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What Is JROTC?

The U.S. Army’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC), is one of the most important character development and citizenship programs available for youth around the globe. The 1916 National Defense Act established JROTC programs in public and private high schools. The 1964 expansion of the program to all military service units saw it become active duty and shared support by the schools and services. Title 10 United States Code Section 2031 mandates that each military service have a JROTC program. This program is meant to “instill in United States secondary school institutions the values of citizenship and service to the United States and personal responsibility, as well as a sense of accomplishment.” JROTC’s mission “To Motivate Young People To Be Better Citizens” is the guidepost for the program’s success.


The U.S. Army JROTC program is currently in operation in over 1,700 high schools, military facilities, and correctional centres across the United States and abroad. About 40% of JROTC programs take place in inner-city schools. This serves a student population that is 50% minority. As JROTC students (Cadets), progress through the program they have opportunities to lead other Cadets. Female Cadets are a major component of JROTC’s leadership and citizenship program. The 40% female Cadet population is made up of female Cadets. Nearly 4,000 retired instructors from active duty, reserve service, and National Guard Army service lead the JROTC faculty. The National Defense Authorization Act 2007 allows instructors to mentor and teach approximately 314,000 JROTC Cadets each year.

Quality Indicators | What is JROTC?

Drop Out~<1%~<1%

College Opportunities

The College Options Foundation, an independent organization of JROTC can assist Cadets in finding colleges that offer credits to complete JROTC. The College Options Foundation can help Cadets find colleges that offer college scholarships. This is not JROTC. For more information, visit or

National Impact

JROTC may be the most impactful and successful youth-oriented program in American history. We identified five Quality Indicators that educators use to assess the program’s effectiveness in high school. These five Quality Indicators include attendance, graduation, indiscipline and drop-out rates, as well as GPA. JROTC’s averages in each category are higher than those of schools.

JROTC isn’t just for students interested in joining the military.

  • JROTC students make up less than 5% of all those who ever join a branch.
  • We will help students who want to serve in the military.
  • JROTC students are also supported by instructors to reach their post-secondary goals, including college scholarships, college enrollments and A+ benefits.
  • Our primary goal is to develop citizenship and leadership skills, focusing on the Essential Learning Skills (Soft Skills), that are essential for today’s competitive workforce.


JROTC is a Leadership and Development Program.

The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is a character development program that focuses on military themes. It helps high school students to develop their leadership, character, citizenship, and community service skills.

These outcomes are achieved by the JROTC program using a 21st century, technology-driven, student-centered curriculum. The curriculum includes education in:

  • Citizenship
  • Leadership
  • Social and Communication Skills
  • Geography
  • Civics
  • Well-being and physical fitness

The JROTC program’s outcomes are:

  • As you help others succeed in a global and diverse workforce, act with integrity and personal responsibility
  • Engage in civic and social issues in the community, government, society
  • Graduates are prepared to excel in career paths and post-secondary options
  • Positive social, emotional and physical health are possible through positive decisions
  • Admire the military and other service organisations’ role

What are the advantages of JROTC

JROTC is different from your average class. Students work in a group that encourages teamwork and collaboration. As a cadet, you can

  • Different levels of leadership are possible
  • Learn communication, decision-making, and time management skills
  • Make life-long memories and friendships
  • You can participate in many extra-curricular and co-curricular activities offered by Nixa JROTCThese opportunities and experiences provide cadets the essential life skills that are required to compete in today’s 21st century workforce.

Academic Credit

  • Year 1: 1/2 credit for Physical Education and 1/2 credit for Practical Art
  • Year 2: 1/2 credit for Physical Education and 1/2 credit for Practical Art
  • Year 3: 1/2 credit elective
  • Year 4: 1/2 credit elective
  • Summer Camp: 1/2 credit elective


Performance-based, learner-centered education that promotes core skills development

  • A capacity to learn lifelong
  • Communication
  • Responsibility for actions and decisions
  • good citizenship
  • Respectful treatment of others
  • Critical thinking techniques

Awards and Promotions

  • Awards are based on academic achievement, participation, and leadership development within the JROTC program.
  • Promotions Based on Cadets with demonstrated leadership potential, they will be considered to one of the many staff positions within the Cadet Chain of Command.

The core values of JROTC programs for high school junior reserve officer training corps are leadership, character, and community service. These values are the core of the JROTC Cadet Creed, which emphasizes the importance of working to improve the cadet’s school, family and country.

