The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a program offered by all branches of the armed services. The mission of these organizations is to develop responsible and informed citizens with good character and to help high school students to be successful and continue on to higher education and leadership positions. JROTC programs are available in secondary schools throughout the United States.
Specific eligibility requirements vary among the services, but cadets are generally required to maintain acceptable levels of academic achievement, to be physically fit to participate in training, to conduct themselves appropriately as representatives of the particular branch of the armed services, to maintain a required standard of dress and appearance, and to be enrolled in and regularly attending a course of instruction at a high school where the JROTC unit is organized.
Instructors of JROTC units are usually retired commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the services. They are trained to present a curriculum that focuses on citizenship and leadership, although each JROTC also has classes focused on the history and importance of its particular branch of the service. The units sponsor competitions in a variety of disciplines and foster an attitude of community service and teambuilding.
The Navy JROTC offers cadets insight into the maritime heritage of the United States and the significance of sea power. Topics include such subjects as navigation, seamanship, oceanography, and meteorology. Cadets may also have the opportunity to visit naval bases and cruise aboard active naval vessels during the summer break.
The Air Force JROTC focuses forty percent of the curriculum on aviation science. Classes include the history of flight, development of aerospace power, principles of aircraft flight and navigation, space programs, space technology, rocketry, propulsion, and other aerospace topics. Activities outside the classroom include visits to air bases and civilian aviation facilities, museums, and NASA locations.
The Army JROTC encourages students to participate in both traditional classroom settings and distance learning programs. Classes teach both physical skills such as first aid and orienteering and social skills such as global and cultural studies, government, and economics. Cadets compete in activities such as academic bowls to sharpen their knowledge and memory.
JROTC units are organized in thousands of schools nationwide. Part of the funding for the programs comes from local municipalities and part from the armed services. JROTC students generally perform better academically, have better scores on the SAT and other standardized tests, and are less likely to become involved with gangs and drugs. A substantial percentage of JROTC cadets go on to study in colleges and universities.
For more information about JROTC programs and benefits, visit the program website for each of the armed services – Navy, Air Force, and Army.