Thinking of a career in the United States Armed Forces?

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  • Military Service Academies and Other Ways to Become a Military Officer

    You can become an officer in the U.S. military by graduating from one of the U.S. service academies. The academies are colleges that train future commissioned officers.

    Benefits and Commitments

    • Tuition, room, and board are free.
    • You get paid while you are attending.
    • You must serve for several years in the military after you graduate, unless you go to the Merchant Marine Academy—then you have other options.

    Five Service Academies

    There are five military academies:

    How to Get Into a Military Academy

    To be accepted into any service academy except for the Coast Guard Academy, you must first be nominated to the school by either:

    • A U.S. Senator
    • A U.S. Representative
    • The Vice President of the U.S., who can nominate applicants to any academy except the Merchant Marine Academy.

    For more information, contact your Senator, Representative, or the Vice President.

    How to Get Into the Coast Guard Academy

    Submit an application directly. You don't need to be nominated.


  • ROTC Programs

    Founded in 1916, ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. It’s a college program offered at over 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation. As detailed below, each Service branch has its own take on ROTC.

    To learn more, click here.