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Naval Careers

naval reserve officers' training corps (nrotc)

Boston College U.S. Navy and Marine Officers are some of the most well-respected men and women who serve our country. Superior benefits and excellent credentials are just a few enticements for becoming an officer. If you’re a high school student thinking about attending Boston College or a current college freshman or sophomore with leadership skills and determination, you may be eligible to join the NROTC program and be commissioned into the Navy or Marines following graduation.

The Navy and Marine Corps offers careers that match the talents and interests of just about everyone. And as long as you’re in the Navy or Marines, you’ll get top-notch training, exceptional benefits, and the experience of a lifetime.

Here you can read about the many career fields available following commissioning.



Navy aviation pins


Job Description

The Navy offers some of the world’s most advanced and comprehensive training in the field of aviation. Navy pilots and Naval Flight Officers (NFOS) are part of this adrenaline-seeking team which maintains and operates more than 6,000 aircraft. If you’re a physically fit individual who excels academically and possesses leadership qualities and a love of aircraft and flying, join one of our country’s most powerful aviation forces as a Navy Aviation Officer.

Earn While You Learn

Aviation Officers receive some of the most rigorous and prestigious training the Navy has to offer. The Aviation Officer Program has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the world. Following your initial flying tour, attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, is one possibility that allows you to earn a master’s or doctoral degree while being paid full-time as an Officer in the Navy.

Special Pay/Bonuses

Naval Aviation Officers (Pilots and NFOs) receive aviation career incentive pay in addition to their regular salary. Student Aviation Officers receive $125 per month flight pay during flight training. As an Aviation Officer your monthly flight pay depends on your time in service and increases by hundreds of dollars within a few years to the current maximum of $840 per month. In addition, you may be eligible for continuation bonuses at the end of your initial commitment.

Skills and Training

The U.S. Navy offers the world’s most advanced and comprehensive aviation training to individuals who demonstrate academic and physical aptitude and a potential for leadership and responsibility.

All Officers entering aviation programs also complete a six-week air indoctrination course at Naval Aviation Schools Command, also in Pensacola. Prospective pilots and NFOs then attend primary flight training.

Upon completion of primary flight training, pilots and NFOs request an aircraft pipeline and enter the intermediate phase of flight training, which builds upon the prerequisites of basic flight and navigation training. Advanced naval flight training is tailored for mission specifics and upon completion, both pilots and NFOs are awarded their wings of gold and report to their respective Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) for training in their specific aircraft.

Career Outlook

Navy pilots fly the most sophisticated combat and transport aircraft in the world. The flight hours, precision, and flight expertise you will gain as an Aviation Officer will undoubtedly afford you a prestigious career in the Navy or in the civilian sector working for a major airline, as a private aircraft operator or as a pilot or aircraft maintainer for corporations or government agencies.



As a Navy pilot you’ll fly from land bases and ships, often at a moment’s notice, to perform missions across the globe. Pilots can fly in a number of Navy aircraft including jet, helicopter, turbo-propeller, and other tactical aircraft. While training as a pilot you will have the opportunity to request the training pipeline you would like to pursue upon completion of primary flight training. During advanced flight training you will learn skills specific to your aircraft such as air-to-air combat, bombing, search and rescue, aircraft carrier qualifications, over-water navigation, and low-level flying.

Variety is the order of the day as a helicopter pilot. You’ll have the opportunity to fly different missions from the decks of several types of Navy ships, with such missions as anti-submarine warfare or tracking potential enemies. Helicopter pilots search for underwater mines, fly vertical replenishment missions, and conduct emergency search and rescue missions.

As a turbo-prop pilot you may fly a multi-engine E-2C Hawkeye early-warning aircraft on a radar-surveillance warfare mission from either a carrier or shore station. Turbo-prop pilots conduct some of the Navy’s most important missions including tracking submarines, surveillance, and collecting photographic intelligence.

Pilots have an eight-year commitment starting the day they earn their wings.


Naval Flight Officer

Imagine the skills and concentration needed to track a submarine while flying just 200 feet above stormy seas. Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) are the key to successful mission accomplishment. A select group of individuals have the combination of talent and dedication it takes to be an NFO. NFOs receive specialized training on the advanced tactical systems and complex communications systems found in Navy aircraft. You’ll study aerodynamics, aircraft engine systems, meteorology, navigation, flight planning, and aircraft safety. NFOs train and specialize in specific aircraft including:

  • Strike: EA-6B Prowler electronic countermeasures aircraft
  • Strike Fighter: F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet jet fighters
  • Advanced Radar Navigation and Airborne Early Warning System: E-2C Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft
  • Advanced Navigation: P-3C Orion antisubmarine aircraft

NFOs have a seven-year commitment after earning their wings.


