How to Join the Army As an Officer


Joining the military has many benefits, including health care, living allowance, free education and job security. You can join the Army as an enlisted soldier or as an officer. Honor, integrity and personal courage are the three Army values officers have. They are the Army's leaders. There are four paths to becoming an officer in the U.S. Army: ROTC, direct commission, Officer Candidate School or the United State Military Academy, commonly referred to as West Point.

Things You'll Need

  • United States citizenship
  • Physical training test


  • Apply and be accepted in one of more than 273 programs at more than 700 colleges or universities. You must be at least 17 years old and no older than 32 by the time you graduate.

  • Participate in a combination of classroom instruction, leadership labs, training exercises, field exercises and physical training in your program.

  • Complete the degree requirements. Upon graduation, you will be a commissioned Second Lieutenant as active duty, Army Reserve or Army National Guard. You will have a contract to fulfill.

Direct Commission

  • Have a professional career path such as a medical, religious or law.

  • Speak to a recruiter about using your degree to become a direct commissioned officer. Every Army career accepts degreed civilians in different manners. You will need to fit within each career's age specifications, and you must be physically fit.

  • Receive a rank in the Army as determined by your career branch.

Officer Candidate School

  • Graduate from a college or university with an undergraduate or graduate degree.

  • Speak to a recruiter to sign an Army contract. You must be physically fit, a United States Citizen and be between the ages of 18 and 41.

  • Attend basic training, followed by Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Complete Officer Training School and receive the rank of a Second Lieutenant as active duty, Army Reserve or Army National Guard.

Attend a Military Academy

  • Graduate from high school or obtain a GED.

  • Apply for West Point Academy. You must be at least 17 but not older than 23 on July 1 of the year you are admitted. You must be a United States citizen, have strong scores on the SAT or ACT tests and be congressionally nominated or have a service-connected nomination. You cannot be married, pregnant nor have any obligation to support any children.

  • Graduate from West Point Academy as a Second Lieutenant and serve as active duty, Army Reserves or Army National Guard.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare for your physical training test well in advance of speaking to a recruiter. Physical test requirements can be found in the resources section. You can also become an officer if you have already enlisted in the Army by applying to attend Officer Training School.
  • You have to commit to a contract with the amount of years you will serve. Generally this is no less than three years.

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