Military Training for Teens

Some teens need structure beyond what their parents can provide. The structured environment of military training might improve your teen’s behavior, and if he is considering joining the military after high school, it can give him a taste of military life 12. Such training can take place at a military school, through a cadet training program or in a training program conducted by the military.

Military Schools

Military high schools are typically private boarding schools that provide a heavy emphasis on discipline and teamwork within a military atmosphere. Students attend classes as they would in a typical school, but their learning environment is structured like military training, including uniforms and ranks 1. Because students live at military school throughout the school year, they have the opportunity to pursue structured learning without distractions that their normal home life might have 12. This type of schooling might help students who have behavioral problems or who wish to train for a military career after high school 12.

Cadet Training Programs

Organizations such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps and Civil Air Patrol are affiliated with the U.S. military, offering training programs in which teens get a taste of military life. Unlike military schools, these training programs do not take the place of a normal school curriculum. Instead, they train students on weekends or during school breaks, putting them through basic training or specialized training courses that mirror military training. For example, Civil Air Patrol units typically meet weekly and conduct special training activities on weekends and during the summer.

Junior ROTC

Many large high schools offer a Reserve Officer Training Corps program from at least one of the U.S. military branches. In these programs, teens train with instructors based at their school, attending normal classes with their fellow students but adding special classes that integrate traditional coursework with character development and financial education. Junior ROTC units also meet after school hours for special training activities, much like a club or sports team meets. Students wear uniforms and their instructors, employed by the local school, have military experience 1.

Military Commitment

Military schools and military training for teens do not typically carry any type of military commitment. For example, your teen is not required to join the military because he participates in a Junior ROTC program, though he might be more interested in joining the military because of his involvement in the program 4. To join any U.S. military service, your teen must have a high school degree, though a GED might be sufficient 12. Military services can accept 17-year-olds who have graduated, but 17-year-olds must have parental consent to enlist.

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