Experts agree that the goal of JROTC programs is to promote good citizenship.

Retired Navy Capt. James Boyer says that students feel a sense “of home”, a greater sense “of family and unity.” James Boyer is a senior naval science officer who was recently retired as a Navy JROTC instructor at Spring High School. He says that students learn citizenship by being responsible every day.

The branches of the JROTC program are composed of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Congressional Research Service report shows that 552,990 students participated in 3,432 units in the U.S. Department of Defense schools abroad in fiscal year 2020.

Before enrolling in any program, parents and students should be aware of these aspects.

JROTC Cadets are not subject to military obligation

JROTC is an optional program that students can take after they graduate high school. It does not require them to be military-ready.

Retired Maj. Trina Tilque, an Army JROTC instructor at Statesville high school in North Carolina, stated that “that is not the purpose of JROTC at any; the mission is prepare children to be better citizens.”

The Air Force JROTC website explains that the program is controlled by the military, and participants may be able to increase their rank after enlistment.

According to Col. Steve M. Smith (director of U.S. Army JROTC), only 20% of JROTC participants end up joining the military. He adds that JROTC stresses “health, physical education and ethics (and) financial accountability.”

Smith says that JROTC instructors are retired military personnel who have been through extensive background checks. They also receive classroom management training. JROTC instructors work full-time at schools, but the military contributes to the costs to pay for program leadership.

Students are required to dress in a uniform similar to that worn by military personnel in their branches.

Boyer states, “In most cases, they will likely wear (the uniform), once a week for an entire day at school and get a grade for proper attire.” He also said that students must wear uniforms for JROTC events outside of school.

Students can also participate in drill instruction and physical fitness training.

Boyer states that although each unit is different, the physical fitness of each unit will be the same. “We’re going out to do some general exercises, calisthenics, and general exercises. He also includes marching drills that help students learn how to work together as a team.

JROTC teaches leadership and life skills

Students can learn leadership, self-confidence, and discipline in a JROTC course. These are essential skills for any career. The importance of personal skills is also stressed: financial management, health, nutrition, and financial management.

Smith advises that students interested in joining should speak with their school counselor.

Marine Corps JROTC claims that the program can motivate students to learn, foster disciplined learning environments, (and) instill essential skills such as time management, goal setting and teamwork.

Students can also take on projects and manage programs at school or in their community.

Boyer states that community service encompasses many different activities. “There are leadership positions.”

Smith points out that the community service component can vary by unit. Some examples include cleaning up parks, working in shelters for the homeless, helping the elderly and volunteering at food banks.

JROTC rank system

Students cadets are assigned ranks which correspond with the hierarchy of each military branch associated with the JROTC unit. Cadets must demonstrate leadership skills and knowledge and gain knowledge throughout the program to be promoted.

Boyer says, “The expectation is you should be capable of helping instruct others who are a lower ranking, so you’re instructing them and helping them move up that rank structure.” Boyer also explains that Navy JROTC cadets begin with Ensign 1.

JROTC can prepare students for life after high school

2017study by The Rand Corp. (a non-profit think tank) showed positive results from JROTC participation.

The report states that studies on academic outcomes have consistently shown positive associations between Grade Point Average (GPA), and JROTC membership. Participation in JROTC was associated with lower dropout rates, better attendance, and a higher rate of JROTC graduation.

Smith points out that JROTC programs often take place in schools with high-risk youth or low-income students. Smith notes that program participation is very diverse, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.

Rand stated that JROTC offers students a sense community and other benefits. You can also apply for JROTC scholarships or attend service academies.

JROTC awards

Awards and decorations[edit]

Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps[edit]

