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Can I Join The Air Force Reserves While In College

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Want To Join Rotc Here Are The Pros And Cons

Why I Joined The Air Force Reserves

ROTC can be a fulfilling option for many college students, but joining the program is also a serious commitment. Are you considering making ROTC part of your college experience and getting a head start on a military career? Read on to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of this commitment.

What exactly is ROTC?

ROTC is an acronym for Reserve Officer Training Corps. In the program, college students train to become officers in the United State Military. The program has branches in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. While graduates may also serve in the Marine Corps and Coast Guard after college, these branches do not have specific ROTC programs, although the Coast Guard does offer a similar program called the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative.

Approximately 1,700 colleges and universities across the country, including many highly prestigious schools, offer ROTC programs. While scholarships arent a guarantee, many cadets do receive significant 2-, 3-, or 4-year scholarships.

For more information about ROTC, check out A Guide to ROTC Scholarships.

What Jobs In The Air Force Reserve Have Bonuses

Active duty airmen who agree to serve six years in the reserve can get that maximum $20,000 bonus if they are 1A1X1 flight engineers, 1A4X1 airborne battle managers, 1T2X1 pararescue airmen, 2A2X2 special operations forces/personnel recovery airmen, 2A5X2 helicopter maintainers, 2A6X4 aircraft fuel systems, and 3E8X1

How Do I Become A Civil Engineer Officer

The Air Force has three primary ways of commissioning officers. They are:

United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The USAFA is the epicenter of Air Force leadership. With an admissions rate that hovers in the single digits, Academy cadets are the cream of the crop. Everyone who enrolls here is an all-star scholar and athlete. The Air Force invests more time, money, and resources training them than any other commissioning source. Everyone who attends the academy will commission into the Air Force upon graduation.


  • Inclusion into an elite alumni network.


  • Extremely rigorous academic and athletic program, which stresses out many cadets.
  • Lots of restrictive rules. Youll miss out on the normal college experience.

Fortunately, there is an option for aspiring officers to join the military after attending a civilian university

Reserve Officer Training Corps is how the Air Force gets most of their officers. Its an in-college program: you wear a uniform and do military training once or twice per week, and after completing all the requirements, you commission into the Air Force. If you major in civil engineering, you have a strong shot at commissioning as a civil engineer officer.


  • You can join AFROTC at any point of your time in college.




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What Are The Qualifications To Join The Reserves And National Guard

The following are the basic requirements for joining. You must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or nationalized to be a Reserve or National Guard officer.
  • To enlist, you must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
  • Age requirements differ between branches of service, but in general, you must be between the ages of 17-35 with no prior service . The Guard experimented with raising the age to 42 but reverted to the lower age in 2011. Note: Seventeen-year-olds need parental consent. Or between the ages of 17 and 59 for those with prior service and are able to complete 20 years of creditable service for retirement by age 60.
  • Take and pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
  • Pass an Armed Forces physical examination.
  • Must be available for initial active duty training.
  • Must agree to participate in an initial tour of active duty training of at least 12 weeks.

Where Does Basic Training Take Place

Inside look at the Air Force ROTC  Technique

For all full-time regular force candidates, basic training takes place at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

All part-time candidates joining their local Primary Reserve unit will undergo similar basic training objectives. Reserve units will conduct their Basic Training either at the local reserve unit location or at a Canadian Armed Forces training centre. Locations vary depending on units. Talk to a Primary Reserve unit recruiter for more information on their Basic Training program.

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What If I Have A Problem Getting Time Off From My Employer To Fulfill My Military Service Obligations

By law, as a member of the Reserve or National Guard, you must, upon request, be granted a leave of absence to satisfy a requirement for military training. The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires employers to provide Reservists with time away from their jobs to perform military duty. However, you must notify your employer that you intend to take military leave. You must be reemployed after completion of your military duty and return to your job within a reasonable time. You must be treated as though you never had left employment, including schedule pay raises, promotions or credit for longevity or vacation. Your employer only has to hold a job open for 60 months if you accept voluntary orders.

Getting Fit With Fitt

As a rule of thumb, ease into your activities, gradually increase each element of FITT, and end each session with a cool-down. For example:

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up. Walking, biking or a slow jog will increase blood flow to the muscles and lightly increase your heart rate. Follow up with some light stretching of the muscles you will be using in your workout.
  • Improving your overall fitness is most effectively done through a combination of 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic and strength exercises. The two sample fitness sessions below are based on Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology guidelines.
  • A 5- to 10-minute cool-down helps return your body to its normal, pre-exercise condition. Suddenly stopping an intense workout can make you dizzy, nauseated or even faint. Walking, biking or a slow jog will gradually bring down your heart rate and relieve muscle soreness.

