Training - Basic and Advanced
Boot Camp - Enlisted service members attend Basic Training (boot camp), which lasts between seven to 12 weeks depending on the Service branch. Basic Training includes a rigorous physical fitness program, but also builds mental strength and knowledge of military history and tactics. It is an intense, challenging experience, but 91 percent of recruits successfully complete it. Learn more about Basic Training here.
Advanced Training - After completing boot camp, recruits receive additional training specific to their career field. This type of training is known as Advanced Individual Training (AIT). It includes classroom instruction at skill-training schools as well as field exercises. More information about Advanced Training can be found here.
There are multiple ways to become an officer in the Military, but all require a four-year degree in order to commission. Here are some options to consider:
- Service academies and Military Colleges: Service academies and Senior Military Colleges (SMCs) offer a four-year higher education experience while fully immersing students in military culture. The academies offer full scholarships (tuition, housing, textbooks) in return for a five-year service commitment after graduation. In comparison, SMCs combine higher education with military instruction through mandatory ROTC programs. Only students that receive military scholarships are required to serve upon graduating.
- Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC): The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a great officer path option for those interested in experiencing military training and culture who still want to attend a civilian college. Students participate in ROTC exercises, which are a combination of field exercises, hands-on leadership workshops and classroom instruction. The program pays for a student's education in exchange for a service commitment upon graduation.
- Officer Candidate School (OCS): Officer Candidate School (OCS) (known as Officer Training School in the Air Force) is the officer program for recruits who possess a four-year degree with no prior experience in the Military. It teaches leadership skills, military culture and physical training over a nine to 17 week period, depending on the Service branch.
- Direct Commission: Civilians who have special skills in demand by the Military can also become officers through a process called direct commission. Direct Commission Officers (DCOs) typically posess advanced degrees in medicine, law, religious studies, engineering or intelligence.
See a sampling of the types of training available to service members with highlights from the Military's "Training Videos" page.