For young brothers and sisters who are working or have recently graduated from college and are weighing their occupational options, one that is often overlooked is a military career. Armed services — as politically charged as the issue may be — have historically been a viable opportunity for professional advancement for African Americans and Hispanic citizens. Military experience is universally recognized for its inherent leadership, management and problem solving capacity building.
Graduates who have participated in an ROTC or officer training program typically enter their respective branches of service in command positions. Those who enlist are eligible for officer training programs within a few years of service.
Marine Corps Officer Programs
Marine Corps Officer Programs are a great choice for ambitious college-bound students. As college freshmen, sophomores, or juniors, students can enter Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class (PLC), continuing full time education while attending Officer Candidates School during the summer months. By the time a young man or woman is ready to receive a degree, he or she is also ready to receive an officer’s commission. If a student is a senior or has already obtained a degree, he or she is eligible to enroll in Officer Candidates Course (OCC), after completion of which, a commission will be awarded.
Army Officer Training Programs
Upon completion of Officer branch training and a first assignment, Army Officers may pursue additional specialized training and postgraduate education opportunities. They will be assigned to advanced leadership positions and to staff positions in upper management. Also, they may develop doctrine, teach military tactics or serve as advisors.
For college students who participate in Army ROTC program, graduates will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army and will embark on specialized training in their first Army branch.
Air Force Officer Training Programs
Aviation is here to stay and there are three ways to Join the Air Force as an officer: attend officer training school after you’ve earned your degree, attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado after high school, or joint the Air Force Reserve Officer Training program while in college.
With a college degree, you can enter the Air Force as an officer and leader. You’ll begin in Officer Training School — a rigorous 12-week program designed to challenge you both mentally and physically.
Naval Officer Training Programs
United States Navy Officer Training Command, Newport, Rhode Island, currently has multiple officer assession programs. Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and can apply for officer programs before earning your degree and as young as 17. The major fields of study required vary depending on the officer specialty.
Programs leading to a commission as a Navy officer include the Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and the U.S. Naval Academy. There are also direct commissioning programs for other qualified candidates.
In all of the aforementioned officer training programs a diversity of skills and personal attributes are cultivated as officers manage military logistics, technology, and human resource development.
Social mobility is something that college graduates should consider in any branch of the military. Service to the country has long been considered a noble endeavor and the leadership skills cultivated in military service are undeniable. African American soldiers are noted for breaking the ranks of institutional racism, surpassing expectations to heroically defend our communities, our cities and our nation.
Remember military service and careers are not limited to war time activities. Service during maritime allows officers to explore a number of avenues of career development as well as advance military doctrine for generations to come.
For those graduates who have not yet decided on career path, don’t dismiss or over look the possibility of enjoying a rewarding and honorable career in military service.