Air Force Junior ROTC Frequently Asked Questions (Instructors)

  • Published
  • Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Maxwell AFB, AL

1.  What is the Air Force Junior ROTC program?
Air Force Junior ROTC is not a recruiting program for the military.  Air Force Junior ROTC exists only to instill (in high school students, grades 9-12) the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility through education and mentoring.  The Air Force Junior ROTC program is a 3 to 4-year course of military-based instruction (academics and leadership development requirements).  The curriculum includes an introduction to aviation history, aviation and space science, college and career readiness, global studies, practical leadership, and health and wellness.

2. What is the mission of the Air Force Junior ROTC program?
The mission of the Air Force Junior ROTC program is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. More specifically, the program is designed to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship, promote community service, instill responsibility, character and self-discipline, and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals. 

3.  Who are the instructors in this course?
Instructors are all retired members of the United States Air Force.  Normally, one retired officer and one retired enlisted are employed by the school at each program. The officer is designated as the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor (SASI), and the enlisted as the Aerospace Science Instructor (ASI).   Additional enlisted instructors are authorized if the cadet enrollment exceeds 151.  While Air Force Junior ROTC instructors are retired military members, they continue to wear their Air Force uniform (at their retired grade) in the performance of their duties. As such, instructors are required to meet and maintain Air Force uniform wear, grooming and weight standards during their tenure as instructors.

4.  Who may apply for the SASI position?
Officers (Major thru Colonel) who meet the following qualifications may apply: Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution; permanently retired less than 5 years from the effective date of employment; meet DODI/AFJROTC weight/body fat standards (26% for males/36% females), possess high standards of military bearing, appearance and moral character. Officers still on active duty may apply when within 9 months of an approved retirement date.  Desirable prerequisites: Master’s degree, teaching experience, command experience, and experience working with youth groups. Although AFJROTC provides certification training for applicants selected to teach AFJROTC, some schools may require instructors to be state-certified as a high school teacher or willing to work toward and achieve certification within a prescribed period.

5.  Who may apply for the ASI position?
Noncommissioned Officers (NCO’s) in the grades of TSgt thru CMSgt who meet the following prerequisites may apply: Hold a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, permanently retired 5 years or less from the effective date of employment, meet DODI/AFJROTCI weight/body fat standards (26% for males/36% for females), possess high standards of military bearing, appearance, and moral character.  NCOs still on active duty may apply when within 9 months of an approved retirement date. Desirable qualifications: experience in supply, administration, drill and ceremonies, classroom teaching, and working with youth groups. 

6.  Are retired Guard/Reservists eligible for SASI or ASI positions?

Yes!  Effective under the FY 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), “Gray-Area” Guard and Reserve members who retire with a minimum of 20 “good years of service," but ineligible to draw their military retirement until age 60, may apply and would be subject to a Minimum Instructor Pay (MIP) formula established by AFJROTC.  A Gray Area retiree's MIP may not exceed the MIP of a retired active duty member of the same grade IAW Title 10, United States Code, Section 2031(3)(1)(A) and (B). Once drawing retired pay, the calculation remains the same, in that the active duty calculation stills applies

7.  What is the SASI’s job?
The SASI manages the entire program.  Although they spend much of their time in the classroom, after school co-curricular activities (example: drill team practice and rocket club) are a fundamental part of the job.  Additionally, enrollment activities, such as briefings to school administrators, faculty, and community organizations to explain the program and elicit support, counseling of cadets and other students, and briefings to students from supporting junior high schools are key job elements.  The SASI must be involved in community relations, liaising with other Air Force and civilian agencies in the aerospace field, unit supply or administrative functions, career and performance counseling, and an extensive extracurricular program, such as a military ball, parent-cadet banquet, inter-JROTC sports competitions, cadet news articles, drill team, honor guard, parades, flag raising, retreat ceremonies, presentation of awards, and fundraising activities for the unit or charitable institutions. As classroom teachers, they will typically be required to teach five out of six periods in the school day.  They wear their Air Force uniform while performing AFJROTC duties. Although the Air Force provides significant guidance for managing the program, self-direction, initiative, and self-reliance are essential traits of the SASI. For further information, refer to AFJROTCI 36-2010, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

