Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC)

Beyond the Military: Creating Leaders

While Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is a military-regulated high school program, it is not just for students interested in serving in the military. In fact, the main purpose of JROTC is to provide high school students with citizenship and leadership development focusing on Essential Learning Skills (soft skills) necessary for today’s competitive workforce.  It is the largest character development program for youth in the world, with the mission to “motivate young people to be better citizens.”

Downey and Warren Students receiving a JROTC award
Students in formal uniform standing at attention on a football field

Building Character

The JROTC program helps teenagers gain character attributes, as well as leadership, life skills, and a sense of determination they can use to succeed in their education, career, and life ahead.

Students learn to…

  • act with integrity and personal accountability
  • lead others to succeed in a diverse and global workforce
  • become interested in civic and social concerns in the community, government, and society
  • make decisions that promote positive social, emotional, and physical health
  • graduate prepared to excel in post-secondary options and career pathways

Rewarding Opportunities & College Benefits

The JROTC program teaches skills that are useful for any student. Students gain character attributes that will serve them well in their future endeavors, even those not related to the military. Additionally, students have an opportunity to enhance college applications and benefit from scholarships.

JROTC students learn to…

Communicate effectively

Communicate effectively

Thinking critically and creatively

Think critically and creatively

Improving Physical Fitness

Improve Physical Fitness

Working as a team member

Work as a team member

Pursuing meaningful careers, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

Pursue meaningful careers in STEM

Options from the US Army & Transferrable Skills

While participating in JROTC carries no commitment to later serve in the military, students are exposed to the over 150 different careers the US Army and other branches of the military offer. Downey Unified’s JROTC programs are Army-sponsored; however, students desiring a career in the military may join any branch. Students who choose this career path enjoy increased rank and pay as compensation for their time in JROTC. All service members receive tuition assistance during their service and the GI Bill for college tuition upon separation.

“You could go into combat arms specialty. You could be a cyberwarrior.  You could train to be a lawyer. You could train to be a dog veterinarian. You can be a paratrooper that’s been trained in culinary arts,” said Gen. Gary Brito.

JROTC offers many opportunities in the STEM world with high-quality training to ensure that students have the training they need to perform well and contribute to the combat mission of the United States military. Many of those skills are transferable if a student should decide to get out after a couple of years, and many of those skills are built upon if they decide to stay in the military and advance from rank to rank through their professional military education, some of which may involve some higher-level education.

JROTC students Boot Camp with large tire
Students in army camouflage in a tug-of-war
JROTC students in uniform standing at attention

How to Enroll

To enroll in the JROTC program, contact your Academic Counselor for more information. Learn more about the program at your high school.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anybody enroll in the JROTC?

JROTC is open to all interested students who agree to comply with the standards of the program. It is a 4-year program, so ideally, first year students will begin their freshman year. However, students may begin the program at the Leadership Education and Training (LET) 1 level. Students are expected to maintain a 2.5 GPA to remain active in the program as well as participate in many of the community service events.

Who instructs JROTC?

The JROTC faculty is led by nearly 4,000 instructors who are retired from active duty, reserve duty, or National Guard Army service. Instructors are trained and qualified in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act 2007 to teach and mentor approximately 314,000 JROTC Cadets annually.

Is there any type of service obligation?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! There is no obligation of any kind for future service in the armed forces. We recognize that most students are not interested in entering the military after high school. There is no requirement to continue to higher levels of JROTC or ROTC in college.

Does JROTC help prepare for college?

JROTC course material is academically sound and enhances the college preparatory curriculum. JROTC is well represented in the ranks of the National Honor Society, National Merit Scholarship, and other academic and scholarship programs.

Do JROTC students wear uniforms?

Yes! All JROTC students wear a uniform for one full day each week. Additionally, many will wear the uniform for special events, color guard, and some competitions. Uniforms are provided free-of-charge by the Army. Students are expected to keep uniforms clean, wear them properly, and return them to the program at the end of the school year.

Do boys have to get a short haircut?

All students are expected to maintain a neat, clean, and well-groomed appearance, especially when in uniform. While there are minor allowances made for students who are “checking out” JROTC, students who wish to represent the school’s program in a leadership position, on a team, or at an important event must choose to maintain a grooming-level similar to that of persons in the military.

What activities are available for JROTC students?

JROTC offers a wide variety of activities to pique the interest of a broad spectrum of students. Notably, the color guard team, armed and unarmed drill teams, academic and leadership team, Raider team, cybersecurity team, and VEX robotics and drone teams in the future. JROTC also participates in community service activities for the school, the district, and the community. Annual Cadet Balls, awards ceremonies, and leadership camps also top the list of the multitude of activities. Students may choose to be part of the program command and staff since JROTC is a student-run program.

Can JROTC students participate in other activities like band or sports?

JROTC students are encouraged to participate in other school activities. They are not penalized when a game, tournament, concert, or play conflicts with one of the many JROTC events. There are a few mandatory events that are planned and announced well in advance. Students are expected to communicate any conflicts to the JROTC teacher and adult supervisor of the conflicting event to achieve a reasonable resolution.

Ready to Join the Downey Unified Family?