Professional Development

Take Yourself To The Next Level

In addition to your regular college coursework and Air Force ROTC leadership classes, Air Force ROTC offers various Professional Development Trainings (PDT) that consist of specialized classes and opportunities in a variety of Air Force  and Space Force fields. PDTs are designed to educate cadets on the wide range of activities and missions that the Air Force and Space Force accomplish. Air Force ROTC cadets compete for slots in PDTs, and they typically occur during summer breaks when school is not in session.

Professional Development Training

The AFRL ACE Cyber Boot Camp Summer Internship Program educates future cyber warriors on the science of mission assurance and trains them in the art of cyber warfare. The ACE is a competitively paid, 10-week internship at the AFRL Information Directorate in Rome, New York, that targets rising senior cadets majoring in electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science. ACE graduates are highly sought after throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence community. Cadets receive a stipend but do not receive training pay or per diem.

AFAFF is a 12-day parachute training program that is conducted at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, Colorado. The course is comprised of strenuous physical training, conditioning, ground school and five free-fall jumps from 4,500 feet above ground level. Cadets completing all five jumps are awarded jump wings. Cadets under 18 years of age are not allowed to attend AFAFF without parental consent.

The AFRL Scholars Program is an 8–12-week paid Summer Internship Program (SIP) offering selected interns valuable hands-on experience working with full-time AFRL scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research and technology which enables them to contribute to unique, research-based projects. Internships are held at Eglin AFB, Florida; Kirtland AFB, New Mexico; and Maui (AMOS), Hawaii. Cadets receive a stipend but do not receive training pay or per diem.

SOAR is a 15-day program designed to give cadets the opportunity to experience the basic fundamentals of flight in non-powered gliders. Cadets receive instruction in basic flight through ground school and actual flight, leading up to a cadet solo flight. Cadets can expect eight to 15 flights while spending five hours each day on the flight line. The majority of instruction is conducted by the upper-class U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) cadets trained as soaring instructors. The program assumes that cadets have no previous flight experience. To participate, cadets must complete a flight physical at a local Flight Medicine clinic. Training is conducted at USAFA, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

CROs lead and command personnel-recovery operations as direct combatants. They will perform duties as mission planners and provide personnel-recovery expertise to command and battle staffs on recovery operations, including survival, evasion, resistance and escape programs. The demands of this specialty are high, and outstanding leadership qualities are fundamental to success. Excellent physical fitness, maturity and exceptional personal responsibility are essential characteristics of the CRO. Cadets may apply for this duty during their junior year. Selection is a two-phase process. Phase I is an application board review, and Phase II is an in-person assessment. Phase I applications are due no later than (NLT) January 1 and August 1 each year. Cadets participate in Phase II of the CRO-selection process each spring at Moody AFB, Georgia, and in the fall at Fairchild AFB, Washington. CRO Phase II consists of a one-week evaluation to include intense physical activities in possibly inclement and humid conditions as well as writing and briefing skills.

The Field Engineering Readiness Lab (FERL) is a three-week program which provides the opportunity for selected cadets to experience the mission, methods and techniques used by Air Force Civil Engineers (CE). This course emphasizes the practical applications of CE principles and immerses cadets in the CE mission, building structures, designing bases, rebuilding airfields and repairing critical infrastructure for Air Force operations. This course involves a systems approach to learning that bridges the gap between theory and practice and takes a “construct first, design later” approach to engineering education. To be eligible, cadets must be in appropriate feeder majors for the CE Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC): Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Systems Engineering, etc. and have an interest/intent in pursuing the 32E AFSC. The program is held at USAFA, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

AFGSC SIP is an opportunity for selected cadets to spend three weeks at one of the Air Force’s major commands. During this time, cadets will be immersed in the mission of AFGSC through shadow programs, mission briefings and simulator rides while focusing on leadership and professional development through events such as the squadron commander’s course and senior leadership engagement. The program is held at AFGSC, Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, Louisiana.

AFIT ACE program develops cadets into the next generation of cyberspace leaders through education, problem-solving, military operations and advanced Air Force–specific academics. Formal education components cover information warfare, cryptography, network security, digital forensics, wireless security and formal security concepts. In addition, the ACE program provides military-focused discussions and staff rides, which incorporate the importance of lessons learned from recent cyber conflicts and historic battlefields. The program is held at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

The 45th LCG SCIP develops cadets into the next generation of space launch and acquisition leaders through immersion into military launch operations and space-lift-unique academics. This internship program provides cadets with the intent to commission as mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, astronautical or general engineers, give the chance to experience both launch vehicle and spacecraft mission assurance operations as well as gain exposure to all supporting base operations that go into a successful launch from the world’s busiest space lift range. The program is held at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

Through partnership with CAP, Air Force ROTC provides orientation flights to cadets in order to motivate and stimulate the cadet’s interest in and knowledge of aviation and aerospace activities as part of its Air Force mission. Cadets with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private, commercial pilot or airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate are ineligible for the FOP (cadets bearing student certificates are eligible for the FOP). All AFROTC cadets in the FOP are authorized to receive a maximum of four front-seat flights and four or more rear-seat (observer) flights during the cadet’s academic career.

