Frequently Asked Questions for Teens

How old do I have to be to join?
You can join CAP as a cadet if you are at least 12 years old and before your 19th birthday. Cadets can stay in the program until they turn 21 as long as they have not entered active duty and are enrolled in a school.

Am I expected to join the military?
No, you do not have to join the military, but many choose to do so. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3) if they choose to enlist. The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP. But no matter what career you choose, the skills you learn in CAP will be invaluable.

How much does it cost for membership?

Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the membership dues table and look for Maryland.

Note: Cadets receive their first blue Air Force style uniform at no cost and will receive a new member kit with learning materials. Additional activities may have fees to cover lodging and meals.

How much time will I have to give each week?
To get the most out of the cadet program you should participate regularly. Like any other activity, you’ll get out of CAP only what you put into it. Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 1/2 hours, and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer.

Can I learn how to fly?
Yes! You will have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane and possibly a military aircraft. In Maryland Wing, cadets even have the opportunity to attend ground school, flight school and glider training.

Does CAP offer any scholarships?
Yes. CAP offers money for college and for flight training. See our scholarships page for details. In addition, participation in Civil Air Patrol typically makes a teen more attractive to the U.S. military academies and to universities offering ROTC scholarships.

I want to join! Now what?
Please visit our "How to Join" page for a step-by-step guide to joining CAP. However, the best way to get started is to attend a meeting. 

Can I join if I have a medical condition or disability?
Civil Air Patrol does not preclude membership due to medical conditions or disabilities. However, participation in certain activities may be limited depending on the condition, illness or disability.