FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Cadets (Ages 12-18)

What is the Cadet Program?
The Cadet Program is one of the three missions of CAP. The goal of the program is to provide leadership training and opportunity through aviation-related means. In addition, military discipline and military bearing are taught as part of being a cadet.

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.

Will I learn how to fly?
Complete pilot training is not a normal part of the program. However, glider schools and other piloting schools are offered to advanced cadets at the national-level. At the local-level, orientation flights are common where cadets may briefly control a CAP aircraft in midair.

How much time would I need to give as a cadet?
Cadets attend weekly Thursday night meetings from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. They may be expected to spend one Saturday a month with the squadron. State-wide weekend activities are held year-round throughout California, and cadets apply as participants or staff members if they want to attend. 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.

How much does it cost to join as a cadet?
Cadet applicants pay an initial cost of $40.00, and then a yearly membership fee of $40.00. Cadets are required to have a Service Uniform (Blues) which is mostly provided free from the US Air Force. A utility uniform (ABUs) is optional but required for activities. Other uniform accessories are also required. The squadron collects a Uniform Item Fee when joining that covers all the specialty items needed in order to complete a uniform. Therefore, a complete set of new uniforms can cost up to $200.00. Additional activities may have fees to cover lodging and meals. Check with the squadron for further details or review the Prospective Cadet Packet.

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.

Does CAP offer any scholarships?
Yes

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.

I want to join! Now what?
Please visit our Join Us section for further details. All prospective members are required to attend three squadron meetings prior to membership consideration.

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Senior Members (Adults Ages 18+)

How old do I have to be to join?
Senior Members must be at least 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit.

Am I expected to join the military?
No, you do not have to join the military.

Do I have to wear a uniform?
Senior members may be required to wear a uniform during some activities – such as when flying in CAP aircraft. Senior members may wear the USAF style blue uniform, the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU), or one of the distinctive CAP uniforms. Members choosing to wear USAF-style uniforms must meet height/weight and grooming requirements. However, some members choose to serve quietly without wearing a uniform.

I’m not a pilot. What would I do in CAP?
There are many volunteer positions in CAP. Whatever your talent or area of interest, our squadron needs you. To find out what positions might be available to you, contact the squadron commander or review these possible duty assignments.

I am a pilot or I want to fly with CAP?
If you are already an FAA licensed pilot or you would like to fly as aircrew in one of CAP’s many aircraft, visit this page for further details.

How much time will I have to give each week?
Our squadron meets weekly for about 2 1/2 hours, and offers special activities on the weekends and during the summer.  Some duty assignments require only an hour or two of month of your time, others might require more. Senior members work with the squadron commander to select duties that benefit the squadron and also satisfy the needs and availability of the member.

Do I get paid to be a member?
No, you are a volunteer member of Civil Air Patrol. All activities you do are donations of your time and expertise to help your country and community

Am I considered a member of the military?
No, you are a civilian and do not have any obligation to any branch of the military. You can not be deployed, called to active duty, or forced to serve in any branch of the US Armed Services in any way. CAP members are not eligible to receive any Veterans Administration Benefits for their volunteer service to Civil Air Patrol.

I’ve been arrested/charged before; can I still be a member?
Having an arrest/conviction (or other similar charges) does not automatically preclude you from membership. We can not make a determination until after you apply for membership in CAP. Just make sure that you note the charges on the application and supply any required information. Once the application comes to National Headquarters the Confidential Screening Coordinator will review your case.

Want to support CAP, but don’t have the time?
Many citizens want to support the great work of CAP, but simply don’t have the time. You can still help by becoming a Patron Member. Discuss your interest with the squadron commander. If your child is a cadet, consider becoming a Cadet Sponsor Member.

How much does it cost?
The initial cost to join is $89 for regular Senior Members. This includes the cost of the FBI fingerprinting and background check. After that, annual membership is $79. Parents, Guardians or Grandparents who wish to join as Cadet Sponsor Members pay $30 to join then $20/year. Cadet Sponsors can remain members as long as their cadet is a member.

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.

I want to join! Now what?
Please visit our Join Us section for further details. All prospective members are required to attend three squadron meetings prior to membership consideration.

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