Become an Officer

There are a few different ways to become an officer in the armed forces: you can attend a US military academy, participate in the ROTC program, complete Officer Candidate School, or become directly appointed after enlisting.

Option 1: Attend a Military Service Academy

In addition to becoming an officer after graduation, if you attend a military service academy you would receive a free ride while earning a bachelor’s degree. There is a military academy for each branch of the military and in order to apply to a Military Service Academy of choice, students will need to apply to the individual academy and receive a nomination from at least one authorized source. The only academy that doesn’t require a nomination is the Coast Guard Academy. General eligibility for a Military Academy requires that students be at least 17 years old, a US citizen, unmarried, and without dependents. Considerations are also made based on an applicant’s moral character, academic record, leadership potential, physical/medical fitness, and commitment to the military. Read More...

In addition to becoming an officer after graduation, if you attend a military service academy you would receive a free ride while earning a bachelor’s degree. There is a military academy for each branch of the military and in order to apply to a Military Service Academy of choice, students will need to apply to the individual academy and receive a nomination from at least one authorized source. The only academy that doesn’t require a nomination is the Coast Guard Academy. General eligibility for a Military Academy requires that students be at least 17 years old, a US citizen, unmarried, and without dependents. Considerations are also made based on an applicant’s moral character, academic record, leadership potential, physical/medical fitness, and commitment to the military.

How to Apply:

Apply online to the service academy you’re interested in attending and follow the steps provided. Each academy has its own process, so make sure to pay attention to the details.

Service Academies

receiving an appointment made by the individual academy. Authorized sources are either congressional or presidential/military service-connected. These nominations include selections made by the Vice-President of the United States, Idaho Senators, or Idaho Representatives.

Authorized Sources:


Option 2: Enroll in ROTC

The ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and is offered at colleges and universities to train students towards becoming officers in the military. You can join ROTC programs before arriving to college by applying for a national scholarship or once you’re on campus through an ROTC unit. Through ROTC, you receive basic military training and officer training for the branch you choose and can also receive a financial assistance to use towards tuition, books, and supplies. There is an opportunity to join ROTC without commitment, but once you receive financial assistance, you will be obligated to active duty military service after graduation, usually for four years. Read More...

The ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and is offered at colleges and universities to train students towards becoming officers in the military. You can join ROTC programs before arriving to college by applying for a national scholarship or once you’re on campus through an ROTC unit. Through ROTC, you receive basic military training and officer training for the branch you choose and can also receive a financial assistance to use towards tuition, books, and supplies. There is an opportunity to join ROTC without commitment, but once you receive financial assistance, you will be obligated to active duty military service after graduation, usually for four years.

The following institutions offer ROTC:

For information on the ROTC Scholarship:


Option 3: Apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS)

There is a third route toward becoming an officer through applying to an Officer Candidate School which will teach you to understand military culture, military law, how to manage others, and overcome physical and mental challenges. If you graduate from a traditional four-year school or university, you can talk to a recruiter from the military branch you’re interested in and sign up for the program at an Officer Candidate School. Each branch’s program duration is different, but upon graduation from the Officer Candidate School, you would receive an officer title and will fulfill your service obligation. General requirements in addition to graduating with a 4-year degree include being at least 19 years old and maintain eligibility for a secret security clearance. Read More...

There is a third route toward becoming an officer through applying to an Officer Candidate School which will teach you to understand military culture, military law, how to manage others, and overcome physical and mental challenges. If you graduate from a traditional four-year school or university, you can talk to a recruiter from the military branch you’re interested in and sign up for the program at an Officer Candidate School. Each branch’s program duration is different, but upon graduation from the Officer Candidate School, you would receive an officer title and will fulfill your service obligation. General requirements in addition to graduating with a 4-year degree include being at least 19 years old and maintain eligibility for a secret security clearance.

To learn more, visit: