The University of Massachusetts Amherst

What Is ROTC?

The Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is a college program designed to train and commission officers into the United States Air Force. AFROTC is like a campus club, academics and a leadership training course rolled into one. It is a great place to meet new people who share similar interests and prepare yourself for the leadership position you will assume following graduation as an officer in the Air Force.

Air Force ROTC is divided into two main groups of students called cadets. In your first two years of ROTC, you will be a member of the GMC (General Military Course). Unless you are on scholarship, there is absolutely NO commitment to remain in ROTC or join the Air Force while you are in the GMC. Also, you do not have to be an undergraduate freshman to join Air Force ROTC. We have many programs for upperclassmen to graduate students.

There are three primary areas of the ROTC program. They are academic instruction, leadership training and physical fitness.

  • All cadets participate in organized Physical Training (PT) for one hour, at least two days per week. PT activities include stretching and calisthenics, running and team sports. The activities vary a lot to keep the pace interesting and to make sure everyone is involved and benefiting.
  • For academics, the first two years you will attend a one-hour class per week. In this class you will learn about the history of the Air Force and other general information about being an officer. The final two years, you will attend a three-hour class. In these classes you will learn the skills necessary to be an effective Air Force leader and supervisor and learn about the laws and policies that govern how Air Force decisions are made.
  • In four years, you will earn a total of 16 AFROTC credits (two credits each year as a freshman and sophomore, and six each year as a junior and senior).
  • Each semester, you will also attend a two-hour leadership laboratory (Lead Lab). Lead Lab is designed to teach you military customs and courtesies as well as leadership skills in all sorts of circumstances. Lead Lab is considered the most fun part of ROTC. During the two-hour class the cadets usually participate in hands-on training. This can include visiting nearby mobility exercises, practicing drill and ceremonies or working on teambuilding and leadership exercises--all to help prepare cadets for life on Active Duty.

After your first two years, if you decide to remain in the program and pursue your commission you will attend Field Training. This is a four-week training course (5 weeks in some circumstances) where you will hone your leadership skills and learn about the active duty Air Force first hand. After Field Training, you will contract and become a member of the POC (Professional Officer Corps) and continue your journey to officership.

Your final two years are spent in the Professional Officer Corps. The POC cadets conduct the leadership laboratories and manage the unit's cadet wing. The cadet wing is based on the Air Force organizational pattern of wing, group, squadron and flight. The highest ranking cadet in the detachment is considered the "Cadet Wing Commander" and is responsible for all activities within the detachment for that semester. All members of the POC will have the opportunity to hold a position of significant leadership (wing, group, squadron or flight commander) at least once in their cadet career. Through this experience, you will gain the necessary skills and expertise to be an effective Air Force officer and a future leader in the U.S. Air Force.

If you are interested in joining Detachment 370, please visit our How Do I Join? page.


Phone: 413-545-2437