Baylor University
College of Arts and Sciences


Army Questions on the Army Officer Program |
Careers & Jobs
Officership FAQ

What�s the difference between being a Soldier and officer?

Both are Soldiers. Enlisted Soldiers perform specific job functions. Officers are the decision makers and planners who lead the Soldiers under their command.

What is the process to become an officer?

There are four paths to becoming an officer:

Army Reserve Officers� Training Corps (ROTC) lets undergraduate and graduate students enroll in elective leadership and military courses at colleges and universities in addition to their required courses.

Direct Commission provides leaders in professional fields such as law, medicine and religion the opportunity to become an Army Commissioned Officer.

Officer Candidate School (OCS) allows college graduates to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be commissioned as an Army officer through classroom instruction and training exercises.

U.S. Military Academy at West Point, one of our country�s premier colleges, immerses cadets in military customs and traditions while working toward a college degree.

What�s the difference between being Active Duty and the Army Reserve?

Active Duty is similar to working at a full-time civilian job. The Army Reserve is more like a part-time job that enables you to keep your civilian career while you continue to train near home and serve your country.

Can I be an officer and still live where I want?

Yes. If you are an officer in the Army Reserve, you can commit to your country while you continue your civilian career at home. However, you should expect to spend one weekend a month in training and attend a two-week Field Training Exercise (FTX) once a year.

How long does it take to become an officer?

If you choose to become an officer through the Army Reserve Officers� Training Corps (ROTC) or the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, you will become an officer after completing four years of college. Through Officer Candidate School (OCS), you are commissioned as an Army second lieutenant upon completion of the 12-week course. If you join through direct commission, you are automatically an officer when you enter the Army.

What is the salary like?

Army officer salaries are competitive with those of mid to senior level corporate executives. When you factor in the savings from Army housing, food allowance, tax advantages and health care, you come out ahead.

Do I need a college degree to become an officer?

Yes, the one basic requirement to becoming an officer is that you must have a bachelor�s degree � not necessarily at the start of the process but by the time you are commissioned as an officer.

What are the chances that I will be deployed?

It depends on the Army branch you choose and the unit to which you are assigned. However, Army missions and challenges are always changing, so there�s no way to know in advance which specialties and units are needed where. All officers in the Army or Army Reserve component face the possibility of deployment at some point during their careers.

How long is the commitment?

As an officer, the length of your commitment to the Army varies, depending on the path you have taken to become an officer.