8.  What is the ASI’s job?
In the context of Air Force Junior ROTC program operations, the ASI is supervised by the SASI. In most units, they are responsible for the Leadership Education portion of the curriculum. This includes drill and ceremonies, principles of leadership and management, and communication skills. They assist the SASI in teaching Aerospace Science, particularly those areas where they have special competence because of their experience and training. They may give or grade tests, give career and performance counseling, and supervise cadet corps activities. They are also involved in the enrollment and co-curricular activities described in question 7. Typically, the ASIs are appointed Military Property Custodians and are responsible for uniforms and equipment and for other administrative matters. They wear their Air Force uniform while performing Air Force Junior ROTC duties. The instructors, although not on active duty, are still working in and managing a military-type unit. The same NCO-officer, subordinate-supervisor relationship which existed on active duty must be maintained in the Air Force Junior ROTC unit.  Only those NCOs who can support the objectives of Air Force Junior ROTC and give their full loyalty, support, and cooperation to the SASI in achieving goals should apply. For further information, refer to AFJROTCI 36-2010, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

9.  For whom do the instructors work?
Instructors are employees of the school but are certified to teach Air Force Junior ROTC by the Air Force.  Instructors are responsible to both the school authorities and Air Force Junior ROTC for the conduct of the program.  The SASI works for the principal and is the direct supervisor of the ASI (in the context all things Air Force Junior ROTC). The school and each instructor mutually agree on the length of the instructor’s contract (not less than 10 months per year).  Even though the instructor’s contract is with the school, the Air Force reserves the right to remove instructors from the program through decertification action if their performance or conduct is found to be unsatisfactory.

10.  May the instructors teach non-Air Force Junior ROTC subjects, such as math or social studies?
No. Air Force Junior ROTC instructors perform only those duties connected with the instruction, operation, and administration of the AFJROTC program.  Individuals employed as Air Force Junior ROTC instructors will not perform duties or teach classes in any discipline other than AFJROTC-directed curriculum.  However, this provision is not intended to preclude Air Force Junior ROTC instructors from serving on committees or performing other routine duties that are rotated regularly among other teachers in the school.

11.  What is the relationship of the instructors to other members of the faculty?
The SASI and ASI are members of the faculty and teach an integral part of the school’s curriculum. They are subject to the many of the same assignments and duties as other teachers (such as lunchroom monitor) and usually receive the same benefits of sick leave, holidays, and vacations as do the other teachers.  Some states/school districts may require the SASI and ASI to be certified as high school teachers above and beyond the basic Air Force Junior ROTC instructor certification.  Air Force Junior ROTC recommends that the SASI and ASI work toward those certifications.  In some states, the ASI is permitted to teach military subjects without certification and may serve as a classroom assistant without being teacher certified by the state.  See the web page called “JROTC Certifications by State.”

12. What pay does the instructor receive?
Instructors receive, at a minimum, pay equal to the difference between active duty retired pay (this calculation also applies to retired ANG/AFRES members) and the total compensation they would receive if ordered to active duty.  Active duty pay includes base pay, housing allowance (based on the ZIP code of the employing school), subsistence allowance, clothing allowance (NCOs), and COLA, if applicable.  This is computed on a monthly basis, and then multiplied by the length of the contract.  

For example: Assume your total active duty compensation to be $7,000 and your retired pay (or active duty equivalent retired pay for ANG/AFRES retirees) to be $3,000 monthly:
Pay & Allowances                               $7,000
Less Retired Pay                             -  $3,000
Minimum Pay from School              =  $4,000 (per month of contract length)

Schools may not pay less than the minimum (prescribed by Title 10, USC, Section 2031) but may pay above the minimum.  Any amount above the minimum is subject to negotiation between the instructor and the school.  The Air Force reimburses the school one-half of the minimum only, each month, for 10 months only.  Each active duty pay raise will result in an increase of the minimum pay from the school.  Conversely, each cost-of-living raise in retired pay could result in a decrease of the minimum pay.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, AFJROTC instructors are not, while so employed, considered to be on active duty or inactive duty training for any purpose.  Only the pay is computed as though you were on active duty.  Note: MIP does not have to be met while an instructor is on Terminal Leave.
NOTE:  Gray-Area Guard and Reserve applicants--please refer to FAQ #6 and the Instructor Pay web page.

13.  Will my retired pay and school pay equal my gross monthly active duty salary?
For active duty retirees, yes.  For ANG/AFRES members, the calculation is based on an active duty retirement amount.  Keep in mind that any “allowances,” such as the housing allowance, are not taxable on active duty.  However, as an AFJROTC instructor, "allowance" calculations are considered part of the gross pay and are fully taxable.

14.  What is the length of the contract?
The MINIMUM instructor employment contract length is 10 months each school year.  However, the lengths of contracts vary after that. The school’s budget, school policy, and individual negotiating skill affect longer contract lengths. Some schools cannot afford to offer an 11 or 12-month contract.  Schools granting 11 or 12-month contracts must insure that the instructors will be performing duties in direct support of AFJROTC throughout the duration of the contract. 

