Once you earn your commission, you’ll become a leader in the world’s most powerful Army. ROTC, OCS, West Point and Direct Commission are the programs that help Soldiers reach that goal. See which one makes the most sense for you.

Guard Soldiers who join ROTC can earn their commission as they earn their degree while in the Guard’s Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP).


The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) prepares college students to become future officers. As a cadet, participation takes just a few hours per week, so you’ll maintain a normal collegiate schedule, in which ROTC is an elective. In class, you’ll study leadership and have the opportunity to learn skills like rappelling, marksmanship, and orienteering. Flat out: It’ll be one of your favorite college classes.

Best of all, on graduation, those who complete ROTC will receive a bachelor’s degree and commission straight out of college as a second lieutenant.

College Curriculum and Training
The four-year Army ROTC program is divided into two parts: the Basic Course and the Advanced Course. The Basic Course is generally taken during the first two years of college and incurs no military obligation unless you receive National Guard or scholarship funds. In the Basic Course, you’ll experience leadership challenges, military tactics, weapon training, and more.

*Those who have at least two years of college remaining (undergraduate or graduate) but have not taken the Basic Course can attend the Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET). This intense, four-week course, held each summer at Fort Knox, KY, is an accelerated version of the ROTC Basic Course. Attendance requires a commitment to commission as an officer following graduation.

The Advanced Course is offered the final two years of college to students with the interest and potential to become Guard officers—and who meet the physical, mental and academic standards. Completion of the Basic Course or CIET is a prerequisite. Those attending the Advanced Course also commit to serve as an officer in the National Guard or Army following graduation. In addition to regular physical training, studies generally include:

  • Command and staff functions
  • Team dynamics and peer leadership
  • Military operations and tactics
  • Training the force
  • Law of war and military justice
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Cultural awareness
  • Personnel management

Every Army ROTC Cadet who enters into the Advanced Course attends the Cadet Leadership Course. This five-week summer program at Fort Knox, KY, trains and evaluates all Army ROTC Cadets, normally between junior and senior years.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Getting your college education is expensive, but Army ROTC scholarships help keep your focus on getting your college degree. Two-, three- and four-year scholarships are available, as well as monthly stipends. Applications should to be submitted to your respective university’s Department of Military Science.

Current Guard members can get even more out of your ROTC experience with the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP), meaning you can earn drill pay on top of your ROTC allowance. Those enrolled in SMP may also be eligible for the following National Guard scholarships:

  • Dedicated Army National Guard (DEDNG) Scholarship
  • Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) Scholarship

If you’re a prior service enlisted Soldier, ROTC may be the best way for you to take full advantage of your military education benefits. Use your federal and/or state tuition assistance, and your GI Bill® benefits, to pay for school while you earn your degree and your commission.

Your Future as a Leader
After ROTC, you will be well-trained to lead troops and plan missions, and your dynamic leadership skills will also be highly marketable to civilian employers.

Begin an adventure worthy of the men and women you will lead. Our Guard Soldiers are always ready—and so is the world.

A physically and mentally challenging course designed to transform first-time Soldiers or those with prior military experience into strong, effective leaders.

The National Guard depends on strong leaders: its commissioned officers. Rising through the ranks, commissioned officers become managers and problem-solvers. They maintain a commitment to excellence, make critical decisions, lead every mission and guide Army Soldiers by the thousands. They take responsibility for the safety and freedom of Americans all over the world. And the place where they’re made is Officer Candidate School.

Officer Candidate School (OCS) is an intense leadership training ground. It’s physically and mentally challenging, and not everyone’s cut out for it. But those who are accepted-and make it through-agree it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Whether you’re a first-time Soldier or have prior military experience, OCS will transform you into an effective leader.

There are three options for attending OCS, as outlined below. After speaking with a recruiter, you’ll choose the best one for you based on your specific circumstances, such as your work and family commitments.

State OCS (Traditional)

  • Where: 101st Regiment -RTI Camp Edwards MA
  • When: Weekends only— one weekend a month for 15 months, plus two two-week periods

National Guard Bureau Accelerated OCS

  • Where: School locations vary by season and state
  • When: Eight weeks straight, seven days a week, winter or summer session

Federal OCS

  • Where: Fort Benning, GA
  • When: 14 weeks, with courses offered year-round

You will be trained and evaluated on:
• Leadership
• From the individual to Platoon-level
• In garrison and field environments
• Troop Leading Procedures and the orders process
• Teamwork and time management skills
• Physical Fitness
• Physical Readiness Training
• Army Combat Fitness Test
• Ruck Marches
• Obstacle Course
• Combat Water Survival Training
• Technical and Tactical Proficiency
• Drill and Ceremony
• Land Navigation
• Academic exams
• Marksmanship

For more details about each of these OCS options and to discuss your eligibility, contact your local recruiter.

