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.
FAQs for Teens
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.
Annual membership dues vary by state. Please click here to view the membership dues table. 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.
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.
You will have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane and possibly a military aircraft. CAP doesn’t teach you to fly, but you can compete for scholarships that will help pay for your pilot’s license.
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.