For someone who is looking to serve their country by joining the military as an officer, enrolling in a college ROTC program is one way to get started. ROTC, or Reserve Officer Training Corps, is a program to help give high school and freshman college students the skills they need to advance in the military, and it's offered at many colleges throughout the country. If you're looking for a college with a good ROTC program in California, we've compiled a list of five here for different branches of the military so that any Californian can find a good fit.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||Tuition (in-state)*||Military-Friendly Programs Offered|
|San Diego State University||4-year, public||San Diego, CA||$7,084||Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, Navy ROTC, ROTC scholarship|
|Azusa Pacific University||4-year, private||Azusa, CA||$36,120||Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, Green-to-Gold program member|
|University of California - Berkeley||4-year, public||Berkeley, CA||$13,509||Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, Navy ROTC|
|California State University Maritime Academy||4-year, public||Vallejo, CA||$6,808||Navy ROTC, Air Force ROTC|
|San Jose State University||4-year, public||San Jose, CA||$7,418||Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, ROTC scholarship|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
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ROTC Colleges in California
For high school and freshman college students considering the military, an ROTC program will help you learn the necessary skills and get a head start on your service. There are ROTC programs for all branches of the military all over the country, and here are five found in various parts of sunny California.
San Diego State University
For a school in the heart of Southern California that maintains an ROTC program, San Diego State University (SDSU) is an attractive choice. SDSU's Army ROTC program offers training to become future officers in the Army, as well as leaders in the world of business and finance. It offers courses in leadership, health and physical fitness, ethical decision making, and more. SDSU also offers two scholarships for those interested in its ROTC program, which will pay for full tuition as well as books and materials. SDSU also offers ROTC programs for the Air Force and Navy. The Air Force program prepares students for management-level positions in the USAF, while the Navy program prepares students to be an Ensign in the Navy or a Second Lieutenant in the Marines.
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private, not-for-profit university with 10,000 students located in Los Angeles County. APU's program focuses on training cadets for the Army or Air Force, or the civilian workforce, focusing on leadership skills, physical fitness, and cooperation with other colleges in the area. APU is also part of the Army's Green-to-Gold Active Duty program. For active duty soldiers in the Green-to-Gold program, you will continue to receive your salary from the Army for up to two years while studying at APU. For the Air Force ROTC, APU offers four courses designed to help prospective service members with leadership and management skills.
University of California - Berkeley
For students not sure about the branch of the military that most interests them, University of California - Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is a 4-year college in Central California with 40,000 students and ROTC programs for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. An ROTC student at UC Berkeley will learn to be a better leader while getting valuable training for some of the most coveted jobs in the country, learning skills like piloting and engineering that employers are looking for. For those who aren't sure about the armed forces but want to see what they entail, there's no military commitment required until the student's third year. A prospective student can try a year or two of ROTC, and if the life isn't for them, there's no penalty.
California State University Maritime Academy
California State University Maritime Academy (CSUM) is a small university with only about 1,100 students focused on careers in the maritime field, and it provides ROTC programs for the Navy and Marines, as well as the Air Force. CSUM's Navy ROTC program will teach students about navigation and naval history, along with the leadership and ethics courses offered by most ROTC programs. Additionally, once commissioned, Navy ROTC members will choose among surface ships, submarine, aviation, or special options programs. Marines members will attend The Basic School in Quantico, VA, before being assigned to different specialties such as infantry, logistics, intelligence, and more. While you might not expect a maritime university to offer Air Force-centered programs, the truth is that CSUM also has an Air Force ROTC, which provides leadership skills and physical fitness programs for prospective Air Force members.
San Jose State University
San Jose State University (SJSU) is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, with 32,000 students and an ROTC program that would be attractive to prospective Army and Air Force members. SJSU has the standard 4-year ROTC program, as well as an accelerated 2-year program for those who are already serving in the Army Reserve or National Guard and who have completed studies at a 2-year college. For those interested in Air Force ROTC, cadets at SJSU take part in an Aerospace Studies program, which offers a weekly leadership laboratory, classes taught by commissioned Air Force officers, and more. SJSU also offers scholarships for ROTC members twice a year, which can pay for a cadet's full tuition.