Effective November 30, 2010, applicants interested in attending federal OCS must have a baccalaureate degree or higher. Waivers for individuals without a four-year degree, but with at least 90 nonduplicate credit hours toward a degree, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

High school seniors and enlisted Soldiers can earn an appointment to the United States Military Academy (USMA) or the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) at West Point. Upon graduation, you will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and serve for five years on Active Duty.

West Point is synonymous with the finest U.S. military traditions. Since 1802, the United States Military Academy (USMA) has produced many of our nation’s greatest leaders. Today, it continues the legacy of shaping leaders of character, intellect, and discipline.

And current Army National Guard Soldiers may apply. West Point offers two special programs for eligible applicants.


Soldier Admissions Program. Allows selected enlisted Soldiers to receive a fully-funded, four-year West Point education (valued at about $450,000), a bachelor’s degree and, upon graduation, a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army.

United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS). Prepares selected candidates for the academic, physical and military challenges of USMA through a 10-month program, on-site in West Point, NY.

Only 85 cadetships go to Army National Guard or Army Reserve Soldiers each year—so selections are extremely competitive. The West Point Admissions Committee determines admission for both programs.

Eligibility Requirements
Applicants to the Soldier Admissions Program and to USMAPS must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of enrollment
  • Be at least 17, but not older than 23 years of age on July 1 of the year entering USMA (or not older than 22 on July 1 of the year entering USMAPS)
  • Be unmarried with no legal obligation to support a child or dependents; pregnant applicants will not be admitted
  • Be medically qualified by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB)
  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED
  • Be of high moral character and never have been convicted of a felony by a civilian or military court
  • Submit official scores on the standardized ACT exam or the SAT with writing test
  • Be nominated by your unit commander
  • Be eligible for reenlistment
  • Have completed Basic Combat Training prior to admission; completion of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is not a prerequisite

Attending West Point isn’t just a great way to advance your military career. It’s also an extremely challenging academic undertaking, often compared to an Ivy League education. High-performing Soldiers who are ready for a challenge, and who exceed the minimum standards listed here, are encouraged to apply.

Get More Information
To apply, and to learn more details about the Soldier Admissions Program and the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, visit the West Point website.

This commission is based on previous experience and proven capabilities, which take the place of your initial training.

If you’re an officer candidate or company-grade officer, the National Guard can help you complete your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution prior to your promotion to the rank of captain.

The following types of officers are eligible for the program:

  • Officer Strength Manager (OSM)
  • Commander
  • Military Personnel Officer (MILPO)
  • Education Services Officer (ESO)
  • Officer Candidate (OC)
  • Regional Training Institute (RTI)

Your officer counselor will assist in your counseling, from your current status through completion of your bachelor’s degree.

If you’re not currently pursuing a degree, your counselor can help you establish a degree program using the National Guard’s automated degree-planning system.

Warrant officers are technical and tactical experts. They are considered to be the best of the best in their field. Following the warrant officer path makes you critical to administering and executing plans – it means you’re the leader officers and enlisted personnel look to for advice and direction.

Specialized training prepares you to be a technical and tactical expert in your concentration and an effective leader, instructor and advisor to both subordinates and commanders who depend on you. With over 40 different tech warrant specialties, you will likely have options to select from based on your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty, or the job you do in the Guard). Regardless of which warrant officer career direction you choose, you’ll be on a path to higher rank, increased responsibility and authority, and greater pay and benefits.

The Massachusetts Army National Guard offers some of the following benefits.

Already a Service Member? Check out the most up-to-date Veteran Affairs Beneftis at

Thinking about joining the Guard? These are some of the benefits waiting for you to take advantage of:

– ROTC Full Scholarships: 1-4 years at state or private schools; additional funding on top of scholarship funding
– 100% tuition and fee asstistance at any state college
– Tuition assistance at private schools
– G.I. Bill – Selective Reserve (Ch. 1606)
– G.I. Bill – Active Duty & Veteran (Ch. 30)
– G.I. Bill – Selected Reserve Kicker
– Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) – Chapter 1607
– Federal student aid
– Guard scholarships
– Allowances – Per Diem, subsistence, uniforms
– Medical and dental Benefits
– Injury benefits
– Reimbursements
– Group insurance
– Working compensation
– Bonuses

For more information, fill out our get started form and a recruiter will contact you.