The U.S. Army officer corps is composed of college-educated professionals from nearly all academic and military disciplines. Officers lead enlisted men and women in training and in combat. Commissioned officers in the U.S. Army are highly trained and are specialists in areas as diverse as small unit tactics, cyber security and trauma surgery. Army officers begin with the rank of second lieutenant and can work their way up to a four-star general.
When a cadet reaches their final year in the ROTC program, they order their branch choices by priority to determine their Army specialty. Their selections are sent before the accessioning board to determine their branches, once cadets receive their branch selections they begin to prepare for their new Army careers. Branches are divided generally into three categories: Combat Arms, consisting of branches involved in direct combat; Combat Support, consisting of branches which directly aid Combat Arms; and Combat Service Support, consisting of branches providing logistical or other forms of support to the Army. To get a more detailed description of each branch, check out the Army Branches page or the Army ROTC web site.
An Army officer's career is generally a series of 2 and 3 year assignments, each one preparing you for the next. Personal abilities and preferences affect the choices a person makes, so there is no one career blueprint. There is, however, a general progression most officers' careers follow.
One of the most attractive aspects of being an Army officer is the structured promotion system. The promotion system is designed to help both the Army and the Officer. The system design enables the best officers to reach positions of most importance and highest responsibility. From an individual officer's point of view, the promotion system assures qualified persons advancement after a certain time. In other words, your career can never get endlessly mired at middle management. Your performance is reviewed on a regular basis during rating periods. You will be told you are being rated, and told what is expected of you during this period. We think this process is more than fair and that it gives every officer a real chance to be at his/her best. See the Promotional Phases page for information on each phase.