadership potential amongst your peers and is determined from performance in ROTC courses, demonstration of leadership skills, and involvement and commitment to the cadet wing.
Both the HSSP and ICSP also consider what type of degree you pursue when it comes to awarding scholarships. Although all degrees are eligible to apply for scholarships, scholarship are granted to those pursuing technical majors at a much higher rate than other degrees because a strong technical background is valuable in many Air Force officer career fields. Following technical degrees, those pursuing degrees in critical foreign languages are favored. Nontechnical degree scholarships are given the lowest priority. For the HSSP, approximately 80% of scholarships granted are to those pursuing a technical major. If you receive a nontechnical scholarship, you must complete a certain amount of technical or language courses, because of the value the Air Force places on these skills. To maintain your nontechnical scholarship, you must successfully complete either four semesters of a single foreign language or 24 hours of math and physical science (with a minimum grade of C-) before graduation, regardless of the degree requirements at your school.
We encourage students to apply for scholarships under the degree that interests them first and foremost, regardless of whether it may increase their priority for receiving a scholarship. We find that students who study and pursue their passions are more likely to do well in school and the ROTC program overall. Additionally, once you accept a scholarship, it is tied to the specific degree you applied under. If you accept a scholarship and subsequently decide to change your major, your scholarship can be withdrawn (particularly if you switch from a technical or foreign language degree to a nontechnical degree).
If I become a cadet or apply for an Air Force ROTC scholarship, am I obligated to serve in the Air Force?
Nope! Typically, you will not 'contract' (become obligated to serve in the Air Force) until the beginning of your third year in ROTC. The exceptions: if you accept a four-year scholarship through the HSSP, you begin incurring an obligation at the start of your sophomore year in college. Also, if you accept a scholarship through the ICSP, you are obligated to serve once you have signed the paperwork to activate your scholarship.
If you are interested in a career in the Air Force, we highly recommend you try it out Air Force ROTC! You can easily leave the program if you decide the Air Force is not the right path for you. Conversely, you may not be able to join ROTC later, since you must be a cadet for a minimum of three years.
How long is my service commitment to the Air Force upon graduation?
Most officers career fields incur a four-year commitment on active duty. Some career fields that require extensive follow-on training have a longer commitment. For instance, Pilots commit to serve ten years on active duty upon completion of pilot training, Combat Systems Officers commit to serve six years after completing training, and Air Battle Managers commit to serve for six years.
How do I join ROTC?
Which courses do I need to take for Air Force ROTC? How much time will I need to dedicate to Air Force ROTC?
There are three courses you must take each semester as an ROTC cadet: Aerospace Studies, Leadership Lab, and Physical Training. Aerospace Studies is a classroom-based course that covers various topics including Air Force standards and values, military history, leadership, and national security over the four year program. Leadership Lab is taken by the entire Cadet Wing together and is an environment to practice and apply the information you've learned in Aerospace Studies. Physical Training helps you prepare for and live the active and healthy lifestyle required as a member of the military. Senior members of the Cadet Wing are assigned leadership positions and are responsible for organizing and implementing Leadership Lab and Physical Training courses with oversight from our dedicated faculty. Aerospace Studies courses are taught by the commissioned officer members of our faculty.
The three Air Force ROTC courses listed above are the only mandatory part of the Air Force ROTC program. During your first two years in the program, this adds up to approximately 5 hours per week. During your last two years in the program, this adds up to approximately 7 hours per week. Of course, studying, homework, and voluntary AFROTC-affiliated courses (such as Honor Guard) will add additional time to this estimate. Dedication to the program is key-the more effort you put into Air Force ROTC, the more you will get out of it!
What is cadet life like?
One of the main benefits of the Air Force ROTC program is your ability to have a "normal" college experience while gradually learning about and transitioning into a career in the military. Additionally, being a part of an Air Force ROTC Detachment means that you will have a built in network of people dedicated to helping you succeed. Detachment 855 exemplifies the unique camaraderie that can be found in military units. Our experienced cadets are happy to help new cadets find classes on campus, learn to wear the uniform correctly, learn basic customs and courtesies, meet fellow cadets, and fit into the program. Your Air Force ROTC instructors are a consistent resource for any professional questions you have. Respect and integrity are tenets of Air Force ROTC-hazing is NOT permitted!
As a cadet, you will wear your Air Force uniform during the duty day (0730-1630) once a week and to your Air Force ROTC courses. Outside of these requirements, you are allowed to wear your regular civilian clothing.
If you would like to ask a cadet more questions, please fill out the form on our "Ask a Cadet" page.
What is the physical fitness test I take as a cadet like?
All cadets must meet Air Force height and weight standards and pass the Air Force Physical Fitness Test, which includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run. For information on the scoring for the fitness test, please see the Air Force Fitness Program site.
I want to be a pilot in the Air Force. Does being a part of Air Force ROTC guarantee I will attend pilot training?
No. You can pursue a career as a pilot in the Air Force through ROTC, but there are limited positions available for Air Force ROTC graduates to attend pilot training each year and you must meet certain requirements and apply to be considered. For further information on the requirements and process for pursuing flight-related careers through Air Force ROTC, please see here.
The application process for all Air Force career fields occurs after you have contracted (committed to active duty service following graduation) with the Air Force. If you are not offered a slot to attend pilot training, or later become physically disqualified from the pilot career field, you will be required to fulfill your commitment to the Air Force in another career field.
I am interested in becoming a nurse. Can I pursue this career in the Air Force through ROTC?
Yes, but there are some conditions you may want to consider. Similar to other career fields in the Air Force, there are a limited number of positions available each year. The number of positions available varies based on the needs of the Air Force. Because the application for these positions occurs during the year prior to your graduation, when you have already incurred a service commitment, you are obligated to serve on active duty in a different career field if you are not selected for a nursing position.
I received a scholarship through the HSSP and I would like to attend BYU or UVU. What do I need to do next?
You must be accepted to BYU or UVU on your own merit in order to join Detachment 855. Neither school gives application preference to students who plan on participating in an ROTC program. Once you have been accepted to BYU or UVU, please contact the Detachment so we can assist you in registering for the correct courses and completing in-processing paperwork.
Please note that members of the LDS Church attending Brigham Young University are eligible to receive in-state tuition rates regardless of their Utah residency status. Therefore, if you are offered a Type 2 HSSP scholarship, you may be eligible to convert it to a Type 7 to cover four full years of tuition. Please contact the Detachment for further assistance in requesting a scholarship type conversion.
Can I take Air Force ROTC courses without being a cadet?
As long as you are a student at BYU or UVU, you are welcome to take any of our academic Aerospace Studies courses as a special student. As a special student you will attend an Aerospace Studies course, but not Leadership Lab or Physical Training. This is a great way to learn about Air Force culture and history if you find it interesting or want to a pursue a career where you will work closely with the military (such as an engineer for a defense contracting company). Additionally, this is an option available to students who are interested in becoming a cadet, but are waiting for their citizenship status to change in order to meet eligibility requirements. Please check out the courses tab in the site navigation bar to learn more about the courses we offer.