What Differentiates the JROTC From Other Classes?


JROTC is a high school program that stands for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. JROTC programs promote citizenship, self discipline and leadership in its enrolled students, who are referred to as cadets. JROTC courses are directly associated with a specific branch of the U.S. Armed forces: either Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, and are taught by retired personnel in their respective branches.

The Uniform Makes the Student

  • Perhaps the most obvious difference between JROTC and other classes is that JROTC cadets wear a military-issued uniform one day each week, for the entire school day. The exact day each week, commonly referred to as uniform day, is determined by each individual school. Nonetheless, the uniform resembles an actual military uniform. As cadets complete rank and merit requirements, they display symbols of those accomplishments on their uniforms in the forms of medals and ribbons, which serve as points of pride for both themselves and their organization.

Instructional Variety

  • In addition to academic instruction in military history and citizenship, class time in JROTC programs is also dedicated to military practices and physical conditioning. For example, just as one day each week is designated as uniform day, during which cadets submit to uniform inspections and drill instruction, another day each week is designated for physical training, otherwise known as PT. Physical training in JROTC programs includes activities such as running, weight lifting, and various team events.

Rank and Role

  • Another unique aspect of JROTC is that as a cadet progresses in rank, he takes on advanced roles within the organization, such as leadership roles in the form of unit leaders, team leaders and various officers' positions, which take different titles depending upon the branch affiliation of a particular JROTC program. For example, in an Army JROTC program, the battalion commander is ultimately responsible for anything the battalion succeeds or fails to accomplish. However, in the same program, a Battalion S-6 is responsible only for managing information technology.

Appearance Standards

  • JROTC programs demand that cadets maintain a particular standard of appearance. For example, in an Army JROTC program, a male cadet's hair must be kept to less than 3 inches in total length and be tapered neatly down on the sides so that it does not cover the ears. Female cadets must wear their hair in such a way that the hair does not extend below the collar of their uniforms. Furthermore, any hairpins or other devices used to maintain the hairstyle are not allowed to show.

Extracurricular Activities

  • While other types of classes offer extracurricular activities, JROTC offers some unique opportunities. Cadets will have the opportunity to compete in drill meets against other JROTC programs. Events can include drill competition, rifle team competition and raider events. JROTC programs also hold formal dinners and dances for cadets, parties, picnics and other events.

Advanced College and Military Placement

  • While enrollment in JROTC does not obligate cadets to college ROTC or military service, cadets can select either route with advanced standing. For example, if you complete an JROTC program and then enroll in a college ROTC program, you can automatically earn one year of college ROTC credit. For cadets who complete at least three years of Navy JROTC and then enlist in the military, they will be allowed to enlist at two ranks and pay grades higher than non-JROTC enlistees.


  • Photo Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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