Likelihood of branching into an engineering-related field after AROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by ROTCparent, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Hi there. I was wondering if anyone can speak to the likelihood of an AROTC cadet branching into an engineering-related field upon graduation/Commissioning. My DS has a 4-year AROTC scholarship and he plans to study mechanical engineering and robotics. The college he plans to attend is highly specialized in engineering and STEM. He is very interested in the Army Core of Engineers or any Army engineering/STEM-related department. I'm having a hard time trying to get a sense of how many cadets are able to branch directly into those fields upon Commissioning, and whether or not it is something that is hard to get. Any info anyone can provide on this subject would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
     
  2. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    He can branch Engineer, but it's probably not the type of engineering he's thinking of - he could end up in a unit that does civil / construction engineering - vertical = buildings, horizontal = roads/airstrips. Or, he could also be sent to a unit that does route clearance, etc. There are no "pure" developmental engineering jobs such as he might find in the Air Force. You do not have to major in engineering in order to branch Engineera, but in past years they have shown a preference for cadets who do.

    With a good GPA, PT score and unit involvement he should not have a problem branching his choice.
     
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  3. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Thank you, that is very good to know. Do you know if there are many opportunities to branch into the Core of Engineers? (Maybe that is what you were talking about, I wasn't sure if you were talking about the Core of Engineers per se or engineering in general.) Also, you mention the Air Force -- would you say the Air Force is better a better ROTC program for cadets who want to do engineering/STEM-related work in their careers? I ask because my DS also has an Air Force ROTC scholarship (Type 7). He can use it at the school where he wants to go, but it will be good for only 3 years and only pay $18,000 per year since it is out of state -- versus the full tuition Army ROTC will pay at that same school. We've been debating whether Air Force ROTC would be that much better for engineering to make it worth it for DS to give up his full ride with AROTC (the school also pays full room and board for ROTC scholarship students, so it would truly be a full ride with his Army ROTC scholarship). Any insight you have as to Naval ROTC options with engineering would be appreciated as well (DS also has a 4-year NROTC scholarship, but the school he wants to go to doesn't take NROTC...ugh). Thanks again, really appreciate it.
     
  4. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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  5. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    To my knowledge, and I'm sure there are many people here more knowledgeable than I, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency, not to be confused with the Army Engineer branch. It is comprised mostly of civilian employees and focuses on infrastructure such as dams, flood control, etc. If he were to branch Engineer, he would go to EBOLC at Ft Leonard Wood, then on to his first assignment with an Engineer unit - again either horizontal, vertical, etc.

    Personally I think there are more opportunities for developmental engineering in the Air Force, but I have no knowledge of how easy it is to get that job. Someone else here can speak to that. Same with Navy - not a clue really.

    Looks like @AROTC-dad is on it!
     
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  6. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Thank you, good information. Appreciate it.
     
  7. HowstheCow

    HowstheCow Member

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    AROTC branching is based on: 1) needs of the Army and 2) OML. Do well in ROTC, maintain good GPA, rock the APFT and there is a decent chance to branch Corps of Engineers. The Army commissions more officers from ROTC than USMA or OCS so there will be slots to fill. Probably half of my Engineer Basic Course were ROTC grads (active duty, guard, and reserve)

    I spent my career as an Army Engineer officer, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is comprised of both the Engineer Regiment (the uniformed component) and the public engineering component also called USACE or COE as Jcc123 mentions. Both components are commanded by a single, dual-hatted 3-star general and fall under the Army and DoD. What makes the COE unique and likened to a federal agency is it's civil works mission which is generally funded directly through Appropriations from Congress and sometimes single line item appropriations from the President's budget and are separate from the DoD's budget for military construction on military bases worldwide.

    Engineer Districts (within COE/public works side) are commanded by Engineer Officers and have military personnel assigned as staff and project managers. COE also contains the 249th Prime Power Battalion, a troop-unit specially trained and equipped to provide rapid power generation and supply in national emergencies.

    A newly commissioned officer will serve their first several tours with troop units within the Regiment. There is a chance here to serve in construction units that do construction and have design teams within them but the type of engineering work performed is small scale as it is based on wartime construction which is temporary in nature, although there are opportunities to perform work on military installations. I had the chance to build steel barracks buildings, forward landing strips, and small structures stateside and build roads, bridges, a medical clinic and other structures overseas. Just don't expect to be a hard-core design engineer in troop units. More like a construction manager. After the advanced course and generally company command, there are opportunities for Advanced Civil Schooling and to branch out with a chance to serve in the COE as a project manager or at one of the research centers or labs as an engineer. One of my classmates is the Chief of the Army Structures lab. Another ROTC friend went on to be a nuclear type scientist with the Army. There are plenty of opportunities to be a "real" engineer or earn a PE license if one puts the effort forward.