15.  Will the school or the Air Force reimburse me for interview or moving costs?
ONLY if the position was advertised that way by AFJROTC.  There is a specific process that dictates which vacancies have that benefit offered.  If it is not advertised that way, it is not being offered. Experienced AFJROTC instructors selected for overseas positions in Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) are handled by DoDDS rules, which are normally funded PCS-type moves.  (NOTE: If you are just retiring, you may be entitled to a paid move provided by the Air Force.  You must check with your local TMO to determine if you are eligible).

16.  Are regular officers affected by dual compensation laws?

17.  What does the Air Force furnish the AFJROTC units?
The Air Force supplies curriculum materials such as instructor guides, textbooks, training aids, lesson plans, uniforms for students, some training equipment, limited funding (O&M and MILPER), and one-half of an instructor’s minimum instructor pay (MIP) calculation (as a reimbursement to the school).

18.  What does the school furnish?
The school furnishes 100% of each instructor's salary (reimbursed 50% of MIP by the Air Force in arrears), facilities for classroom instruction, equipment and uniform storage, a drill area, and the same supervision, support, and equipment normally provided other teachers and classes.

19.  Where are the AFJROTC units located?
Air Force Junior ROTC operates in more than 870 schools in 49 states, 12 Department of Defense Dependent School (DoDDS), and 2 in Guam. Use this locator to find units:

20.  Who is responsible for the success of the Air Force Junior ROTC program?
The success of the program in any school depends primarily on the instructor team, but all faculty and school administrators have an important role.  For instructors, the differences in skill, experience, and grade enable each instructor to relate to the cadets in a different way and are thus, complimentary.  A team effort is required for a successful program, and is key in determining whether the program will attract the required number and quality of students. Therefore, a collaborative effort is imperative to the viability of the program and instructor tenure.

21.  How are applicants evaluated?
Various factors, including performance report history and an interview conducted by a current SASI.  All factors are considered to approve or disapprove an application (see Instructor Application web page). 

22.  How does the hiring process work?
Instructor vacancies are posted on the AFJROTC website (see question 23 for more detail).  Approved applicants may apply for vacancies by emailing their preferences to Holm Center/JRI (  Approved applicants are referred to schools of their choice.  School officials interview nominees and select the instructor they feel fits best into their school construct.  Air Force Junior ROTC has no role in the interview or actual hiring of an instructor, other than approving applicants and referring qualified candidates to the school.

23.  How will I find out about available positions?
Instructor vacancies are posted on the AFJROTC website.  From the main page, find the accordion menu on the right-hand side bar and open the 'Instructors' section, then select the 'Current Instructor Vacancies' link.  The links at the bottom will open up a PDF file that lists the most current vacancy listings.  The vacancy list is updated at least once per week. All known vacancies are posted as soon as we know about them.

24.  What are my chances for selection?
It is up to you, your interview skills and what you may bring to the table as an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor.  Each school chooses who they want from the list of candidates sent.

25.  When should I apply?
If you are already retired, you should apply immediately.  If not, with verification from AFPC (AD) or ARPC (ANG/AFRES) that your retirement application has been APPROVED, an application can be started within 9 months of your approved retirement date.  However, we cannot finalize approval of any application until the actual, published retirement orders are provided.

26.  How long will my application be retained on file?
Approved applications are good for five years from the retirement date.  Waivers are based on needs of Air Force Junior ROTC.  Instructors who terminate employment and are eligible for reemployment consideration may remain as active applicants for five years after their date of termination.

27.  Will you return my records, resume, or other data I provide at the time of application?
No.  However, we only accept electronic documents, so this should not be an issue.

28.  What if I retired with Air Force or VA disability?
The fact of having retired with a disability is not an issue.  What matters is that you can fully perform the essential functions of an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor. You will complete an Occupational Screening Questionnaire telling us if you can perform the essential functions of an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor.  

29.  When will I be eligible for nomination to a position?
You are eligible for nomination when Holm Center/JRI has received all necessary items, processed and evaluated your application, and approved you as an applicant.

30. Why and what type of photo is required with my application?
A current, color full-length (head-to toe pose) .jpeg or PDF photo in Air Force short-sleeved or long-sleeved blue shirt and blue slacks is preferred.  If an Air Force short-sleeved or long-sleeved blue shirt and blue slacks is not readily available, civilian business attire is acceptable.  The photo does not need to be taken by a professional photographer.  Digital photo taken by family or friend is acceptable. No jackets, coats, or large, loose clothing, please. 

31.  As an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor, will my retirement status change?
Your retired status does not change.  You are not on active duty, and you are not in the active Air Force Reserves.  Although you teach aerospace science and are associated with the Air Force as an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor, you are a school employee.

60 West Maxwell Blvd., Bldg. 835
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112