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Cadet Program

Developing America’s Aerospace Leaders of Tomorrow

The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is a training curriculum which prepares youth members to become leaders in their community.

Cadets may join upon reaching their 12th birthday up through the age of 19. Those who join before turning 19 may elect to stay in the program until they turn 21. Individuals may not join the Cadet Program once they have reached their 19th birthday.


Training Activities

The squadron's Cadet Detachment (or C-DET) serves as the basis for cadet training and education, to include coursework on aerospace education, leadership and character development, and a variety of emergency management and field operations skills such as map reading, land navigation, and first aid, among others.

Cadets are required to conduct online testing on a monthly cycle, consisting of short quizzes (approximately 25-30 questions) in order to enhance their knowledge of cadet training principles and advance in the program. More senior cadets may be required to complete additional coursework such as writing short essays as part of the curriculum. As cadets advance, they may take on a variety of jobs within the Cadet Detachment which further develops their roles and responsibilities as staff members such as command level positions and operations leaders.

Cadets are also required to meet physical fitness standards specified for each cadet’s age, gender, and level of advancement within the program. Cadets may only opt out of fitness testing with a medical waiver. Some activities may require a level of physical performance depending on the nature of the activity.

Training meetings are held weekly with attendance expected of each cadet each week unless an absence is excused.


Cadet Opportunities

Civil Air Patrol cadets may elect to participate in a number of activities outside of the scope of weekly meetings. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Basic training encampment (week-long; held each summer)

  • Encampment staff duty (requires completion of Basic encampment)

  • National Cadet Service Academies

  • Field training exercises and training camps

  • Cadet staff schools

  • Community service projects

  • Military ceremonies and color guard

  • Cadet orientation flights (powered and non-powered/glider)


Military Cooperation

The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is an affiliate of the U.S. Air Force through funding and training opportunities only. Cadets are not required to enter into any military service upon graduation from high school.

Many cadets, however, find Civil Air Patrol as guidance to pursuing a civilian or military career, whether attending college, a military service academy, or entering the workforce.


Click here for more information on How to Join as a Cadet.


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