Become An Air Force Officer

The Cadet Chapel and F-16 reflect on the tiles of The Terrazzo at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Oct. 31, 2018 after a few inches of snowfall blanketed the region overnight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
The Cadet Chapel and F-16 reflect on the tiles of The Terrazzo at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Oct. 31, 2018 after a few inches of snowfall blanketed the region overnight. (Trevor Cokley/U.S. Air Force)

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 must also 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.

U.S. Air Force Academy

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, 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 aeroengineering. Admission to the Air Force Academy is generally made through nominations from United States 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 four- and two-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. Freshman receive $300; sophomores receive $350; juniors receive $450; and seniors receive $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 freshman and sophomores can apply by contacting the professor of aerospace studies at their college or university.

For more on military educational benefits, visit the Education Center.

Officer Training School

The Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB 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. Direct Appointment The Air Force directly commissions men and women in certain professions, including certain medical, legal or religious fields.

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