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Air Force ROTC Curriculum and Summer Programs

The Air Force ROTC Academic Curriculum

The first two years of the Air Force ROTC four-year program, the General Military Course, consists of one hour of classroom work and one to two hours of leadership laboratory each week. The General Military Course is an opportunity for students not on an Air Force ROTC scholarship to try out the program with no obligation.

After completing General Military Course requirements, if you wish to compete for entry into the last two years of the program, the Professional Officer Course, you must do so under the requirements of the Professional Officer Course selection system. This system uses qualitative factors, such as grade point average, unit commander evaluation and aptitude test scores to determine if you have officer potential. After selection, you must successfully complete a summer four-week field-training unit at an assigned Air Force base before entering the Professional Officer Course. And once you're enrolled in the Professional Officer Course you must attend class three hours a week and participate in a weekly leadership laboratory (lasting from one to two hours).

The Air Force ROTC Summer Programs

In addition the Air Force ROTC offers summer training programs. These training programs range from general Air Force experience to special experiences related to a specific Officer Career Path. The following is the list of summer training opportunities. AIr Force ROTC provides the following summer opportunities:


Designed for freshman cadets, ASSIST is a five-day tour of an active-duty Air Force base, escorted by an Air Force ROTC instructor.

  • ASSIST is conducted at Air Force installations throughout the Continental United States (CONUS).
  • Participation is limited to qualified cadets.
  • Opportunities may exist for incentive flights in Air Force aircraft.


It’s time to strap yourself in and learn the fundamentals of flight first-hand. Soaring is a 15-day program at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, designed to give you the opportunity to experience the basic fundamentals of flight in non-powered glider operations.

What to expect from the Soaring program:

  • Your first flight experience, in the TG-7A motorglider
  • 8 to 15 flights total
  • 5 hours per day on the flight line
  • Learn aircraft controls, checklist, pattern work, and the perspective to earth
  • This program assumes that you have no previous flight experience

Rising Sophomore Summer Program

The Rising Sophomore Summer Program (RSSP) is a three-week program designed to give four-year scholarship cadets the opportunity to experience, firsthand, everything an operational Air Force installation has to offer.

Cadets are immersed into the Air Force way of life, on an Air Force installation, through the use of:

  • Tours
  • Hands-on experience
  • Structured curriculum
  • Shadowing Air Force personnel in a variety of career fields

Internship Programs

Operation Air Force (OAF) is a three-week program conducted at a variety of locations worldwide. This real-world program will help you develop a greater appreciation of the duties, problems, responsibilities and training you will encounter after your graduation and commissioning as a second lieutenant.

After an orientation, you will be matched to a junior officer, ideally in your chosen career field, to observe and work together for the duration of the program.

OAF Objectives:

  • Acquaint yourself with the everyday tasks, activities and perceptions of Air Force officers and enlisted personnel
  • Become motivated and educated on the workings of operational units.
  • Familiarity with the Air Force "way of life"

OAF is conducted at various Air Force installations throughout the United States and overseas.


Accompany Air Force OSI (Office of Special Investigations) agents as they work on investigation cases and operations during this firsthand look at the Air Force's version of the "FBI." Conducted at various Air Force installations throughout the United States and overseas.

Cultural Immersion Program

The George and Carol Olmsted Travel and Cultural Immersion Program (OCIP) is a two-week program in which cadets travel to a non-English speaking country and are exposed to foreign cultures and languages.

Cadets may also have the opportunity to

  • Attend foreign conferences, seminars or briefings
  • Visit foreign military academies
  • Work on research projects
  • Participate in educational tours

Nurse Orientation Program

Nurse Orientation Program participants travel to Wilford Hall Medical Center (Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas) where they receive four weeks of hands-on training and practical knowledge in a variety of nursing disciplines. You must be accepted into a valid nursing program at your university to be eligible for this program. Click here to learn more about the Air Force ROTC Nurse Program.

Army Airborne Training

Army Airborne Training is a 24-day program comprised of strenuous physical training, conditioning, ground and tower training that culminates in five static-line parachute jumps.

