Military Workers, Officers


Employment Prospects


The U.S. government employs the military. There are 231,953 active duty officer personnel in various occupational groups across all military branches. The army has 92,006 active duty officers; the air force, 63,536; the navy, 54,982; and the marine corps, 21,492. About 41,250 people, including military officers, serve in the Coast Guard.

Starting Out

Military officers get their start through programs at military academies, through the Reserved Officers Training Program (ROTC) at their college or university, or through Officer Candidate School after graduating from college. A military recruiter is the person to contact for those wanting to enter the armed forces. To start out in any branch, you will need to pass physical and medical tests, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam, and basic training. Visit to locate a recruiting office near you.

Advancement Prospects

Each military branch has 10 officers' grades (O-1 through O-10). The higher the number is, the more advanced a person's rank. The various branches of the military have somewhat different criteria for promoting individuals; in general, promotions depend on factors such as the number of years served, demonstrated abilities, advanced training, recommendations, and scores on written exams. Promotions become more and more competitive as people advance in rank. Some officers can expect to reach lieutenant colonel or commander (O-5). Outstanding individuals may be able to advance beyond these levels.

Tips for Entry

Visit the "Becoming an Officer" section of Today's Military Web site ( to learn more about the different types of military officers and the educational and skills requirements.

Visit the Web sites of military academies to learn more about the educational programs for military officers. Also compare the Reserve Officers Training Corps programs that are offered at various colleges.

Read Futures Magazine ( to learn more about the military.