Competition for flying slots, better known as rated slots, is based on merit and is very competitive. The Air Force seeks the highest-qualified applicants for Pilot, Combat Systems Operator (Navigator), and Air Battle Manager career fields. A selection board at AFROTC Headquarters — not at local detachments — determines rated positions.
Order of Merit Criteria
Selection for a rated position 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) results:
- 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 (six months apart) with the most recent score being used toward the PCSM score.
- Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS) score: Consists of five subtests that measure psychomotor skills, cognitive aptitude, and personality traits.
- Total flying hours: Flying hours contribute to the overall PCSM score. While helpful, it is not necessary to have flight hours to get a rated position.
- Field Training (FT) results: Cadets train and are selected for 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 the sophomore and the junior year using a standard four-week or extended five-week program.
- Commander's ranking: The detachment commander evaluates cadets based on the "whole person" concept and ranks them in relation to their peers. Overall officership potential is determined based on, but not limited to, a cadet's maturity, judgment, and overall performance in the cadet corps.
NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, academic major is not a factor for rated selection. For example, a cadet interested in a rated slot and majoring in Aeronautical Science or Aerospace Engineering is not given higher consideration over a cadet majoring in Psychology.