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AFROTC Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of commonly asked questions regarding AFROTC and how it impacts your college life.  If you want to know more specifics about our program here at Detachment 290, as well as information about active duty life in the Air Force and links to information on Air Force career fields, please also download our information packet below:

Download:  Air Force ROTC Detachment 290 Information Packet



1. If I join Air Force ROTC, does that mean I'm joining the military?

No. You won’t sign a contract to serve in the Air Force until you either accept a scholarship or until the first day of your junior year in the program.  With Air Force ROTC, we provide you with lots of opportunities to see what the Air Force is about before signing up. And while you're waiting, you are getting college out of the way and having a lot of fun.

2. What is the difference between Junior ROTC in high school and ROTC in college?

The mission of the high school Junior ROTC program is to build better citizens for America. The mission of the college ROTC program is to produce leaders for the Air Force. If you are interested in starting an Air Force Junior ROTC program at your high school, visit

3. Do I have to be in Junior ROTC in high school to be eligible for ROTC in college?

No. In fact, the majority of students enrolled in college ROTC have never been involved in the Junior ROTC program.

4. Do I have to join Air Force ROTC as a freshman?

No. Any student with at least three years remaining in their studies are eligible for our program. Please give us a call and we’ll determine if you have enough time remaining in your studies to complete AFROTC.

5. Can I enroll if I didn't take Air Force ROTC as a freshman?

Yes. You can enroll in Aerospace Studies (AFS) 111 and Aerospace Studies (AFS) 211/AFS 212 (your university may have a different name).  This will double you up on the freshman (100) level and sophomore (200) level courses, making you what we refer to as a "250."


6. Can I attend Air Force ROTC without a scholarship?

Yes, you can. Many of our students do not start with a scholarship, but some earn one eventually.

7. I didn't receive an Air Force ROTC scholarship before I started college; are there scholarship opportunities while I'm in college?

Yes. Depending on how many years you have left in college, you may qualify for a two- or three-year scholarship. For more details on scholarship opportunities, please visit our scholarships page.

8. Is preference shown toward scholarship cadets? 

Definitely not! The fact that a cadet may have an Air Force ROTC scholarship has absolutely no bearing on an Air Force career, nor does it affect your evaluation while in the Air Force ROTC program.

9. Are there any restrictions as to what students select as their academic major?

None at all. In fact, we encourage you to take a curriculum you are interested in and in which you have the capability to do well. Our main academic concern is that you maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 2.5 and attain your degree in the time period planned. The GPA requirements are different if you are applying for a scholarship and once you are on scholarship. Check our scholarships page for those specific requirements.

10. Can I pursue graduate education after I'm commissioned?

Yes, you can! The Air Force is education-oriented and financially supports graduate studies. You can apply for the Air Force Institute of Technology to earn an advanced degree on full scholarship. Additionally, most bases have graduate college programs, and you may use the Tuition Assistance program that pays $4,500/year toward a degree at the next highest level.

11. How often can I take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)?

The test is given several times during the fall and spring and can be taken a maximum of two times with at least 6 months between tests.

12. I'm prior service – do I have to attend the General Military Course (GMC)?

Maybe. The Professor of Aerospace Studies may waive some or all of the GMC if you are prior enlisted. This is determined by the amount and kind of experience you had when you departed prior service. You may want to attend the sophomore Air Force ROTC classes and/or the preparation sessions for Field Training with the sophomores to see what Field Training with Air Force ROTC is all about. Prior service cadets normally attend the 2-week Field Training.

13. If I take Air Force ROTC classes, am I committed to military or government service once I join?

If you are interested in becoming an officer, there is NO service commitment during the first two years of the Air Force ROTC program (the General Military Course) unless you have an Air Force ROTC scholarship. If you decide to stay and join the Professional Officer Course (POC; the last two years of the program), you'll sign an allocation contract with the Air Force and then incur a service obligation. For Air Force ROTC scholarship students, you're obligated once you've activated the scholarship.  Freshman cadets on scholarship may elect to leave the program at any point in their freshman year without incurring payback costs or service commitment to the Air Force.

