Military School

A military academy or service academy (in American English) is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps of the army, the navy, air force or coast guard, which normally provides education in a service environment, the exact definition depending on the country concerned.

Three types of academy exists: High school-level institutions awarding academic qualifications, university-level institutions awarding Bachelor's degree level qualification, and those preparing officer cadets for commissioning into the armed services of the state.

The United States is almost unique in that the term "military academy" does not necessarily mean an institution run by the armed forces to train its own military officers; it may also mean a middle school, high school or tertiary-level college, whether public or private, which instructs its students in military-style education, discipline and tradition.

Many public high schools offer Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs sponsored by the United States Armed Forces.

    The term military school primarily refers to pre-collegiate (middle and high school) institutions. Military schools were once far more common than they are today; see the extensive list of defunct military academies.
    The term military academy commonly refers to all pre-collegiate, collegiate, and post-collegiate institutions, yet graduate institutions, catering for officers already in service, are often considered separately and termed staff colleges and Graduate Schools.

Military academies can be either private or have government sponsorship from regional (state) or national government.

The colleges operated by the U.S. Federal Government are referred to as the Federal Service Academies and are:

    United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut
    United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York
    United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
    United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
    Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland

State-sponsored Military Academy:

    The Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia

In addition, five institutions, which were military colleges at the time of their founding, maintain both a corps of cadets and a civilian student body. These are:

    North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega, Georgia (chartered as a military college, but has had a corps and a civilian student body from its inception)
    Norwich University Corps of Cadets. Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont
    Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
    The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
    Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Along with the Virginia Military Institute these institutions are known as the Senior Military Colleges.

Five institutions are considered Military Junior Colleges. These five schools participate in the Army's two-year Early Commissioning Program, an Army ROTC program where qualified students can earn a commission as a Second Lieutenant after only two years of college. The five Military Junior Colleges are:

    Georgia Military College, Milledgeville, Georgia
    Marion Military Institute, Marion, Alabama
    New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, New Mexico
    Valley Forge Military Academy and College, Wayne, Pennsylvania
    Wentworth Military Academy and College, Lexington, Missouri

Note: The terms college and university are interchangeable in the below discussion. They are both used to denote an institution of higher learning which a person might attend after attending high school, typically at age 17, 18, or 19.

Pre-collegiate institutions

A military school teaches various ages (middle school, high school, or both) in a manner that includes military traditions and training in military subjects. The vast majority are in the United States. Many military schools are also boarding schools, and others are simply magnet schools in a larger school system. Many are privately run institutions, though some are public and are run by either a public school system (such as the Chicago Public Schools), or by a state.

A common misconception results because some states have chosen to house their child criminal populations in higher-security boarding schools that are run in a manner similar to military boarding schools. These are also called reform schools, and are functionally a combination of school and prison. They attempt to emulate the high standards of established military boarding schools in the hope that a strict structured environment can reform these children. This may or may not be true. However, this should not reflect on the long and distinguished history of military schools; their associations are traditionally those of high academic achievement, with solid college preparatory curricula, schooling in the military arts, and considerably esteemed graduates.

Popular culture sometimes shows parents sending or threatening to send unruly children off to military school (or boarding school) to teach them good behavior (e.g., in the "Army of One" episode of The Sopranos, Tony and Carmela Soprano consider sending their son, AJ, to the Hudson Military Institute after AJ is expelled from high school but relent when AJ collapses from a panic attack).

Adult institutions
A college level military academy is an institute of higher learning of things military. It is part of a larger system of military education and training institutions. The primary educational goal at military academies is to provide a high quality education that includes significant coursework and training in the fields of military tactics and military strategy. The amount of non-military coursework varies by both the institution and the country, and the amount of practical military experience gained varies as well.

Military academies may or may not grant university degrees. In the U.S., graduates have a major field of study, earning a Bachelor's degree in that subject just as at other universities. However, in British academies, the graduate does not achieve a university degree, since the whole of the one-year course (nowadays undertaken mainly but not exclusively by university graduates) is dedicated to military training.

There are two types of military academies: national (government-run) and state/private-run.

    Graduates from national academies are typically commissioned as officers in the country's military. The new officers usually have an obligation to serve for a certain number of years. In some countries (e.g. Britain) all military officers train at the appropriate academy, whereas in others (e.g. the United States) only a percentage do and the service academies are seen as institutions which supply service-specific officers within the forces (about 15 percent of US military officers).
    State or private-run academy graduates have no requirement to join the military after graduation, although some schools have a high rate of graduate military service. Today, most of these schools have ventured away from their military roots and now enroll both military and civilian students. The only exception in the United States is the Virginia Military Institute which remains all-military.