Surface Warfare Officer pin

Surface Warfare Officer

Job Description

While the U.S. Navy has the most technically and tactically advanced defense and war-fighting capabilities on land, in the air, and under the sea, the mainstay of the force is the vast fleet of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, dock landing ships, and other surface vessels. These ships and their crews are commanded and managed by an elite group of ship drivers and ship fighters – the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officers. If you’re up for the challenge of inspiring a ship’s crew and being at the helm of million-dollar high-tech equipment, accelerate your life as a Surface Warfare Officer.

What Will You Do?

Surface Warfare Officers are involved in virtually every aspect of Navy missions. Antisubmarine warfare, anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, land attack, theatre air missile defense, support for Marine Corps, and Navy Special Warfare (SEAL), missions, communications, damage control, and shipboard management all rely on the knowledge and expertise of Officers in the Surface Warfare community. During a sea tour, Surface Warfare Officers may be in charge of any number of shipboard operations and activities and may work with or within the following forces:

  • Aircraft Carrier Forces: Provide and coordinate air defense from conventional and nuclear-powered carriers;
  • Cruiser-Destroyer Forces: Provide ship attack and defense measures with a wide array of missile and fire power capabilities providing anti-air, submarine, and surface warfare support;
  • Amphibious Forces: Embark and transport vehicles, cargo, and troops for amphibious assault operations
  • Combat-Logistics Forces: Provide combatant ships with fuel, ammunition, food and supplies, and provide repair, maintenance, and rescue capabilities through fleet support ships;
  • Mine Warfare Forces: Detect, identify, and neutralize threats to maritime forces from hostile use of mines.

Shore duty may involve a tour-of-duty at the Pentagon, a student assignment at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, or command and management positions at shore bases and stations across the globe.

Earn While You Learn

As a Navy Officer, education and training is an integral and ongoing part of your career. You will likely have the opportunity to earn advanced degrees. You can also take advantage of the Navy’s Tuition Assistance Program, which pays a percentage of accredited college courses and programs. If you become a Surface Warfare Officer, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California is also an attractive tour-of-duty option, which allows you to earn a master’s or doctorate degree.

Special Pay/Bonuses

Following three years of duty at sea, Surface Warfare Officers earn additional sea pay. Upon selection to department head, Surface Warfare Officers can earn up to $50,000 in bonuses for signing on an additional five-year-split (two different ships) sea tour as a department head.

Skills and Training

There are a few ways to become a Navy Officer. Enrolling in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) or the U.S. Naval Academy are two paths toward gaining a commission. Other prospective Officers attend Officer Candidate School (OCS), a 12-week Navy orientation school in Newport, Rhode Island. OCS prepares you for the roles and responsibilities expected of and afforded to U.S. Navy Officers through academic and military courses and physical fitness training. Course subjects include Navy operations, orientation and administration, Navy history, strategic deterrence and sea control, shipboard management, combat systems, ship control, and surface ship fundamentals.

Your initial sea tour lasts a total of 27 months, including time at sea and in port. The ship will have an organized Surface Warfare Officer training program that helps you complete Personnel Qualifications Standards (PQSs) and qualify as a Surface Warfare Officer. Your initial duty will most likely be as a Division Officer in operations, engineering, combat systems, or deck departments.

Career Outlook

Training as a Surface Warfare Officer directly transfers to civilian careers in executive-level management as well as many technology and high-tech specialty systems. Each year a select few candidates for the Surface Warfare program are offered a chance to specialize in Information Technology (IT), Oceanography, or Engineering Duty Officer (EDO). If you have skills or interest in these fields, you may qualify for these exciting careers.


Submarine Officer pin

Submarine Officer

Job Description

Submarine Officers command, manage, and operate the Fleet’s attack, ballistic missile, and guided missile submarines that patrol the world’s oceans, monitoring hostile enemy actions, intercepting electronic communications, and gathering information. These submarines are the most important deterrents the United States has at its disposal. Submarine Officers have the immense task of ensuring that all systems run smoothly, from atmosphere control and nuclear propulsion systems to fire control and weapons systems. A small group of disciplined and committed Officers are in charge of an entire crew and some of the most technologically advanced equipment in the world. If you possess the exacting standards necessary to lead a submarine crew and operate multimillion-dollar equipment, accelerate your life as a Submarine Officer.

What Will You Do?