14. What are the other Air Force commissioning opportunities?

Other commissioning opportunities exist through the United States Air Force Academy.

Commissioning opportunities for college graduates also exist through Officer Training School, an intense 9-week program at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Commissioned Officer Training is a 4-week program designed for professionals who have received a direct commissioned appointment as a lawyer, chaplain or into a corps of the medical service.

And Reserve Commissioned Officer Training is a 13-day intensive program designed for hard-to-recruit Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard medical service officers.

15. Are there special programs for active-duty airmen?

Yes. There are several programs available. Some involve scholarship opportunities, while others are at your own expense. Remember, the first step in any enlisted-to-officer program is a stop at your base Education Office. Each of these programs has deadlines and age limitations, so check early. 

16. Do I receive any ROTC credit for Junior ROTC?

Yes, you may. Three years of Junior ROTC (JROTC) are considered equal to three semesters of the General Military Course (GMC), and two years are equal to one year of the GMC. No credit is given for less than two years of JROTC training. If academically feasible, we generally recommend students complete all four semesters in the GMC to make you the most competitive and prepared for Field Training.

17. If I encounter academic or personal problems, where can I turn for help?

First, try your Air Force ROTC detachment instructor. While the instructor may not have a psychology degree, he or she does have experience in counseling and can direct you to the proper resources on campus. Air Force ROTC instructors try to develop a strong professional rapport with each cadet. Each university also offers various resource offices for their students and many services are free as part of your student fees.

18. Is the Four-Year Program more advantageous for students?

Yes, for the following reasons:

It gives you more time to participate in Air Force ROTC without obligation, to gain experience and to decide whether you want to apply for the advanced program, the POC.

You will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships if eligible.

You can retake the Air Force Officer Qualification (AFOQT) test to improve your scores.

19. Do I receive any ROTC credit for Civil Air Patrol (CAP)?

The unit commander can give credit for part of the GMC to cadets who receive the Spaatz, Earhart, and Mitchell Awards during any academic term of the GMC.


1. What is the commitment to the Air Force upon graduation?

Most officers have a four-year commitment. For pilots, it's ten years after pilot training, and six years for Combat Systems Officers/Air Battle Managers/Remote Aircraft Pilots after training.

2. When do I know what job I will be doing for the Air Force as an officer?

You will compete in a selection process much like the one of an enrollment allocation as an officer candidate. The factors to be used will include your Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) scores, your Field Training performance rating, your Grade Point Average (GPA), your academic major, your Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score, and the Detachment Commander's ranking. You will know your specific Air Force job category during your Junior (300) year.

3. Do I have to become a pilot or navigator?

No. The vast majority of Air Force jobs do not involve flying at all. In the civilian world, there are thousands of jobs and careers – doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, engineers, financial careers, food-service management – the list is endless. For almost every civilian out in the workforce, there is an Air Force officer counterpart performing a similar job. For more information about the many careers available, visit the AFROTC careers page

4. When do I actually receive my commission as an Air Force officer?

Cadets normally get commissioned in a special ceremony the same day they graduate. You can expect to enter active duty about 30 days after graduation, but may wait to go on active duty 90 days or more depending on training requirements.

5. Must a student go on active duty in the Air Force immediately following graduation and commissioning?

Not necessarily. You may request an educational delay if you desire to attend graduate school at your own expense before going on active duty. If approved, the Air Force will postpone your active-duty tour. Delays are routinely provided if you select to attend dental or medical school. Scholarships also exist for students accepted to medical school.

