How Can I Become a Teacher for the Army?

Find out how both civilians and military personnel could have opportunities to teach military students through Army, government and school programs. Continue reading to learn about your options including job titles and types of teaching jobs available as well as salary information. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Teacher for the Army?

As a teacher for the Army, you may work in a wide range of settings. For instance, you could get a job teaching an academic subject at a military school, where you might teach and supervise elementary, middle or high school-aged students. You could also get a job teaching in an ROTC program at a college or university, covering topics such as leadership and rifle use. You could also teach academic or military-related subjects at a college-level military academy like West Point. Another option is a position as a drill sergeant at an Army base, where you would be responsible for training new recruits.

Your graduated pay rate is dependent on your years of experience in your field and on your rank if you are enlisted. Read the following chart to explore your career options as an educator for the Army.

Drill SergeantDepartment of Defense (DOD) TeacherJROTC and ROTC Instructor
Degree RequiredHigh school diploma or equivalent, Non-Commissioned OfficerBachelor's, with 18 hours of education coursesBachelor's, with 20 years of active duty (serving last year as an officer)
Training RequiredGraduated training mimicking Basic Combat TrainingStudent teaching experience, competency testingTeaching experience preferred
Key SkillsPhysical and mental shape, combat skills, survival skillsMust meet physical standardsMust pass army physical standards test and drug screenings
Salary Schedule E5 and up payrate, $20,000 annual bonus to those eligible*GS payrate schedule**Basic pay + Minimum salary provided by the school - Gross retirement pay***

Sources: *The Army Reserve, **The Department of Defense Education Activity Salary Schedules, ***The Defense Finance and Accounting Service

What Are the Different Job Titles of a Teacher for the Army?

As a teacher for the Army, you may work in elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities or on an Army base. Teaching positions may be offered through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program or Junior ROTC (JROTC) program. The Army may have openings at bases teaching new recruits as a drill instructor. You may also find employment with the Department of Defense (DoD), working with children of enlisted soldiers. There are also positions for teachers in military schools such as West Point Military Academy.

JROTC and ROTC Positions

JROTC programs are offered at some public high schools, at military schools and at some boarding schools. Courses and requirements emphasize leadership, physical fitness, citizenship and military disciplines. Students may choose to enter the full-fledged ROTC program after graduation from high school. Each unit of the JROTC has a Senior Army Instructor (SAI) and an Army Instructor (AI); these instructors are often retired military personnel.

As an SAI, you would manage the JROTC program and act as the instructor in the classroom. You'd be responsible for enrollment and student counseling, and would manage extracurricular activities and serve as the liaison between the school and the Army. If you work as an AI, you'll support the SAI, teaching in the classroom and assisting with other tasks as needed.

In the ROTC program, you would focus on teaching military science courses. As with the JROTC, program instructors are designated as senior instructor. Most ROTC programs are found at public colleges and universities. The goal of the ROTC program is to prepare students to become an officer in the Army while allowing them to complete their college education.

Drill Sergeant Positions

On the Army base, you may work as a drill sergeant, teaching basic training to new recruits. You'd help recruits get into the physical and mental shape required by the Army. Basic training also prepares recruits for combat duties by teaching survival and combat skills. Other skills you may teach recruits include how to make a bed, the proper way to dress and how to march.

DoD Positions

Through the Department of Defense, you may work at a school for military children or children of DoD employees located overseas in areas where personnel are stationed. Teaching positions are available from kindergarten through the 12th grade. In a DoD teaching position, you may teach a specific grade level or a subject. You create lesson plans, administer tests and monitor student progress. It is also your job to inform parents about their child's progress and follow school policies.

Military School Positions

Military schools offer positions for civilians and military personnel. Job titles may include tactical noncommissioned officers, professors or instructors. You may teach academic, military or physical education programs.

What Are the Requirements for Such Positions?

The type of education, military experience or training you need is determined by the Army, DoD or the school at which you would be teaching.

JROTC and ROTC Requirements

According to the U.S. Army Junior ROTC website, you must have at least a bachelor's degree for an SAI position in the JROTC ( You must also be retired, have at least 20 years active duty experience and have been an officer for at least the final year of your active duty. Your retirement must not have been more than three years prior to applying to be an SAI. If you are not retired, you must be retiring in no more than 12 months. It is preferred you have teaching experience, and some schools may require you to have a license to teach high school.

To be an AI, you need a high school diploma and must commit to earning an associate degree within five years. You need to be a retired non-commission officer for less than three years with 20 years experience of active duty. It is also preferred you have some teaching experience.

As a senior instructor in a ROTC program, you need to be an officer in the Army with at least a bachelor's degree. You must meet the military service requirements, have experience as an instructor, pass the army physical fitness test and pass drug screenings. To be an instructor you need to meet the same requirements, except you do not need a bachelor's degree. Instead, you'll need an associate degree or experience in the ROTC program.

Drill Sergeant Requirements

To attend drill sergeant school you must be chosen, appointed or have your application accepted. In school, you undergo training similar to basic training. Training is structured to ensure you are tested on what you learn right away; each class builds upon the previous classes to turn you into an officer ready to teach recruits how to become a solider.

DoD Requirements

To qualify for a teaching position, the Department of Defense Education Activity states that you must hold a bachelor's degree with 18 hours of education courses, meet physical standards, have student teaching experience and pass competency testing ( You must be willing to relocate to a foreign country. Certification or licensing may be required.

Military School Requirements

Positions at a military school may require at least a bachelor's degree, and some positions may require a master's or doctorate degree. If you are an Army officer, you might be assigned to teach at a military school and not need a degree.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to get a job in the military, there are a wide range of options to choose from. For instance, you could enlist to become a construction personnel worker, which involves repairing buildings and other structures, or an information technology specialist, which focuses on the management of computers and network systems. All enlisted members must complete military training programs. Alternatively, if you are interested in teaching, you could become a high school teacher in a public school. High school teachers offer instruction in a particular subject, such as history of biology, and supervise students in the classroom and in other school settings. To work in a public school, you need to have a bachelor's degree and pass a licensure exam.

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