The Space Force is a branch of the U.S. military that focuses on space-related operations, including satellite communications, missile warning systems, and other space-based technologies. Becoming a Space Force officer requires dedication, hard work, and a strong commitment to serving your country. Here’s a guide to becoming a Space Force officer. We’ve also included a video that summarizes this article here:

Overview of the Space Force

The Space Force was established in 2019 as the newest branch of the U.S. military, and its mission is to defend the country’s space-based interests. The Space Force operates under the U.S. Department of Defense under the Department of the Air Force (similar to the Marine Corp’s relationship with the Navy) and is responsible for:

  • Developing and maintaining space-based technologies
  • Providing space-related services and support to other branches of the military
  • Conducting space-related operations, including missile warning and satellite communications

The Space Force is led by a four-star general and includes both civilian and military personnel.

Paths to Becoming a Space Force Officer

There are two main paths to becoming a Space Force officer: either joining out of college or transferring from another branch in the military.

This article focuses on helping high school students create a path to the Space Force either through the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, or the Officer Training School (OTS) program.

However, you can learn more about the Inter-Service Transfer Program by visiting the Space Force’s website if you’re currently serving in another branch of the military and interested in transferring to the Space Force.

Let’s dive into how you can become a Space Force officer if you aren’t already in the military: a Service Academy, ROTC, or OTS.

U.S. Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy is a four-year college located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is one of the most selective colleges in the country. The academy provides a rigorous academic and military training program for aspiring Space Force officers.

To apply to the Air Force Academy, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be between 17 and 23 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet physical fitness standards
  • Obtain a nomination from a member of Congress or other authorized nominating source

If accepted into the academy, you will receive a full scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Upon graduation, you will receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Space Force and will be required to serve for a minimum of five years.

Currently, about 100-150 officers graduating from the Air Force Academy are commissioning directly into the Space Force each year.

You can learn more about USAFA by reading our guide to getting into the Air Force Academy.

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

The Air Force ROTC program is offered at many colleges and universities across the United States and provides a pathway to becoming a Space Force officer through a combination of academic and military training.

To join the Air Force ROTC program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be between 17 and 31 years old
  • Be enrolled in an accredited college or university
  • Meet physical fitness standards

As an ROTC cadet, you will take courses in military science and leadership, as well as your chosen field of study. You will also participate in military training and leadership development activities. After graduation and completing the ROTC program, you will receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Space Force and will be required to serve for a minimum of four years.

You can compete for an Air Force ROTC scholarship and choose to commission into the Space Force, or you can also compete for a Space Force ROTC scholarship. The Space Force-specific ROTC scholarship is called the “High School Scholarship Program – Space Force” or HSSP-SF for short.

Regardless of which scholarship you choose, you’ll be training within Air Force ROTC.

Learn more about the requirements for the Air Force or Space Force ROTC scholarship.

Requirements for Becoming a Space Force Officer

To become a Space Force officer, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be between 18 and 39 years old
  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Meet physical fitness standards
  • Pass a background check and security clearance

Minimum academic qualifications and majors depend on where you commission from (ROTC versus an Academy).

For an ROTC scholarship, you must have an SAT score of 1240 or higher or an ACT score of 26 or higher. You will also need to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Note that these are minimums, and to actually win a scholarship you must have higher scores and grades.

You’ll also have to pass an interview for an ROTC scholarship.

Space Force Second Lieutenant commissioning into the USSF

Jobs Available for Space Force Officers

Here are some of the current jobs available for Space Force officers:

Note that six of the ten jobs are specifically engineering, showing the need for engineers in the Space Force currently.

  • Astronautical Engineer
  • Human Factors Engineer/Human Systems Integration
  • Mechanical Engineer Officer
  • Electrical/Electronic Engineer
  • Computer Systems Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Space Force Operations
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Acquisition Manager
  • Cyberspace Effects Operations Officer

Salary of a Space Force Officer

Space Force officers receive competitive salaries and benefits packages. When you first commission and become a Second Lieutenant in the Space Force, you can expect to earn between $43,000-$54,000 in base pay during your first year, depending on how much experience you have in the military (if you’re prior enlisted). This will increase as you are promoted and gain experience.

Other benefits include:

  • Medical care
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Housing allowance
  • Education and training opportunities
  • Access to on-base facilities and services

Frequently Asked Questions About Space Force Officers

Here are some common questions that you may have about becoming a Space Force officer:

Can I join the Space Force right after high school?

No, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to become a Space Force officer. However, you may be able to enlist out of high school.

Do I need to have a specific major to become a Space Force officer?

The Space Force highly prefers a technical major if you’re commissioning as a Space Force officer through Air Force or Space Force ROTC. These majors include:

  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Analysis And Functional Analysis
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Astronautical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Sciences Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Embedded Software
  • Engineering
  • Engineering General
  • Engineering Physics
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mat Science & Engineering, Structure
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical
  • Number Theory
  • Numerical Methods And Computing
  • Operations-Research
  • Physics
  • Probability
  • Software Design System
  • Software Engineering
  • Statistics

How competitive is the application process?

The application process is highly competitive, and acceptance into officer training is not guaranteed. Learn more about the requirements to find out if you’re competitive on our sister site, ROTC Consulting.

Can I choose my job as a Space Force officer?

You can choose preferences for certain career fields, but job assignments are ultimately determined by the needs of the Space Force.

Do Space Force officers get deployed?

Space Force officers may be deployed to support space-related missions. However, many officers will end up deploying in place.

What are the officer ranks in the Space Force?

Space Force officers follow a similar rank structure as the Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. When you first commission into the Space Force, you’ll start out as a Second Lieutenant. Here are all the Space Force officer ranks:

Second Lieutenant

First Lieutenant

Captain

Major

Lieutenant Colonel

Colonel

Brigadier General

Major General

Lieutenant General

General