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Frequently Asked Questions

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) produces leaders for the Air Force. It is an educational program that gives men and women the opportunity to become Air Force officers while completing their degrees. Cadets receive military training while going to college. The program lasts three to four years. Any student with more than three years remaining may be eligible for ROTC.

As a freshman cadet, you take a 1-hour class each week to learn basic Air Force knowledge. As a sophomore, you take a 1-hour class on air power history. There is no commitment for the first two years unless you are on scholarship. The academic courses, along with the weekly Leadership Laboratory, make up the curriculum.

Between sophomore and junior year, cadets attend a four-week Field Training camp (boot camp). Physical conditioning, an aircraft orientation flight, and weapons practice are some of the activities you will be exposed to. Field Training is scheduled over the summer months at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. The Air Force pays for your plane fare, lodging, and meals, and provides you with a stipend while you are at Field Training. Cadets who are still serious about becoming an Air Force officer after Field Training begin the Professional Officer Course (POC) in their junior year. This 3-hour course, taken each semester, offers advanced training in leadership, management, and communication skills. After a year in the POC, cadets find out what their jobs will be in the Air Force. Entering the POC obligates you to serve on active duty for four years. Upon graduation, cadets receive their commissions as second lieutenants and begin their careers.

As a second lieutenant fresh out of college, you’ll be making about $47,000 a year. As an officer, your pay depends on your rank and time in service. If you’re a doctor or a pilot, you’ll receive special pay considerations and bonuses. In four years, you’ll be making about $74,200 as a captain. (Note: these estimates use 2013 figures). Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is approximately $650 to $1,200 a month, depending on where you are stationed. Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is around $225 a month for officers. Both of these allowances are tax-free and are included in the estimated salary amounts provided earlier in this paragraph. Current pay information can be found on www.dfas.mil.

Aerospace Studies (AFAS) 101 and 201 are open for freshmen and sophomores whether they are cadets or not. You register for AFAS classes just like any other course. Noncadets are not required to attend the Leadership Laboratory portion. All aerospace studies classes are held in Hoskins Library. There is no service commitment for students who take our classes with no intention of becoming an Air Force officer.

You incur a commitment once you begin your junior year or activate a scholarship. This is called “contracting.” Upon graduation, you will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the active duty Air Force. Your commitment is four years, whether you are on scholarship or not. Pilots, navigators, doctors, and lawyers have an extended commitment. Pilots serve a minimum of ten years, while combat systems officers, remotely piloted aircraft officers, and air battle managers serve a six-year commitment. Doctors and lawyers serve the equivalent to their years of education in their field.

The closest thing to basic training in AFROTC is the four-week Field Training program. This is normally taken during the summer after your sophomore year. The Air Force pays for your plane fare, lodging, and meals, and even provides you with a stipend while you are there. Cadets are sent to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, to do their training. Camp, as it is commonly called, is an intensive training period that gives cadets a firsthand look at Air Force life. Cadets from all over the country attend camps to gain hands-on experience in leadership, management, and problem solving. Cadets also receive survival training, aircraft indoctrination, weapons familiarization, and physical fitness training.

No—not in college and not in the Air Force! Entry-level officers are equivalent to junior executives. They can live off base in a house or apartment or on base in officers’ quarters.

No. Obviously not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. There are around 120 other career fields to choose from. Visit the Air Force Personnel Center’s Life and Career site for more information.

No. The first two years of the program are designed to be a trial period. The classes during this time provide general information about the Air Force. It is a time to decide without commitment if ROTC and the Air Force are for you.

If you enter the program with a four-year scholarship, you can quit after the first year with no obligation. If you are awarded a three-year scholarship coming into the program, you aren’t committed until you accept the scholarship. If you don’t accept the scholarship, there is no commitment until a contract is signed.

Possibly. Hair must be kept in accordance with Air Force guidelines concerning grooming standards when in uniform.

Not as much as you think. Marching and drilling is a small part of our overall program. This is practiced during Leadership Laboratory (LLAB). There are no mandatory drill sessions outside of LLAB.

Yes! You may play sports, join a fraternity or sorority, play in the marching band, work, and generally fill your spare time as you desire. We encourage you to be well-rounded and involved on campus. The total time commitment for AFROTC (including classes, leadership lab, and meetings) is about three to six hours a week for freshmen and sophomores. For juniors and seniors who assume leadership roles in the corps, the commitment is approximately five to eight hours a week.

ABSOLUTELY NOT! All cadets, no matter what year, are treated with respect. This isn’t an in-your-face shouting boot-camp-style environment at all. It’s quite the opposite. Senior cadets guide and mentor the new cadets—in fact, that is what our cadet officers are trained to do. Our detachment cadre (composed of active duty commissioned and noncommissioned officers) is concerned about you as a person, a student, and as a cadet. We are your ROTC family, and your well-being and progress are our number one concern.

Yes! Scholarships are available regardless of what field you major in. Scholarship types vary from year to year. Contact our admissions officer at afrotc@utk.edu or visit afrotc.com.

“Lead Lab” is our Leadership Laboratory. It is planned and run by junior and senior cadets and is attended by the entire cadet corps in uniform. It is held from 2:10 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in Hoskins Library. Cadets (ROTC students, both scholarship and nonscholarship) learn the basics of Air Force drill and ceremony, customs and courtesies, and other hands-on skills you will need to know as a leader in the Air Force.

No. Cadets who are on scholarship select a major according to their scholarship type. Otherwise, cadets are free to major in anything they want. You must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 to participate in the program.

No. All uniform items and workout clothes are provided free of charge. After the program and before going on active duty, cadets have the option to buy their uniforms at a reduced rate.

No. All textbooks are free and are given to you the first day of class.

Yes. Scholarship cadets have their tuition paid as well as a textbook entitlement ($900 a year) and a monthly stipend ($350–$500 a month). Contracted cadets (those who have committed to joining the Air Force, but who may or may not have a scholarship) receive a monthly stipend of $450 a month as a junior and $500 a month as a senior.

The total time commitment for ROTC for freshman and sophomores, including classes, leadership, and meetings, is approximately three to six hours a week. For juniors and seniors who assume leadership roles in the corps, the commitment is approximately five to eight hours a week.

Cadets wear the Air Force uniform to all required AFROTC functions, including aerospace studies and Leadership Laboratory, and during special events.

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