Enlisted to Officer

One way to change your job in the military is move from an Enlisted Member to an Officer. Officers receive more pay and are also offered the challenge of leadership. Every year many enlisted members are given the opportunity to earn a commission through a variety of pathways. The competition is high but you may have what it takes. Learn more about paths to becoming an officer below.

Commissioning Programs

The main idea behind becoming an Officer is to get your four year degree from an accredited college or university. There are different ways to go about this. If you are already an enlisted member of the military you can use your education benefits to earn your degree. After receiving your degree you can then enter the military through one of the Officer Candidate Schools. Although education is the key, there are different ways to become an officer depending on your military branch. In some cases you can go to school while serving or while receiving pay and benefits in addition to receiving scholarships for your schooling. Below is a list of Programs in place for each branch.



  • The Seaman to Admiral Program (STA)
  • The Chief Warrant Officer Appointment Process
  • The Limited Duty Officer Appointment Process

Air Force


Coast Guard

  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy
  • Pre-commissioning Program for Enlisted Personnel
  • Officer Candidate School (OCS)
  • Coast Guard Direct Commission Programs
  • The Chief Warrant Officer Appointment Process

Enlisted members can earn a degree while serving and apply for Officer Candidate School, while others apply for ROTC or a service academy. Remember that in addition to having your four year degree you must also be a US citizen and meet the physical, moral, and mental standards required.