Army JROTC Medal For Heroism Ribbon
Army JROTC Superior Cadet Ribbon
Army JROTC Distinguished Cadet Ribbon
Army JROTC Academic Excellence Ribbon
Army JROTC Academic Achievement Ribbon
Army JROTC Perfect Attendance Ribbon
Army JROTC Student Government Ribbon
Army JROTC Leadership Education Training Service Ribbon
Army JROTC N 1 7 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 1 8 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 1 9 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 1 10 Ribbon
Army JROTC Dai Sai Instructor Leadership Ribbon
Army JROTC Personal Appearance Ribbon
Army JROTC Proficiency Ribbon
Army JROTC Drill Team Ribbon
Army JROTC Orienteering Ribbon
Army JROTC Color Guard Ribbon
Army JROTC Rifle Team Ribbon
Army JROTC Adventure Training Ribbon
Army JROTC Commendation Ribbon
Army JROTC Good Conduct Ribbon
Army JROTC JCLC Participation Ribbon
Army JROTC N 3 12 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 3 13 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 3 14 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 3 15 Ribbon
Army JROTC Varsity Athletics Ribbon
Army JROTC Physical Fitness Ribbon
Army JROTC Athletics Ribbon
Army JROTC N 2 4 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 2 5 Ribbon
Army JROTC Parade Ribbon
Army JROTC Recruiting Ribbon
Army JROTC N 4 3 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 4 4 Ribbon
Army JROTC N 4 5 Ribbon
Army JROTC Service Learning Ribbon
Army JROTC Excellent Staff Performance Ribbon
Ribbon appurtenances[57]
Insignia AJROTC Bronze Lamp.pngBronze Oil LampSignifies second award of a ribbon.
Insignia AJROTC Silver Lamp.pngSilver Oil LampSignifies third award of a ribbon.
Insignia AJROTC Gold Lamp.pngGold Oil LampSignifies fourth award of a ribbon.

Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps[edit]

Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement
Marine Corps Reserve Association (MCRA) Outstanding Unit Award
Ribbon American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence.svg
American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence

American Legion Bronze Medal for Military Excellence

Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) JROTC Bronze Medal

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) JROTC Bronze Medal

Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) JROTC Medal

Military Officers Association of America JROTC Medal

Veterans of Foreign Wars JROTC Bronze Medal

Daedalian JROTC Achievement Award

Women Marines Association (WMA) Award for Outstanding Cadet

Noncommissioned Officers Association (NCOA)

Military Order of the Purple Heart JROTC Medal

Navy League Youth Medal

Reserve Officers Association JROTC Medal

Naval Reserve Association JROTC Medal

American Veterans (AMVETS) JROTC Medal

National Sojourners Award

Scottish Rite JROTC Medal

Outstanding Cadet Award

Student Leadership Award

Officer Leadership Award

Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Award

Civic Service Award

Best Drill Cadet Award

Distinguished Scholastic Achievement Award

Arts and Academics Award

Distinguished Military Training Award

Physical Achievement Award

Superior Marksman Award

Athletic Participation Award

Longevity / Fidelity Award

Distinguished Conduct Award

Best Drill Squad Award

Color Guard Award

Drill Team Award

Band/Drum and Bugle Corps Award

Rifle Team Award

Orienteering Team Award

Recruiting Award

Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps[edit]

1 golden star.svg                 1 golden star.svg                 1 golden star.svg
Service designation stars (three maximum)
NJROTC Meritorious Achievement Ribbon.svg
Meritorious Achievement Ribbon[58]
NJROTC Distinguished Unit Ribbon.svg
Distinguished Unit Ribbon
NJROTC Distinguished Cadet Ribbon.svg
Distinguished Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC Honor Cadet Ribbon.svg
Honor Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC CNET Unit Award.svg
Cadet Achievement Ribbon
NJROTC Unit Achievement Ribbon.svg
Unit Achievement Ribbon
NJROTC Aptitude Award Ribbon.svg
Aptitude Ribbon
NJROTC NS IV Outstanding Cadet Ribbon.svg
NS IV Outstanding Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC NS III Outstanding Cadet Ribbon.svg
NS III Outstanding Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC NS II Outstanding Cadet Ribbon.svg
NS II Outstanding Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC NS I Outstanding Cadet Ribbon.svg
NS I Outstanding Cadet Ribbon
NJROTC Exemplary Conduct Ribbon.svg
Exemplary Conduct Ribbon
NJROTC Exemplary Personal Appearance Ribbon.svg
Exemplary Personal Appearance Ribbon
NJROTC Physical Fitness Ribbon.svg
Physical Fitness Ribbon
NJROTC Participation Award Ribbon.svg
Participation Ribbon
NJROTC Unit Service Ribbon.svg
Unit Service Ribbon
NJROTC Community Service Ribbon.svg
Community Service Ribbon
NJROTC Academic Award Ribbon.svg
Academic Award Ribbon
NJROTC Drill Team Ribbon.svg
Drill Team Ribbon
NJROTC Color Guard Ribbon.svg
Color Guard Ribbon
NJROTC Rifle Team Ribbon.svg
Rifle Team Ribbon
NJROTC Orienteering Ribbon.svg
Orienteering Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Outstanding Flight and AFJROTC Drill Competition.svg
Inter service competition Ribbon
NJROTC Recruiting Ribbon.svg
Recruiting Ribbon
NJROTC Mini Boot Camp Ribbon.svg
Basic Leadership Training Ribbon
NJROTC At Sea Cruise Ribbon.svg
Sea Cruise Ribbon[59]

Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps[edit]

Ribbon, Gold Valor Award, AFJROTC.png
Air Force JROTC Gold Valor Award
Ribbon, Air Force JROTC Silver Valor Award.png
Air Force JROTC Silver Valor Award
Ribbon, Cadet Humanitarian Award, AFJROTC.png
Cadet Humanitarian Award
Ribbons, Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award.png
Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award
Ribbons, Community Service with Excellence Award.png
Community Service with Excellence Award
Ribbon, AFA Award.svg
Air Force Association Award
MCJROTC Daedalian.jpeg
Daedalian Award
Ribbon American Legion Award for Scholastic Excellence.svg
American Legion Scholastic Award
Ribbon, American Legion General Military Excellence Award.svg
American Legion General Military Excellence Award
American Veterans Award
Ribbon, Military Order of World Wars Medal.png
Military Order of World Wars Medal
MCJROTC Military Officers Association.jpeg
Military Officers Association Award
MCJROTC VFW Medal.jpeg
Veterans of Foreign Wars Award
Ribbon, Military Order of the Purple Heart.svg
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Ribbon, Air Force Sergeants Association.svg
Air Force Sergeants Association
Ribbon, Tuskegee Airmen Inc AFJROTC Cadet Award.png
Tuskegee Airmen Inc. AFJROTC Cadet Award
Ribbon, Retired Enlisted Association Award.svg
The Retired Enlisted Association Award
Ribbon, Celebrate Freedom Award.svg
Celebrate Freedom Foundation Award
Ribbon, Air Commando Association.svg
Air Commando Association Award
Ribbon, Distinguished Unit Award with Merit.svg
Distinguished Unit Award with Merit
Ribbon, AFROTC College Scholarship Recipient and AFJROTC Distinguished Unit Award.svg
Distinguished Unit Award
Ribbon, Outstanding Organization Award.svg
Outstanding Organization Award
Ribbon, AFROTC Athletic Award (Four and Six Week Flight) and AFJROTC Outstanding Flight.svg
Outstanding Flight Award
Ribbon, AFROTC Honors and AFJROTC Top Performer Award.svg
Top Performer Award
Ribbon, Outstanding Cadet AFJROTC.svg
Outstanding Cadet Award
Ribbon, Leadership Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Leadership Ribbon
Ribbon, Achievement Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Achievement Ribbon
Ribbon, Superior Performance Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Superior Performance Ribbon
Ribbon, Academic Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Academic Ribbon
Ribbon, Leadership School Ribbon.svg
Leadership School Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Outstanding Flight and AFJROTC Drill Competition.svg
Special Teams Competition
Ribbon, AFROTC Distinctive General Military Cadet and AFJROTC Orienteering Competition.svg
Orienteering Ribbon
Ribbon, Cocurricular Activities Leadership Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Co-Curricular Activities Leadership Ribbon
Ribbon, Drill Team Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Drill Team Ribbon
Ribbon, Color Guard Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Color Guard Ribbon
Ribbon, Sabre Team Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Sabre Team Ribbon
Ribbon, Marksmanship Ribbon, AFJROTC.svg
Marksmanship Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Leadership and AFJROTC Good Conduct.svg
Good Conduct Ribbon
Ribbon, Marksmanship Award (Four and Six Week) AFROTC and AFJROTC Service Ribbon.svg
Service Ribbon
Ribbon, Health and Wellness Ribbon.svg
Health and Wellness Ribbon
Ribbon, Recruiting Ribbon, AFJROTC.png
Recruiting Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Warrior Spirit and AFJROTC Activities.svg
Activities Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Commandant's Award (Field Training) and AFJROTC Attendance.svg
Attendance Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Academic Award (Six Week Field Training) and AFJROTC Dress and Appearance.svg
Dress and Appearance Ribbon
Ribbon, AFROTC Superior Performance and AFJROTC Longevity.svg
Longevity Ribbon
Ribbon, Bataan Death March Memorial Hike Ribbon.svg
Bataan Death March Memorial Hike Ribbon
Ribbon, Patriotic Flag Ribbon.svg
Patriotic Flag Ribbon
Other resources:
You can check out my post on how to tie a JROTC tie.
You can check out my post on what does JPA stand for in JROTC.
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