    I will agree though, having worked with USAF (Prime Beef/Red Horse) and USN (Sea Bees) engineers, that they are much smaller in size and tend to "nuture" them more with a higher percentage of them having licenses....generally because they have more chances/likelihood of working in Public Works organizations and get much more exposure to the skills and projects more likened to what a civil engineer does.

    Long post but happy to chat via PM if you want/need more info. I have served in tactical units and USACE so have seen both sides of the fence.

    Essayons!
     
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  8. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent 5-Year Member

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    @HowstheCow Aren't there positions at Tank and Automotive Command - if they still call it that - for engineers as a Functional Area Officer assignment? The mechanical and robotics engineering degrees apply for those positions too. Officers with engineering degrees get some great Training with Industry (TWI) assignments too.

    I know officers with Chemical Engineering degrees have pathways that start out with platoons and company command moving to assignments with use of their degree too.
     
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  9. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Thank you, really appreciate you sharing your experiences. That is extremely helpful. I may have some additional questions, but wanted to say thanks.
     
  10. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

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    The Corps of Engineers is a good fit for a Civil Engineering major. If you are Mech E the Signal Corps, Ordinance branch or even Military Intelligence would be a better fit.

    Field Artillery or Armor branch might also be of interest to someone who likes math and solving technical problems.
     
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  11. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Clarksonarmy,
    That is very interesting and good to know. I think I understand why Corps of Engineers is a good fit for a Civil Engineering major, but I'm curious about what you say about Signal Corps, Ordinance, or even Military Intelligence being a better fit for Mech E's, and Field Artillery or Armor branch being of interest to cadets who like math and solving technical problems. Could you elaborate a little on that a little -- how Mech E skills mesh with those branches? Would you also say that Signal Corps, Ordinance, or even Military Intelligence are better for Mech E's than not just the Corps of Engineers, but also Engineering branch? In other words, when you mention Corps of Engineers, does that correspond to Engineering Branch as well, in terms of the skill set matches and types of projects involved in the work (i.e., it is mainly Civil Engineering-related)? Or does Engineering branch potentially involve a broader set of engineering-related tasks than the Core of Engineering? I wanted to get your impression on that because I know there are some differences between Engineering branch and Core of Engineers, its just hard to gauge the extent of it. Thanks!
     
  12. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    That all sounds very cool.
     
  13. gill0610

    gill0610 Member

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    DS is looking at environmental engineering. Curious as to what path that might lead to?
     
  14. HowstheCow

    HowstheCow Member

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    I tailored my post to civil engineers but understand the questions. An EE could do either USACE, Signal, or MI. An ME can also do either USACE or Ordnance Corps. Enviro Eng would be best in USACE since that is where the Army's Enviro center is located.

    Regardless...for the first 4-6 years, an officer will be with troop units leading Soldiers and learning. Can't say that enough....there are NCOs and Warrant Officers that have years of experience. A young officer needs to soak it all in like a sponge.

    After Company Command there are lots of opportunities to seek those skill specific jobs and functional areas that are more focused.
     
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  15. HowstheCow

    HowstheCow Member

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    To add some more...no matter what branch, you will use the analytical skills learned via STEM major to solve challenges and create solutions.
     
  16. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Very good to know, especially since AROTC (and AFROTC and NROTC) seem to favor STEM degrees -- good to know that the skills will be utilized, at least to some extent. A big part of what attracted both my DS's to ROTC is that they were/are both very involved in robotics and took a heavy STEM load in high school.
     
  17. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

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    The Corps of Engineers and "Engineer Branch" are the same thing. The mission of the corps at the tactical level is mobility, countermobility, survivability. That means roads, fighting positions, minefields...
    Signal Corps plans and executes communications. As a deployed signal plans officer in Afghanistan projects I worked on expanding the fiber network and designing the Joint Operations Center at Bagram, and expanding the Satellite and microwave communications network in Kabul.
    The Ordinance Branch is responsible for the maintenance of equipment. An understanding how equipment works and how to fix it would be right down a Mech Es alley. As an Armored Platoon Leader, supervising a group of soldiers responsible for maintaining and operating 4 complex machines (tanks) that include a big engine, a tracked system, and a high tech, computer controlled weapon system may be of interest to an engineer.

    I could go on, but I'll encourage you to Google "Army Officer Branches" and do some research.
     
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  18. ROTCparent

    ROTCparent Member

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    Very helpful, thanks.
     
  19. gill0610

    gill0610 Member

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    Thank you for all the information!