How to Become an Army Officer

Chief warrant officer National Guard
Army Materiel Command's Command Chief Warrant Officer 5 Darren Cook discusses ongoing Army-wide maintenance changes and charges Tennessee National Guard sustainers with taking command of the transition at the Guard headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 1, 2017. (Sgt. Eben Boothby/U.S. Army)

You can earn a commission in the U.S. Army through one of four programs: the U.S. Military Academy, the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, the Officer Candidate School or direct appointment. All require applicants to be high school graduates, pass a medical and physical exam, and be at least 17 years old.

US Military Academy

The U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., offers bachelor of science degrees in engineering and liberal arts. Graduates earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army. Admission is very competitive. Appointments generally are made through nominations from U.S. senators and representatives. Applicants should begin their quest for entry into the academy, no later than the middle of their junior year in high school.

Learn more about getting into West Point.

Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Army ROTC is the primary source for college-trained officers for the Army. ROTC is offered currently at more than 300 institutions and through agreements at more than 1,000 colleges and universities.

Army ROTC has two parts -- the basic course and the advanced course. The basic course covers the freshman and sophomore years of college. Students may withdraw at any time with no military obligation. Selected students may enroll in the advanced course during the final two years of college. Students in the advanced course receive uniforms, necessary textbooks and a subsistence allowance. Cadets are scheduled for a six-week advanced camp during the summer between their junior and senior years of college.

Educational assistance in the form of highly competitive scholarships are available for two, three or four years at different amounts for each year. Additional scholarship benefits include a designated allowance for textbooks and supplies.

For more on military educational benefits, visit the Education Center.

Officer Candidate School

Officer Candidate School is a 14-week course to train enlisted personnel, warrant officers and civilians with college degrees to be Army officers. Enlisted soldiers and warrant officers must have 90 semester credit-hours of college before applying. Civilian applicants must have a bachelor's degree. Officer Candidate School (OCS) now commissions almost 1,000 officers each year, a figure comparable to the academy's 900.

Direct Appointment

The Army offers direct appointments for specialists from selected legal, medical, ministerial and technical fields. Professionals even can enter at advanced ranks based on the level of their expertise.

Warrant Officers

An Army warrant officer is an officer appointed by warrant of the secretary of the Army, based on a sound level of technical and tactical competence. The warrant officer is a highly specialized expert and trainer who gains progressive levels of expertise and leadership by operating, maintaining, administering and managing the Army's equipment, support activities or technical systems.

Becoming a warrant officer requires great skill in a specific occupational specialty. Army warrant officers must demonstrate leadership abilities and have the desire and dedication to perfect their technical proficiency through professional development, training and education. Through schooling, experience, assignments and promotions, they learn to perform effectively in the most demanding positions.

Go here to get more information with no obligation.

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