Enlistment Information

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Path to a commission...
Officer Programs

If a commission is your goal, there are a number of programs that can help you get one.

Commissioning programs

The Navy offers many ways to become a commissioned officer. Commissioning programs are available immediately for selected college students and graduates. Enlisted men and women who are outstanding performers may also qualify and apply for commissioning programs. The right road for each individual is determined by balancing two basic factors: what the Navy needs to man the fleet and what the person is qualified to do.

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The United States Naval Academy (USNA)

The Naval Academy offers an opportunity for qualified young persons to embark on careers as Naval officers.

All Academy applicants must have a nomination from a member of the executive or legislative branches of government (e.g., an congressman, senator or the president) to be considered for appointment. There are many nomination sources; applicants should apply to all of them.

Active-duty personnel must have an active-duty pay entry base date (PEBD) on year prior to July 1 of the admission year. Reservists on active duty or assigned to a unit must have a PEBD one year prior to July 1 of the admission year.

NROTC scholarship program

The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship program leads to an appointment as an officer of the Navy in the grade of ensign. The NROTC programs are maintained to educate and train well-qualified men and women for careers as commissioned officers.

The NROTC program is designed to provide the Navy with unristricted line officers. Only persons who are open to the possibility of making their career in teh Navy or Marine Corps should apply.

There are a limited number of NROTC scholarships available to college students who want to become Nurse Corps officers. They must meet all the eligibility requirements of the NROTC program and be competitive for admission to a university with a College of Nursing.

BOOST program

The Navy is engaged in a vigorous effort to ensure that opportunities for a career as a Naval officer are open to persons who may have been educationally deprived, but who have demonstrated they possess the fundamental qualities and desire necessary to gain a commission. To help these individuals achieve their potential, the Navy developed the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program. BOOST prepaares selected individuals for entrance into the NROTC program or the USNA.

Enlisted Commissioning program (ECP)

ECP provides enlisted personnel, who have previous college credit, a full-time opportunity to complete requirements for a baccalaureate degree and earn a commission.

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) program

The CWO program (along with the Limited Duty Officer program) is one of the primary enlisted-to-officer programs that does not require a college education. CWOs provide technical expertise at a relatively stable grade level in the officer structure.

Limited Duty Officer (LDO)

The LDO program is another enlisted-to-officer program that doesn't require a college education. The LDO meets the Navy's needs for officer technical managers.

Seaman to Admiral program

The Seaman to Admiral program was re-established for enlisted Navy men and women in 1994. 50 Seaman to Admiral candidates are selected a year. Successful completion of OCS results in an appointment in an Unrestricted Line Officer community as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After completion of initial operational training and fleet tours, Seaman to Admiral program officers will have the opportunity to earn their baccalaureate degrees at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Commissioning programs in Navy Medicine

Navy medicine offers an alternative to the administrative burden and expense of private practice for physiciana, dentists, and medical service corps officers. This program is extremely competitive. Enlisted personnel aspiring toward appointment in the medical service corps should begin preparation early in their careers through a sound self-improvement program.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

This four year, extremely competitive program to an accredited medical school, accepts applications from service members who have a baccalaureate degree and have taken all of the required pre-med courses.

Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program

This is an exremely competitive program for applicants desiring ot become a physician, dentist, or optometrist. Applicants can apply for 2-, 3-, or 4-year scholarships. Persons accepted into this program receive a commission in the Naval Reserve on inactive duty until they graduate, when they are advanced to lieutenant and enter active service. Graduates incur a year-for-year obligation (following residency obligation) based upon the scholarship received.

Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program

The Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program offers enlisted personnel of all ratings the chance to become ensigns in the Nurse Corps by allowing them to obtain their bachelor of science degree in nursing. Selectees will receive full pay and benefits, but will be expected to pay their own educational expenses.

Officer Programs

The Navy is on the sea, in the air, beneath the sea and on the land around the world every day. The Navy has it all... cutting edge technology, advanced systems and millions of dollars of aviation, submarine and surface ship hardware. And, to make it all work, the Navy needs a superb command organization.

Navy officers are highly trained professionals who lead the way in achieving loperational and management requirements. Navy officers provide technical, scientific and managerial expertise in a wide variety of specialties as sea, in the air and on shore.

Types of Navy Officers

The Navy officer corps is divided into three categories: unrestricted line, restricted line, and staff corps.

  • Unrestricted line officers perform various duties in surface, submarine and aviation warfare. These officer specialties are: Naval aviator, Naval flight officer, special operations, special warfare, submarine warfare, surface warfare, and acquisition professionals. Special operations officers serve in diving, salvage, explosive ordnance and expendable ordnance management specialties. Special warfare officers lead sea-air-land (SEAL) teams that operate quietly and efficiently to destroy enemy targets, reonnoiter landing sites and collect information on enemy movements.
  • Restricted line officers perform various duties in their specific areas of expertise. These officer specialties are: aerospace engineering, oceanography, intelligence, public affairs, and fleet support.
  • Staff corps officers are those assigned to Civil Engineer Corps, Supply Corps, Chaplain Corps, Judge Advocate General's Corps, Medical Corps (physicians), Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps (health care), and the Nurse Corps. Staff corps officers also serve with the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

What are we looking for?