Cadet Training Assistant (CTA) program is comprised of handpicked Professional Office Course (POC) cadets from across the country who work alongside Field Training Officers (FTO) in developing and evaluating cadets throughout the rigors of the two-week Field Training (FT) program. FT is an integral component of the AFROTC curriculum, designed to test cadets physically, mentally and emotionally. CTAs are expected to assist FTOs as they train, develop and mentor cadets on a wide range of competencies which include: communication skills, wingman culture, team building, critical thinking, adaptability and decision-making. Training days for cadets extend from 0400 to 2000 every day.

LLNL SIP provides Air Force ROTC cadets the opportunity to work on projects at LLNL focusing on fusion ignition and laser technology, research, advanced manufacturing and materials technologies, high-performance computing, nonproliferation and arms control, and intelligence assessment as examples. Projects are matched to the student’s major, interests and skills in support of research being performed at LLNL. This is a full time summer internship and may be full-time during academic breaks.

Cadets may apply for the STO specialty during their junior year. Cadets should submit a Phase I package by January 1 of their junior year. Phase II selection is conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida, in March. Candidates must be prepared for a physically and mentally demanding week, and to be competitive, cadets must perform well above the minimums. If not selected at Phase II, cadets can continue in the career field they were categorized for. Participation is limited to qualified AS300 and AS400 cadets who have completed field training.

NCLS is USAFA’s flagship event on character and leadership. It brings together distinguished scholars, military leaders, corporate executives and world-class athletes to motivate and equip participants for honorable living and effective leadership. It is a two-day event held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The NRO SIP is a STEM-focused program and consists of activities related to space reconnaissance. Air Force ROTC cadets receive hands-on training and experience exposure to NRO operations and its various missions. This is a six-week summer internship in Virginia, Colorado or New Mexico.

OPS AF is a two-week summer program planned and carried out in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Academy. This program focuses and orients cadets on Air Force missions and culture through direct exposure to and experience with Air Force operational units across the country. The bases/installations supporting this Professional Military Training vary each year and will have varying mission sets. As part of the cadet-to-base selection process, efforts are taken to align a cadet’s interests with a base’s mission.

Project GO is an initiative of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO), administered by the Institute of International Education to promote critical language and study abroad opportunities to Air Force ROTC students. The U.S. military needs future military officers who possess the necessary critical language and cross-cultural communication skills required for effective leadership in the 21st century operational environment. Project GO scholars study the following critical languages in domestic and overseas programs: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.

USAFA Cadet Exchange Program provides a broadening opportunity for six cadets from Air Force ROTC to attend one term at USAFA. At the same time, USAFA will select and send cadets to civilian institutions with AFROTC detachments. The purpose of this program is to enhance the professionalism and development of cadets from each commissioning source through a learning exchange experience. Exchange cadets will participate in all activities required of USAFA cadets, including academic classes, study groups, athletics and leadership activities. Cadets should expect to serve in a leadership position as appointed by USAFA cadet wing leadership.

The USAFA Basic Military Training (BMT) Cadet Training Assistant (CTA) opportunity integrates Air Force ROTC cadets into the leadership team of the USAFA Preparatory School Basic Military Training to prepare candidates for the rigors of the USAFA experience. CTAs will assist alongside USAFA cadets and prep school cadre in the training, mentoring and evaluation of candidates.

AAS is a professional, honorary service organization advocating the support of air- and space power. The primary objectives of the Arnold Air Society are as follows: (1) create a more efficient relationship among Air Force officer candidates; (2) aid in the development of effective officers; and (3) further the purpose, traditions and concepts of the Air Force. AAS service projects are the main vehicle through which the objectives are accomplished. They provide leadership and management challenges and give campus and community recognition for Air Force ROTC and the USAF.

Cadet Opportunities

One of the opportunities you can take advantage of as a cadet is base visits. Base visits will give you an inside look at life in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force. Not only will you see all the amenities that are available to Airmen, Guardians and their families, but you’ll also get a real-world glimpse into your future as you shadow active-duty officers.

Air Force Officer And Space Force Mentorship

  1. In addition to visiting Air Force and Space Force bases, Air Force ROTC detachments also host current active-duty officers from various career fields to speak to and mentor cadets
  2. As part of this mentorship, you will be able to interact with officers who are doing the jobs that you are interested in. This will help you gain a broader understanding of what it is like to be in the Air Force or Space Force as well as your future career.

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