Air Force ROTC

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps—ROTC—program, offered in collaboration with Michigan State University, is an educational program designed to give men and women the opportunity to become an Air Force or Space Force officer while earning a degree. After successfully completing the program, students will be commissioned as a second lieutenant and begin serving as an officer in leadership roles of increasing responsibility and importance in the "active duty" Air or Space Force.

General Military Course academicsTraining to become an officer occurs at over 1,000 institutions throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The training, which occurs in a four-year program (or in special cases a three-year) consists of the following:

The General Military Course—GMC—portion of the program is usually taken during a students freshman and sophomore years. This program allows students to "try out" Air Force ROTC for up to two years without incurring any obligation (unless a student has accepted an Air Force ROTC scholarship). While attending class, students will learn about the Air Force and the historical development of air power, essentially setting the foundation of their military knowledge.

Leadership laboratory

As an Air Force ROTC cadet, students will also have up to three hours each week to put into practice the leadership skills and management theories presented in class. Leadership Laboratory is a cadet-centered program taken each year to improve a student's leadership skills. Leadership Laboratory is only offered at Michigan State University and cadets from Western Michigan University will travel to MSU once per week for the Leadership Laboratory class. Bussing is provided at set times for students to take advantage of. If a student cannot make the buss, transportation to MSU’s campus is their responsibility.

Field training

Cadets will attend Field Training during the summer between their sophomore and junior years, and before entering the Professional Officer Course—POC—portion of the program. Field Training, which takes place at an Air Force base, offers cadets a first-hand look at the Air Force environment. While there, cadets are put under pressure, tested both physically and mentally, and pushed to succeed in critical thinking. Field Training has a highly competitive enrollment process, and those cadets wishing to continue in the program must be selected to attend.

Professional Officer Course academics

The Professional Officer Course—POC—portion of the program is primarily available to students who have successfully completed their GMC years, as well as students who have been chosen to attend Field Training. The POC course is offered to Cadets in their junior and senior years. POC classes are focused on national security, understanding higher level leadership challenges, and learning what life will look like once they reach active duty.

Professional development

Air Force ROTC offers a variety of different professional development opportunities. Cadets can take part in summer internships, Air Force Base visits, the Air Force Academy jump school, and many more career broadening activities.


Air Force ROTC offers High School Scholarships, and In College Scholarship opportunities. For either opportunity please reach out to Detachment 380 via telephone number 517-355-2168 or email at Cadre will help to explain each opportunity, as well as guide you on how to apply.

Student status

Students can join the ROTC program and remain a Western Michigan University student, although students are required to go to MSU's campus once per week. The majority of students from WMU will ride the bus to East Lansing, but students may also drive themselves. Leadership Laboratory is held on Thursday from 4:10 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., although there is an alternate time to attend if you have conflicts. Students will attend a one-credit class as a freshman or sophomore, or a four-credit class as a junior or senior. Students are able to sign-up for the program at WMU at the same time when enrolling for other classes. Give us a call to determine what classes you should be enrolled in.


To qualify for the general military course, students must:

  • Be a full-time student at Western Michigan University.
  • Be a United States citizen (to receive a scholarship).
  • Be at least 14 years old (17 to receive a scholarship appointment).
  • Be in good physical condition.
  • Have good moral character.


After graduating from college and completing all Air Force ROTC requirements, students will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air or Space Force. Non-flying officers serve four years on active duty, navigators serve six years after training, and pilots serve ten

years after training. After those initial commitments, it is your choice to continue to serve. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to an Air Force Cadre member.

Career opportunities

The Air Force offers over 100 officer career fields including:

Aircraft Pilot, Navigator, Maintenance
Space and Missile Satellite Operations, Space Warning, Missile Launch Operations, Maintenance
Engineering Research, Development, and Technical Management in various engineering fields
Scientific Mathematics, Nuclear Physics, Metallurgy, Meteorology
Computer Science Programming, Systems Analysis, Development
Law Labor, Claims, International Contracts, Military Justice, Legal Assistance
Health Services Physician, Osteopathy, Nursing
Management Intelligence, Security Forces, Personnel, Air Traffic Control, Supply, Finance, Communications and Electronics, Munitions


  • A monthly, tax free, cash stipend of $250 to $400 a year given during the academic year while on scholarship.
  • Academic credits toward the completion of most degrees.
  • Opportunity to delay entering active duty to pursue a graduate degree.
  • Scholarships pay the majority of college tuition and up to $750 for textbooks.
  • Travel on military aircraft on a space available basis while on scholarship or enrolled in the POC portion of the program.
  • Visits to Air Force bases and orientation flights aboard Air Force aircraft.

Active duty Air Force

Profession Rewarding, meaningful, positions of responsibility
Advancement Promotions based upon job performance
Pay Competitive salary and allowances
Education 100 percent tuition assistance towards an advanced degree
Retirement Opportunity to retire after 20 years with a percentage of base pay
Vacation 30 days of leave with pay each year
Medical Care Furnished at no cost
Dental Care Furnished at no cost
Sick Leave Unlimited: full pay continues
Living Quarters On-base housing available or off-base housing allowance paid.
Shopping Save as much as 25 percent using on-base stores
Social Life Officer's clubs, swimming, golfing, bowling and tennis at reduced rates
Travel Allowance A daily stipend available while on official orders

Information is subject to change. For more information without obligation, visit our web page (email: or visit us at:

AFROTC Detachment 380
104 Bessey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1033 USA
(517) 355 2168

Also See


Army ROTC is an elective curriculum you take along with your required college classes. It gives you the tools, training, and experiences that will help you succeed in any competitive environment. Along with great leadership training, Army ROTC can pay for your college tuition. Because Army ROTC is an elective, you can participate your freshman and sophomore years without any obligation to join the Army. You will have a normal college student experience like everyone else on campus, but when you graduate, you will be commissioned as an officer in the Army. At that point, you will have a wide range of interest areas that you can specialize in.