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Just like any other career or in any other people there is a path that you have to take to get where you want to be. With that said, people who wish to be a military officer have to go through a path that will allow them to become a military officer. The path will be composed of proper training and education that will allow them to slowly gain the skill, knowledge, and experience that is needed to become a military officer as they advance. Of course, learning and acquiring skills doesn’t stop when a person finally becomes a military officer because they learn more as they go through their military career.

So to start your journey, one first must know the paths they can take. There are actually several paths a person can take to start. Interested people have five options to choose from.

SENIOR MILITARY COLLEGE OR SERVICE ACADEMY

These academies and colleges are almost free of charge for those accepted. The student’s tuition, room, and boarding are covered by government funding. The students also receive an allowance to help cover other expenses that they need to pay. Such as school supplies, laptops or computers, and other equipment or supplies that they will need for schooling. In return for all the benefits, the student must commit to serve as an officer for a fixed period of 5 years.

ROTC

The ROTC programs serve as training for those interested individuals who are taking their college education. This path or option is perfect for people who want to get a degree before serving as a military officer. As an exchange for undertaking ROTC, the student will receive a scholarship but in return, the students have to commit to serving for a fixed period of time after graduation.

ROTC

OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOL

For those who have finished a four-year degree and want to join the Air Force, this may be for you. You can join the Air Force Officer Training School or OTS.

Alternatively, if you want to become part of the United States Marine Corps you can take the Marine Corps Platoon Course or PLC.

DIRECT COMMISSION

This is for people with experience, degrees, and skills. These are usually for interested individuals who have a degree in medicine, law, religious studies, engineering, or intelligence. These individuals will be called Direct Commissioned Officers or DCO if they decide to join the military. Then depending on what service they want to join, the DCOs are required to attend the Officer Indoctrination School or OIS or the Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course or DCOIC in order to proceed.

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NON-SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS

There are two choices for this program. The Army offers the Green-to-Gold Non- Scholarship program which is an option for those who have completed two years of college. The other is offered by the Air Force and it is called the General Military Course. It is an ROTC for the freshmen and sophomore in college who want to join the Air Force.

Now that we have talked about the programs where future military officers can learn about military-related subjects, start their physical training, gain their leadership skills, let us dissect what other attributes a person must possess in order to become a military officer. All these attributes are based on what we see on the existing model active duty military officers. For those who want a verification service to check the status of military officers, the defense manpower data center offers it. They keep accurate records on military statuses with start and termination dates of service. The information from the verification service can be used to check benefits and entitlements as well as in other fields such as banking, housing, and healthcare, etc.

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CHARACTER

The military values, empathy, discipline should reflect your character.  Military officers are leaders and role models. They are a good example to society.

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PRESENCE

This is not only being present physically but also mentally. Being present also means being in a good state also both physically and mentally. Active duty military officers are sent to different places, they are out on the field. Their physical and mental capacity will always be tested in different ways. So health and fitness is important for the physical aspect and resilience and confidence is important in the mental aspect. Possessing these attributes is important for military officers to survive in any environment because it means that they are fit to handle tough conditions.

INTELLECT

That’s why military education is not all physical training. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are important to have. This is also where those who have a degree in science, medicine, technology, engineering, and math come in. Being in the military is not all about muscle. So if you have the skill and knowledge in the branches mentioned, you will be a great asset to the military.

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LEADER

Of course, leadership. You must know how to manage and lead other people to get through difficult situations. A good leader creates and maintains a positive environment. Good leadership also brings harmony to a team. It allows you and your team to work with coordination. In the military you are a team, and what is a team without a great leader. With that said, it is also nice to mention that being a team player is also a ground attribute to possess. 

DEVELOPER

No one person is good at everything. Each and everyone has their individual skills and talents. But if you are a person who is willing to learn and if you strive to be better at something that you are not then you possess a good attribute that can be good for the military. Exceptional officers are able to leverage, learn and develop skills and talents. This attribute is definitely an asset because it allows officers to “get the job done”. Always strive to be better! Look at what you lack and what you can improve on. Constantly be learning and observing.

ACHIEVER

Each and every job given to you is expected to be done. Results are important. 

Hopefully, this article can be of help in your journey towards your military career!

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