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Competition for flight careers, better known as rated careers, is based on merit and is very competitive. The Air Force seeks the highest-qualified applicants for Pilot, Combat Systems Operator (CSO), Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RFA) Pilot and Air Battle Manager (ABM) career fields. A selection board at AFROTC Headquarters — not at local detachments — determines who is selected for rated careers.

Order of Merit Criteria

Selection for a rated career is based on a cadet's Order of Merit, which is determined by the following criteria:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Fitness Assessment (FA) results: Based on a 100-point scale and consisting of sit-ups, push-ups and a 1.5-mile run.
  • Pilot Candidate Scoring Method (PCSM) score:
    Composed of:
    • Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) Pilot score: A standardized, multiple-choice test similar to the SAT in format. AFOQTs are administered several times during the school year. Cadets may take the AFOQT twice (90 days apart). The highest scores from each attempt are recorded, called "super-scoring."
    • Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS) score: A computerized psychomotor, spatial agility and multi-tasking test battery used as a tool for pilot selection.
    • Total flying hours: Flying hours contribute to the overall PCSM score. While helpful, it is not necessary to have flight hours to compete for pilot selection.
  • Field Training (FT) results: Cadets pursuing a commission must be selected to attend FT. This is a mandatory program designed to develop leadership and discipline, and to determine the potential for entry into the Professional Officer Course. FT typically occurs between sophomore and junior years.
  • Commander's ranking: The detachment commander evaluates cadets based on the "whole person" concept and ranks them in relation to their peers. Overall performance and potential to succeed as a commissioned officer are assessed upon several factors, including their leadership, communication, critical thinking, judgment, decision-making, professionalism, character, initiative, attitude, discipline, courage and many other factors considered necessary traits of officers.

Note: Contrary to popular belief, academic major is not a factor for rated selection. For example, a cadet interested in a rated career and majoring in Aeronautical Science or Aerospace Engineering is not given higher consideration over a cadet majoring in Psychology. Additionally, pilot licenses or ratings are not included in the selection process. For more information, you may visit the Pilot Candidate Selection Method website.


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