  • Daily physical training and formation runs are conducted in hot and humid conditions.
  • Formation runs (3 to 5 miles) at an average pace of 7 to 9 minutes per mile are conducted in Battle Dress Uniforms and running shoes after strenuous exercise.
  • Upon successful completion, you are awarded a basic parachutist rating and the pride of becoming Airborne. All training is conducted at Fort Benning, GA.

Make no mistake: this program will push you to your limits.

Foreign Language Immersion

Foreign Language Immersion is a four-week program designed for those students with at least two full years of college-level studies in a specific foreign language.

  • Live with a local family or in a student dormitory
  • Study at a local university
  • Receive both total language and cultural immersion through the constant, practical use of foreign language.
  • You must contractually agree to speak only the language of study for the entire training period.
  • Featured destinations include: Beijing, China; Frankfurt, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tokyo, Japan.

Civil Engineering Lab Program

Field Engineering and Readiness Lab (FERL) is a five-week program that provides opportunities for a limited number of Air Force ROTC cadets with entry-level civil engineering (CE) courses to get hands-on work experience in the CE career field.

FERL provides qualified cadets with:

  • An introduction to the basics of civil engineering
  • Practical "hands-on" construction experiences
  • An engineering "feel" for the capabilities of construction equipment
  • Experience working with both military and Air Force Academy instructors on actual CE projects at various Air Force bases and at Air Force Academy

Training consists of two weeks working with CE at a designated Air Force base and 3 weeks of hands-on construction activities at the Air Force Academy.

The course is presented in three blocks:

Learn the basic principles of engineering measurement and get hands-on experience with different types of surveying equipment

Computer Applications
Gain an appreciation of how computers may be used to aid in solving engineering problems

Construction Materials
Highlights include performing structural tests and housing construction for a Pueblo, Colorado Indian Reservation

Parachuting (The Freefall Program)

Freefall is a rigorous 12-day parachute training program conducted at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, CO.

The course is comprised of strenuous physical training, conditioning, ground school and five freefall jumps from 4,500 feet. It is one of only two DoD-approved basic parachuting courses, the other being at Fort Benning, GA.

This is the only jump program in the world where students perform solo freefalls on their first jump. Freefall is one of the largest and definitely the safest student parachuting program in the world.

Completion of the course results in the awarding of the DoD Basic Parachutist rating, which gives the authority to wear the Parachutist Badge.

Cadet Training Assistant

Although it's not a Professional Development Training Program, being a Cadet Training Assistant is still a great summer experience. As a Cadet Training Assistant (CTA) you are assigned to a Flight Training Officer (FTO) during a Field Training unit.

As a CTA, you will:

  • Achieve a greater appreciation for the duties, problems, responsibilities and training you will encounter as Air Force second lieutenants.
  • Gain knowledge of the many leadership, human relations and management challenges encountered by company grade officers.
  • Some scholarships are available for cadets selected for the CTA program.

NASA Engineering Research

The NASA Engineering Research Experience (NERE) is a four-week program that provides opportunities for a limited number of Air Force ROTC cadets to shadow NASA engineers, scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and astronauts to work on current NASA projects at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

  • Opportunity to work for 10-weeks at the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory with an astronaut
  • Cadets will shadow their assigned mentor, and given hands on training
  • This opportunity is available to cadets of the highest caliber. Applicants for the program must be in math, physics or engineering

Advanced Course in Engineering

The Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) is a ten-week program designed to expose senior cadets to advanced engineering technologies at the Air Force Research Laboratory while providing work experience and officer development.

Training consists of two weeks working with CE at a designated Air Force base and 3 weeks of hands-on construction activities at the Air Force Academy.

The program is broken into three components:

Educational component
One day per week of college coursework will earn 4 credits of technical electives

Work component
Three days per week working on research projects with Air Force personnel

Military component
Weekly 8-mile runs, staff rides, officership development

ACE is a highly selective program open to students with at least a 3.0 GPA in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering

Air Force ROTC Related Topics


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