How to Become a Military Officer

Getting promoted in the military means beating out some stiff competition. A bachelor’s degree is required for most officer positions and earning advanced training in a military specialty can help you stand out from the rest.

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Military Officers Career Responsibilities

Military officers make up about 18 percent of the Armed Forces, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A military officer typically oversees and leads the activities of other soldiers, including enlisted personnel.

There are numerous classifications of military officers including:

  • Combat specialty officers
  • Engineering, science and technical officers
  • Executive, administrative and managerial officers
  • Health care officers
  • Human resource development officers
  • Media and public affairs officers
  • Protective service officers
  • Support services officers
  • Transportation officers

Educational Requirements for Becoming a Military Officer

Occupations in the military have increasingly become more complicated and technical, and education is becoming more and more significant. Officers typically must have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Although officer training is often achieved at the federal service academies, college graduates can become commissioned in the Armed Forces through Officer Candidate School or Officer Training School programs. These programs specialize in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard, and they consist of significant academic, leadership, and physical fitness training.

Competition for promotion can be stiff in the armed forces, and education is one factor that all the branches consider when making promotion decisions. Military officers work in a wide range of capacities, and a college degree in fields from communications to engineering can help you work you way up the ranks.