If your first response to our quiz title was to snort derisively and think to yourself, “Of COURSE I could be a military officer! Only dummies get stuck as privates.” Well, we may have a thing or two to say about that. First, you have to prove yourself … so drop and give me 20!
These days, it’s awfully easy to make it into the Army. But it’s a different matter if you want to be calling the shots on the battlefield. Officers need substantial schooling and exceptional leadership skills to earn the respect of the men and women they lead into chaos. Do you even understand the process of becoming an officer? How many different paths can you take to officerhood?
Do you know exactly how much education officers need to qualify for the appropriate training courses, and how long those courses last? Can you pick up and leave at your commander’s whims, or do you have other professional duties that would make it hard for you to fulfill your obligations?
Because, see, officers are one of the linchpins of the entire military. If no one’s giving the orders, nothing’s getting done. In times of war or peace, that’s a recipe for a complete internal meltdown.
When the bullets start flying, you’d best hope that your commanding officers were paying attention during their training. It’s quite literally a matter of life or death. So Ten-Hut! Settle in with our quiz and see if you know how to transform yourself into an officer of the U.S. military.
You must be at least 17 years old to start down the path to officerhood in the U.S. military. Not everyone will see their goal through to the end.
Enlisted soldiers do most of the grunt work. Officers, on the other hand, are the managers, making key decisions that make the military operate (hopefully) smoothly.
The Reserve Officers Training Corps, or ROTC, is a prominent program in American universities. Students learn valuable officer skills in exchange for tuition fees and the souls of their first-born children, but we probably made up that last part.
If you begin ROTC when you enter a university, once you complete your four-year degree, you will not only graduate … you'll also be an officer. A four-star general, even!
There are four paths toward becoming an officer. Each path offers a very different way to the end goal, but they all require years of sacrifice and dedication.
Active duty officers make the service their full-time job. They may be deployed around the world, wherever duty calls.
A four-year college degree is the one truly critical component to becoming an officer. So if you hate school, maybe you should really work on your salute instead.
Deployment is a great unknown for all service personnel. The geopolitical climate can change at any moment, transforming relative peace into full-blown war in a matter of days.
In the Active Reserve, you're allowed to pursue your normal professional life, so you can choose your place of residence. That's not true of other all officers, who are subject to the whims of their commanders.
The U.S. Military Academy, located at West Point, New York, is often just called "West Point." It's a college that offers four-year degrees along with officer training, and it's very, very tough to be accepted.
West Point admissions are insanely competitive. Many applicants rely on nominations and letters of recommendation from well-placed politicians.
The Officer Candidate School is typically a 12-week course. Once complete, you'll be an Army second lieutenant.
You might complete the OCS, but you won't actually be an officer until your four-year degree is complete … and that degree must come from an accredited school.
For officers, education is paramount. Educational background almost always guides the direction that he or she takes through the military.
Yes, it's very tough to get admitted to military academies. But once you make it, the government pays for almost all of your schooling, meaning the most important education of your life is free.
Army salaries are generous, and when you consider that the Army pays for most of your living expenses, you come out way ahead, particularly if you're a senior officer.
A DCO is direct commission officer, an officer who is a civilian with advanced professional skills that the military really needs. DCOs are required to take some officer training courses to become full members of the military.
Background in certain fields may make you eligible for the direct commission path. But you need skills in high-demand areas, like medicine, technology or law.
It's not as common as the other paths, but yes, some enlisted personnel do make the transition into officers.
The ROTC Basic Course is made up of students in their first two years of college. Certain selected students can then move on the Advanced Course, where they receive uniforms and prepare for the military in earnest.
Most candidates arrive at this school with a bachelor's degree in hand. So this school rarely exceeds one year in duration.
High-ranking enlisted service members can advance to the point that they become NCOs -- Non-Commissioned Officers. They take additional courses to shore up their educational background.
Officer Training School runs the gamut of skills and responsibilities required of true officers. That means getting dirty, with a significant amount of field work and physical training.
If you're coming from the enlisted ranks, you need at least 90 college credits to apply for Officer Candidate School. As we mentioned, education is paramount when it comes to becoming an officer.
In the Army, it's called Officer Candidate School. The Air Force equivalent is called Officer Training School.
There are four phases to the Air Force's Officer Training School. Once you've completed the course, you'll have the skills to lead as a second lieutenant.
They are the enlisted personnel who accumulate vast specialty expertise that makes them invaluable to their units. They become warrant officers, renowned for their deep understanding of very technical subjects.
OTS varies depending on the location and the service branch. It can last up to 17 weeks.
The ROTC program pays for a lot of your tuition and trains you to become an officer. But once you graduate, you're required to serve for a set time in the military.
In the Officer Training School, Phase Two teaches critical combat skills and leadership concepts, two very important elements in an actual ground fight.