6. Can I continue my education beyond the baccalaureate level?

Yes. The Air Force offers several opportunities to do so. In select cases, you can request an educational delay. This delay between the time of commissioning and reporting for active duty will be of sufficient length to allow you to fulfill the requirements for a professional or master's degree. You will assume all financial obligations. There are also Air Force Institute of Technology programs where the Air Force pays for your graduate school education.  You may also use your GI Bill (when eligible) and the Tuition Assistance program to complete a graduate degree in your spare time while on active duty.

7. I don't have 20/20 vision. Can I still fly?

Possibly.  Request information through cadre on current vision requirements for all rated (flying) career fields.  You may elect to do surgery before any selection boards, but this surgery is at your own expense and must be completed and medically approved before any pilot or other rated selection boards convene.

8. Do I have to major in Aeronautical Science to become a pilot or navigator?

No. Your academic major plays a minor role in pilot and other rated selection. You can major in any degree program and compete to receive a pilot or other rated slot in Air Force ROTC. You can even be on an Air Force ROTC scholarship in an engineering or science major and compete on an equal basis for a flying position.

9. What are the age limits for a cadet to compete for a pilot or rated position?

To compete for the pilot or rated categories, you must be able to complete your bachelor's degree and be commissioned through Air Force ROTC before you are 29 years old.

10. Will I be behind my fellow nonmilitary graduates after I complete my service obligation and decide to get out?

No. In fact, many companies prefer to hire former officers over new college graduates.. Your Air Force experience, the management skills you've gained on active duty and your active-duty educational benefits can give you the competitive edge you need.

11. How do Air Force ROTC graduates compare with Air Force Academy and Officer Training School graduates?

The Academy, ROTC, and Officer Training School all produce qualified Air Force officers. The Air Force achieves better diversity and talent by getting officers from more than one commissioning source. Once on active duty, the most important factor in promotion is job performance.  Commissioning sources do not affect promotion.



1. Do I have to cut my hair?

Hair must be kept in accordance with Air Force guidelines when in uniform.

2. Do I have to wear a uniform to class every day?

The only time cadets are required to wear their uniform is to Leadership Lab and during one class session during the week and three times a week with Physical Training. Occasionally, during special events, you may be required to wear your uniform.

3. How much time do I have to spend with Air Force ROTC each week?

The only required time is during your Air Force ROTC classes, Leadership Lab, and physical fitness training. (This equates to approximately six hours per week for freshmen and sophomores; eight hours per week for juniors and seniors.)

4. How are new cadets treated?

Very well. Cadet "sponsors" are assigned to new students. They can help students find classes, get textbooks, learn to wear the uniform correctly, meet other cadets and learn basic customs and courtesies. It is also the responsibility of the cadet's flight commander to help new cadets fit into the program. Many detachments also have tutoring programs and other forms of assistance. Hazing is not permitted! You'll find the cadet staff and detachment staff are friendly and concerned about your well-being and progress.

5. How much marching and drilling will I have to do?

Not as much as you think. Marching/drill is sometimes practiced during your squadron time at Leadership Laboratory. There are no mandatory drill sessions outside of LLAB but usually cadets get together to practice drill on the weekends.

6. When will I receive my Air Force ROTC uniform?

You will wear an issued polo shirt for the first semester and be issued a full uniform at the start of the spring semester. We will tell you how to arrange for having alterations completed (at no cost to you). However, you are responsible for keeping the uniform clean and presentable.

7. Am I expected to participate in any extracurricular activities?

Your first and foremost concern is attending classes and maintaining good grades. After this, you will certainly want to examine some of the various activities sponsored by both your university and Air Force ROTC. There's something in our program of interest to everyone.

8. Can I participate in intercollegiate athletics while a member of the Air Force ROTC program?

Yes. Generally, extracurricular campus activities and Air Force ROTC are perfectly compatible – as long as you do not overload yourself with extracurricular activities. A serious physical injury while participating in intercollegiate or intramural athletic activities may cause you to be disenrolled from Air Force ROTC because of a change in your physical profile.

9. Where can I attend Air Force ROTC?

Air Force ROTC is offered at over 1000 institutions throughout the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.


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