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How Do I Apply As A Rated Traditional Reservist

  • Have your AFROTC Detachment confirm you are potentially pilot, CSO, or RPA qualified medically.
  • Complete the Test of Basic Aviation Skills .
  • Contact your local Air Force Reserve recruiter or call 800-257-1212.
  • Work to submit an Undergraduate Flying Training application to Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command by the suspense of the Fall FY board.

For Current Medical Students And Residents

Air Force Reserve – Pros and Cons

Medical students using the Health Services Scholarship Program or attending the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences will serve as Second Lieutenants in the Army or Air Force or as Ensigns in the Navy.

Once they graduate and join the rest of the service, they will automatically be promoted to Captain in the Army or Air Force or Lieutenant in the Navy.

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Benefits Of Joining The Military After College Graduation

Many reasons exist for joining the military after you possess a degree, and the benefits entice many individuals to prioritize their educations before taking the leap. The following section highlights a few worthwhile reasons a student might want to delay service to their country.

Whether planning to join theAir Force,Army,,Navy, orCoast Guard, each of these military branches allow students with four-year degrees to bypass general enlistment and move directly into officer training. In addition to saving time spent working up the ranks, officers take on leadership roles and earn higher salaries.

Under CLRP, qualified individuals who have not previously served in the military but hold existing student loans from attending college can apply for this repayment program when they join. While Congress stipulated a maximum amount of $65,000, branch set sits own maximums. The Army and Navy offer maximum repayment, the Marines allows $20,000 and the Air Force $10,000. The Coast Guard has a similar student loan repayment program for officers known as the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative .

Specifically designed for individuals in the military who either possess or are in the process of completing a health profession-related degree, this program repays up to $40,000 annually minus 25% taxes. To qualify, applicants must be in a Selected Reserve officer in the armed forces and plan to follow a career deemed critically needed during wartime by the Secretary of Defense.

What Services Are Covered And Where Can I Use It

Well Child check-ups, annual eye exams, immunizations, maternity care, behavioral healthcare, emergency care, prescription drug coverage, and urgent care are all covered service examples, .

Although military treatment facilities are very busy, this program allows you to have access to receiving treatment there on a space-available basis.

It is usually faster to receive service from a TRICARE authorized provider or hospital.

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Air Force Advanced Enlisted Rank Policy

In the Air Force, recruits normally enter at the rank of airman basic, with pay grade E-1. Again, requirements to enter at higher ranks and pay grades are similar to those for the other armed services.

If you have two years of JROTC training, you can enter at the rank of airman . You also can enter at this level if you have 20 credits from an accredited college or university, or if you have achieved Eagle Scout or Girl Scout Gold.

To enter with the rank of airman first class , you have the options of having completed:

  • Completed 45 college credits
  • Or three years of JROTC training

Also, several awards, including the General Billy Mitchell Award, Amelia Earhart Award, and the General Carl A. Spaatz Award will qualify you to enter at the level of airman first class.

There are special operations programs within the Air Force that upon completion will allow successful individuals that have enlisted for a period of six years to be promoted to Airman First Class . Schools like the indoctrination course Combat Controller and Pararescue .

College Costs For Medical Professionals

Air Force ROTC Detachment 440

Some of the best financial incentives to joining the military exist for healthcare professionals.

With 4-year medical school costs ranging from $150,000 to almost $400,000, it is no surprise that newly graduated medical professionals are looking for programs the help pay their medical school loans while providing rewarding and challenging experiences.

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Drawbacks To Joining Rotc

Joining ROTCespecially if you receive a scholarshipis a serious commitment. You must sign a legally-binding contract that could last up to 12 years. Under some circumstances, you must make this decision before even beginning the program.

If you drop out or are expelled from the program, you will face serious consequences, including potential legal action. You will also be required to pay back your scholarship if you have received one.

If you commit any violations of ROTCs standards or your schools, or drop below ROTCs academic requirements, you may be asked to leave the program, and you will still face consequences and potential legal action.

While there is no service obligation for the ROTC Basic Course, you must serve in the army if you receive an ROTC scholarship or enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course. These ROTC members must commit to a three-year active duty, usually directly after college. Scholarship students must serve four years on active duty, with a total of eight years of military service.

Ultimately, this means you need to be certain that serving in the military is something you really want to do. Remember that this also means youll need to delay other career or education aspirations until your active service is complete, though you can pursue them while you are fulfilling non-active service requirements.

Enrollment Options For Active

Not all colleges for military service members require learners to attend courses on campus. Many schools offer online and hybrid programs, generous transfer credit policies, and credit for military experience. These programs may save learners money on tuition and reduce the time needed to graduate.

