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Frequently Asked Questions

If I join Air Force ROTC, does that mean I’m joining the military?


No. You are not committed to joining the Air Force until you start your junior year of college. If you are on scholarship, you are committed at the start of your sophomore year. Air Force ROTC provides you with lots of opportunities to see what the Air Force is about before making a commitment to the Air Force. Plus, our classes have no credit hour cost. Why not give it a shot?

Do I have to go to boot camp?

No. You will not attend boot camp before entering our program. This is not like enlisting in the military. Your full-time job is to be a student. There are no monthly or annual training requirements. Think of ROTC as another 3-credit college class. Everything is completed while you are attending school here, with the one exception being Field Training (FT). It is a two-week summer encampment that you must attend during the summer between your sophomore and junior years. FT is conducted at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montogomery, Alabama. It is an intensive training period where you receive additional leadership training, attend numerous career orientations and learn firsthand what life on an Air Force base is really like. We pay all of your transportation costs and provide you with all the necessary uniform items. 

If I didn't join AFROTC as a freshman, am I too late?

No. Any student with at least three years remaining in their degree program can join Air Force ROTC. This includes grad school classes.


How old can I be and still participate in the Air Force ROTC program?

In general, you must complete the program and commission before age 39. There are two exceptions: if you desire to become a pilot or combat systems officer, you have to complete the program by age 32 (age restriction for rated jobs is not waiverable). You must activate your scholarship prior to age 30. 

I have served time in the military, do I have to complete the two years of general military course studies?

The Detachment Commander may credit your service time as completed GMC status.

Can I attend Air Force ROTC without a scholarship?

Yes, you can. Many of our students do not start with a scholarship, but cadets have the possibility to earn a scholarship in college. The number of scholarships available is determined by HQ AFROTC and varies between academic years. Scholarships can be given for 3.5 - 2 years of school.

Is there any incentive if I'm not on scholarship?

Yes! SD residents receive 50% off tuition and fees in their junior and senior years. Additionally, juniors and seniors receive $450 and $500 respectively, every month, just for being in the program. There is also automatic job placement after college with guaranteed promotions at the 2- and 4-year marks.

Is there a specific degree I need for AFROTC?

No. We take all liberal arts degrees! We also understand if you decided to change your degree as long as you can do so prior to activating a scholarship or being selected to go to field training (second semester sophomore year). If you are awarded a scholarship or selected to attend field training, you will be expected to finish out the academic path for that degree.

Is there a specific degree I need in order to be eligible for an AFROTC scholarship? 


No. However, more scholarships are awarded to those in a STEM major. It is very important that you first assess the degree program before enrolling in that program. You need to evaluate if you are capable of handling the course load for that program while maintaining a term and cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, in addition to earning passing grades. Those on scholarship are also required to take (and pass) 24 credit hours of math, physics, chemistry and engineering or 4 semesters of the same foreign language.

How does my major affect my career path?

The Air Force trains officers to perform their specific jobs, so most Air Force specialties do not require specific degrees. However, for some specialties (e.g. engineer, scientists, nursing) a close match is required. While your degree can be restricted depending on your desired career field, it is more important to choose a major that interests you, especially since it could be related to your future assignment. If you are not sure what Air Force specialty is for you, don't worry. You have plenty of time to decide. Cadets identify specialty and base preferences as a junior (or as a senior for 5-year cadets). Final classifications depend on the needs of the USAF, educational background, personal preference and commander recommendation. See more under the Career Opportunities section.

What is the military time commitment after graduation?

AFROTC graduates are committed to serve as an active duty member of the military for a minimum of 4 years after graduation. Some career fields like pilots and special forces may require 6-10 years. After 4 years of active duty service, you have the ability to get out of the military to pursue a normal job, join the reserves or guard or stay in past your initial 4-year commitment.

Can I take 5 years to finish my degree?

Some degrees (e.g. engineering) typically take longer to complete due to heavy course requirements. If you major in a degree listed below, the Air Force will allow you to stretch classes across 5 years. We recommend that you do so! It is not fun to take 20 credit hours a semester - along with summer classes - just to finish in 4 years.

Would it be in my best interest to start the program as a Freshman?

Yes. It gives you more time to participate in Air Force ROTC without obligation, to gain experience, and to decide whether you want to continue the program. It also gives you more time to prepare for field training between your underclass (GMC) and upper-class (POC) years in the program.

Does the Air Force ROTC program include any extracurricular activities?

Yes. Our program offers many unique experiences. Arnold Air Society and Honor Guard offer extra leadership opportunities. We also have base visits, incentive flights, Notre Dame ROTC basketball tournament, Bataan Memorial Death March, summer internships and much more. You can also get involved with community service projects with more in-depth military training. You may participate in as many of these as your time and schedule allow. We certainly like to see our cadets participate in more than just the required class and lab periods; however, your first and most important focus should be attending school and maintaining good grades. The more you put into the AFROTC program, the more you will get out of it.

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

Yes. Generally, extracurricular campus activities and AFROTC are perfectly compatible as long as you do not overload yourself. It's important to note, however, that serious physical injuries suffered while participating in intercollegiate or intramural athletic activities could result in your being disenrolled from AFROTC, because of a change in your medical status.

Are there specific residence hall for AFROTC cadets?

No, there are no restrictions imposed on where AFROTC cadets will reside.

Current as of: Spring 2022