What are Military Service Schools?
If you’re looking to serve in the U.S. military and also get an excellent college education, military service schools and academies are a great option. But there are several things you should know before applying.
First off, military school is a broad term that encompasses various types of academies, senior military colleges, and military junior colleges. There are also military schools that serve students in grades 9 through 12.
The U.S. has five military service academies, each dedicated to a different branch of the Armed Forces. These academies are highly prestigious and challenging to gain acceptance to. Following graduation, students are also required to serve a minimum of five years in the Armed Forces.
Senior military colleges, junior colleges, and military schools all have different admission requirements and goals. But the common theme with all military service schools is they provide students with military training in a disciplined and conservative environment.
We’ll delve into the major military service schools and tell you what your options are, the benefits of attending one, and the various military obligations following graduation.
The 5 Elite Service Academies
Want to be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces? How about getting a scholarship for higher education that covers all tuition, room and board, and medical and dental care?
This is the fantastic deal students get if they’re accepted at one of America’s five elite military service academies. But only the very serious need apply – competition is fierce, and admission standards are rigorous.
The 5 U.S. service academies are:
- U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. USMA in West Point, NY, is the oldest of America’s service academies and serves the U.S. Army. The acceptance rate is 10%. Students can pursue one of 35 majors – everything from chemical engineering to international affairs – and graduate with a bachelor of science. After graduation, students are commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
- U.S. Naval Academy (USNA). The Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, MD, and has an acceptance rate of just 8%. Education focuses primarily on STEM skills, allowing the Navy to meet current and future technical requirements. USNA graduates are commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy or Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
- U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA). The Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, CO, and is ideal for students who dream of becoming pilots, computer programmers, engineers, or scientists. USAFA graduates are commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Coast Guard Academy is located in New London, CT, and has the highest acceptance rate of all the service academies (19.1%). Students can choose from nine majors and, upon graduation, are commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard.
- U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). The USMMA is located in King’s Point, NY, and is a federal service academy. Students go through a rigorous academic program and choose from one of five programs that lead to a bachelor of science degree. After graduating, students earn a U.S. Coast Guard license and either accept eight years of service as an officer in any reserve unit of the military or five years active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Senior Military Colleges
A step down from the five elite U.S. military service academies are senior military colleges. There are only six of them in the U.S. They are:
- The Citadel (Charleston, SC)
- Norwich University (Northfield, VT)
- Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)
- University of North Georgia (Dahlonega, GA)
- Virginia Military Institute (Lexington, VA)
- Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
These military colleges offer robust ROTC programs that are a bit different from the ROTC at other universities. Traditional ROTC programs function like extracurricular activities. At senior military colleges, the ROTC programs are more like being in a service academy.
Students can become part of a Corp of Cadets and live in an immersive military environment that requires a strict schedule, rules, and physical and military training. Cadets wear uniforms at all times and are subject to a cadet code of conduct.
Senior military colleges are still four-year, degree-granting institutions, though, and not all students are cadets. Graduates of these schools and ROTC programs have the option to accept a commission in a branch of the U.S. military.
Military Junior Colleges
Another option for students is Military Junior Colleges. The admission requirements at these schools aren’t as strict, and it allows students to become commissioned officers in the Army Reserves. Graduates also receive an associate’s degree.
These are the four military junior colleges in the U.S.:
- Valley Forge Military Academy and College (Wayne, PA)
- Marion Military Institute (Marion, AL)
- New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, NM)
- Georgia Military College (Milledgeville, GA)
To serve as a regular officer in active duty, graduates from these schools must still get a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university. But students can continue to advance their military careers while doing so by serving as reserve officers.
There are about 66 military schools in the United States, and most of them serve students in grades 9 through 12. These schools are basically private schools with military curriculums and most of them are residential, meaning students reside on campus.
A myth about military schools is that they’re only for troubled teenagers. Some military schools look to rehabilitate troubled teens, but a majority of the schools have rigorous admission requirements.
Military schools help build discipline and character in young high school students that prepare them for adulthood. Service in the U.S. Armed Forces isn’t required for graduates, but attending military school is a smart move if you’re looking to be accepted to one of the five elite service academies.
Many military schools for high school students also have JROTC programs (Junior Regular Officer Training Corps) that expose young students to the possibilities of military service. JROTC is a federal program sponsored by the U.S. Army.
Benefits that Last a Lifetime
No matter what type of military education you pursue, there are various benefits that last a lifetime. Of course, it’s challenging to get accepted into the five elite U.S. military service academies, but don’t let that stop you from trying.
If you’re looking for a career in the U.S. military, gaining some type of military education is ideal. But remember, not all military schools require service in the Armed Forces after graduation.
A military school education builds character, teamwork skills, and discipline in young students. And even if you don’t serve in the Armed Forces after graduation, the skills learned from a military education are highly transferrable in the civilian world.
If you’re considering joining the military as an officer or are looking to separate from active duty, then you’ll need a compelling military to civilian resume that quickly highlights your education, skills, and the value that you bring. Contact us today for help.
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.