Military personnel can continue their education while deployed and living on base. Satellite campuses and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support deliver self-paced courses and career-preparation assistance.

Many of the best online colleges for military students maintain one or more satellite campuses. These campuses allow students to receive an on-campus experience without relocating. Students at satellite campuses may also receive lower tuition rates and more student-teacher interaction than learners on main campuses.

However, attending a satellite campus may come with drawbacks. The small campus size may limit the number of academic facilities, extracurricular activities, and available courses. Students should visit their prospective campus to determine whether it meets their educational needs.

Independent and distance learning can help active-duty service members earn a degree from their current location. DANTES’s Kuder Journey software connects students with highly trained advisors and coaches. Kuder Journey’s other benefits include a digital portfolio for work samples, career transition resources, and one-on-one job-hunting assistance.

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How Much Does It Cost

The cost of service depends on if you select a member-only plan, or a member plus family plan.

There are deductibles associated with the TRS plan, but they are very low in comparison to civilian health care plans.

Premium Cost:

2020 costs for TRICARE Reserve Select:

  • Member only: $44.17/mo
  • E1-E4: 52$ per member and $104 member plus family
  • E5 and above: $156 per member and $313 member plus family

Costs for specific services vary depending on if the service is provided at a facility in or out of the network.

The total catastrophic cap that you would pay for services is $1,044.

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Enlisting As A College Graduate Instead Of Joining As An Officer

Air Force Reserves to ROTC

While most college graduates think their best path forward to a career in the military is to join as an officer, some want a different experience. Officer training provides the most common path, but the military does permit graduates to enter as enlisted members. Though college graduates gain many valuable, transferable skills during their time in school, they do not learn the basic skills and knowledge related to joining the armed forces.

Topics such as military traditions, appearance, and the history of the branch you choose to serve in typically arent taught to officers, so someone wanting to work their way up may value this type of training. Others feel that, rather than immediately joining the ranks as a leader, they should experience training from bottom to top to gain the respect of those they command. When joining as an enlisted soldier, all new recruits go through the same paces and their commanding officers expect them to complete each and every step regardless of existing education.

Alton E. Pete is retired from the United States Army. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he graduated from El Cerrito High School. After a couple of years in college, he later joined the army in 1987. He started his military career at Fort Lewis, Washington was stationed in Hanau, Germany and went on various assignments throughout the States and Puerto Rico. Hes currently back in college to pursue his masters degree in music and then a PhD.

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Am I Eligible For Education Benefits Under The Mgib

You may be eligible for education benefits under this program if you meet the requirements listed below.

One of these must be true:

  • You have a 6-year service obligation in the Selected Reserve, or
  • Youre an officer in the Selected Reserve and you agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your initial service obligation

Note: Your obligation must have started after June 30, 1985, or for some types of training after September 30, 1990.

And all of these must also be true:

  • You complete your initial active duty for training , and
  • You get a high school diploma or certificate of equal value, like a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED, before finishing IADT , and
  • You stay in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit

Submit Your Application 1submit Your Application

You will then need to present original copies of your birth certificate, government issued photo ID, transcripts from your highest level of education, proof of trade qualifications and professional licenses, and any additional forms required for the trade or job you selected. All overseas education must be presented with a Canadian equivalency from Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada

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Are You Ready To Find Your Fit

Active-duty military personnel can prepare for civilian life by earning a college degree. These learners often face unique challenges, such as establishing residency for tuition purposes, transitioning between military and civilian learning styles, and balancing coursework with other responsibilities.

Fortunately, the best online colleges for the military offer numerous degrees and extensive support services. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, 75% of student veterans attended college full time in 2018. Nearly half of these learners earned a degree while raising children. Many online programs deliver coursework asynchronously and employ advisors who work solely with service members.

The federal government promotes higher education with the GI Bill®. This bill provides significant financial assistance to qualifying degree-seekers. In 2017, revisions to the bill included expanded financial aid to Purple Heart recipients and refunds if a learner’s school closes. Service members can also apply for private and institutional funding.

How Much College Aid Can You Receive

Education Support Programs for the Military

In the Army Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, courses taken when youre off-duty can earn you up to 100% tuition assistance, up to $4,500 per fiscal year. The Air Force Reserve also offers this tuition assistance for associates degrees and bachelors degrees, and ads 75% tuition assistance for students pursuing a masters degree. As with the undergraduate programs, your annual tuition assistance cannot exceed $4,500.

The Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve currently do not offer this form of college aid for its members. In certain cases, however, members can qualify for the tuition assistance offered by the Navy and Marine Corps.

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