The following are essential characteristics of the successful Navy officer.

  • Adaptability -the ability to adjust and feel at home whether at sea, in an aircraft cockpit or behind a desk.
  • Character -the honesty, integrity and maturity that are indispensable to leadership responsibility
  • Dedication -the desire to work hard in an important job that serves our nation and its people.
  • Flexibility -open-mindedness, willingness to do things in new ways and the ability to change.
  • Mental alertness -to power to acquire new knowledge, think clearly and draw sound conclusions.
  • Versatility -the resourcefulness needed for the changing world of Naval technology and operations.

Where Do You Want To Serve?

On the Sea

Surface warfare officers (SWOs) manage operations aboard Navy surface ships of all types including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and cruisers. Sea duty assignments aboard nuclear and conventionally powered ships, combatant and support ships offer excellent career opportunities for men and women.

(Command at sea) Complete responsibility for a Navy ship and her crew is the goal of surface warfare officers. It's a proud achievement that reflects the very best in professionalism, leadership, performance and technical skills.

Surface warfare officers receive specialized officer and operational training based upon their selection for conventionally powered or nuclear-powereed ships.

And remember: "At Sea" doesn't mean being onboard a ship all the time! Ships have planned at-sea schedules and spend much time in home port or visiting other ports in foreign countries and the United States. Most officers commute to their ships from civilian and military communities and only live abroad when their ship is at sea. Between sea tours, surface officers enjoy opporunities for assignment to shore facilities, instructor duties and postgraduate education institutions.


Navy shore facilities support their people, ships and aircaft throughout the United States and around the world. This fleet support establishment is operationally and technically oriented and increasingly comples. It demands leaders with expertise in management and Navy subspecialty areas ranging from strategic planning to financial and information management.

Navy officers in warfare and other specialty areas also serve in shipyards, air stations, electronics and ordnance laboratories, nuclear power plants, supply depots and medical centers.

All Navy officers have opportunities to serve on other military and allied command staffs, embassy staffs and Department of Defense and Department of the Navy headquarters.

In the Air

Navy aviation officers are teh select few worldwide who experience the unsurpassed thrill of flying from the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea.

The Navy aviation team is made up of Naval aviators (pilots) who fly the aircraft and Naval flight officers (NFOs) who control the aircraft's sophisticated weapons and guidance systems. Pilots and NFOs experience almost every type of flying, from advanced carrier-based jets to land-based patrol and transport aircraft to helicopters. Aviation officers perform the full spectrum of air missions, including fleet air defense, fighter/attack missions, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue.

Or Under the Sea

Navy submarine officers carry out their unique missions in one of the world's last great frontiers. Nulcear-powered fast attack and ballistic missile submarines can patrol under the seas undetected for months without surfacing. However, they rarely stay submerged that long at one time.

Officers completing training are assigned to nuclear submarines, where superior initiative, leadership and personal responsibility are required to achieve submarine warfare qualifications. These same skills prepare top officers for the ultimate goal: command at sea of nuclear submarines.


Taining for conventional-power surface officers:

  • Officer Candidate School
  • Surface Warfare Officers School
  • First Sea Tour

Prospective pilots receive the following training:

  • Officer Candidate School
  • Primary flight training
  • Advanced flight training

Prospective Naval flight officers receive the following training:

  • Officer Candidate School
  • Primary flight training
  • Advanced flight training

Training for nuclear-power warfare officers:

  • Officer Candidate School
  • Nuclear Power School
  • Nuclear Power Training Unit
  • Surface Warfare Officer School

Officers selected for nuclear submarines receive the following taining:

  • Officer Candidate School
  • Nuclear Power School
  • Nuclear Power Training Unit
  • Naval Submarine School

Baccalaureate Degree Completion program (BDCP)

You earn up to $54,000 while you're in college! If you're a civilian or enlisted inactive reservist of any armed service working toward your bachelor's degree, the Navy's Baccalaureate Degree Completion program could give you the financial boost you need to complete your college degree requirments and help you become a Navyl Reserve officer at the same time.

As a member of the program, you will:

  • Be in an active duty status;
  • Receive a salary and allowances;
  • Continue your college education.

You'll pay for your tuition, books and other school-related expenses while completing your bachelor's degree. No uniform requirements apply until after graduation.

As a selectee, your service obligation is four years of active duty, then four years in an inactive status unless otherwise required by your officer community.

Navy officers enjoy many outstanding benefits including:

  • Opportunity for professional development
  • Career-related training
  • Opportunity for advanced education with full pay and allowances
  • A chance to exercise leadership
  • Early responsibility
  • Promotions based on performance and ability
  • Good starting pay, regular raises and extra pay for special duty
  • Opportunities for world travel
  • 30 days vacation with pay each year
  • Comprehensive medical and dental care
  • Family medical and dental care available on a space-available or low-cost basis
  • Tax-free allowances for housing and meals
  • Low-cost life insurance
  • Economical shopping at military grocery stores (commissaries) and military department stores (exchanges)
  • Moving expenses when changing duty stations
  • Officer's clubs and other recreation facilities
  • Comprehensive retirement program when qualified