Submarines, their Officers, and their crews are heavily relied upon for antisubmarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, land attack, strategic deterrence, and landing Special Warfare forces, to name but a few of the many exciting missions. Standards for submariners are very high, and operations are often covert and classified. During a sea tour, Submarine Officers may be in charge of any number of tasks, including the safe operation of the nuclear reactor; maintaining the ship’s torpedoes, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and sonar; charting the ship’s position; and operating communications and intelligence equipment. As a Submarine Officer you will be specially trained in the nuclear field and assigned to a nuclear-powered attack submarine, fleet ballistic missile submarine, or guided missile submarine.

  • Attack Submarines: Designed to pursue and attack enemy surface ships and submarines. They are the most effective anti-submarine warfare tool available to counter enemy diesel- and nuclear-powered submarines. They also conduct many other missions, such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
  • Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines: These submarines are almost two football fields long and carry long-range missiles. With their nuclear reactors and stealth, they are always ready should a situation arise needing their firepower.
  • Guided Missile Submarines: High-payload submarines armed with tactical missiles and the ability to employ Special Operations Forces in support of Naval and joint operations.

Skills and Training

After completion of the NROTC program, Submarine Officers then begin training at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC) in Charleston, South Carolina. This 24-week course helps students understand the complex nature of nuclear propulsion through a broad background on theory and operations mechanics. Once you’ve successfully completed NNPTC, you’ll begin training at a Nuclear Power Training Unit for real-life work on an actual operating reactor. Nuclear-Trained Submarine Officers then attend the Submarine Officer Basic Course, a 12-week course that will familiarize you with submarine safety and operations and all of the necessary aspects of submarine life as an Officer. On your first submarine you’ll work at all junior watch stations and eventually assume the role of Officer of the Deck, responsible for the entire submarine.

Earn While You Learn

The Navy provides the most comprehensive training available in the nuclear field. Nuclear training includes college-level classes in physics, chemistry, mathematics, electrical engineering, and thermodynamics. As a Submarine Officer, nuclear engineering training is available in nuclear power plant design, construction, instrumentation, and operation. The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, is also an attractive tour-of-duty option, which allows you to earn a master’s or doctoral degree while being paid full-time as an Officer in the Navy.

Special Pay/Bonuses

As a nuclear-trained Officer you’ll benefit from some of the most rigorous training the Navy has to offer. Your hard work is not only rewarded with an excellent salary, but you’ll also receive generous bonuses. Submariners also earn their own special pay because of the unique conditions of their service.


Active duty obligation for NROTC graduates is five years. An additional year of active duty obligation is incurred due to naval nuclear propulsion training IAW MILPERSMAN 1520-050.

Career Outlook

Training as a Submarine Officer directly translates to civilian careers in executive-level management, as well as the technology industry and high-tech specialty systems. The specialized knowledge and expertise you could gain through Navy nuclear training will provide you with a skill set that is sought after worldwide. You will gain important insights from your international travels which will be invaluable to employers in the private sector.


Marine Officer's pin

Marine Officer

A second lieutenant’s career begins with his or her primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Every specialty demands mature, responsible leadership.

Though officers indicate their preferences, MOSs are assigned based on individual performance and the needs of the Marine Corps. Your major in college does not determine your MOS.





Job Description

Gain the recognition you deserve as a nursing professional—and unprecedented respect. In the Navy Nurse Corps, provide high-quality nursing care for Sailors, Marines, and service members—and their families—wherever duty calls. Doing everything a typical nurse would do:

  • Check vitals
  • Treat wounds
  • Manage triage
  • Lift spirits, restore hope, and mentor others

Then step outside of your comfort zone. That could mean taking part in humanitarian relief efforts as well as outreach programs in this country and around the world. Collaborating with physicians, surgeons, cardiologists, and fellow nurses as colleagues and equals and developing the leadership skills that will set you apart in the fleet.

As a Navy Nurse you’ll elevate your credentials and set the standard as you:

  • Utilize some of the most advanced technology on the planet
  • Work at the best military nursing facilities on shore, at sea and in the field
  • Team with top health-care professionals on the highly respected Navy Health Care team

Nursing Specialties

Navy Nursing offers an amazing scope of career opportunities. Not to mention the chance to mentor junior team members and potentially teach others.

Navy Nurses can focus on any of more than a dozen sought-after practice areas including:

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Critical Care
  • Emergency Room/Trauma Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Perioperative
  • Nursing Psychiatry
  • Recovery Room/Post-Anesthesia Care
  • Specialty Surgery

The Nurse Option is open to midshipmen at Boston College