What is a Salvation Army Officer?

Officers of The Salvation Army are soldiers who have relinquished secular employment in response to a spiritual calling, so as to devote all their time and energies to the service of God and humanity and who, having successfully completed the required period of training, are commissioned as officers and ordained as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do I need to go to school for training to become a Salvation Army Officer?
Salvation Army officers are trained for service at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) for two years. The residential component involves theological, denominational and service training. During the two-year residential program, you hold the rank of Cadet.

How does the rank system work?
Soldiers are the people whom we rely upon in our corps (churches) to work locally under the leadership of Officers. Soldiers, upon successful application for training and admission to the CFOT are given the rank of Cadet. Upon successful completion of the two-year CFOT program, they are commissioned and ordained with the rank of Lieutenant. Officers serve five years before being promoted to Captain. Officers who have served fifteen years are promoted to the rank of Major. Further promotions to Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel and Commissioner are dependent upon responsibilities within The Salvation Army.

If I am married, do both husband and wife have to become Salvation Army Officers?
There is no greater opportunity than to serve God with the person you love the most. Couples need to be on the same page when it comes to serving God. The norm remains serving as a couple.

I have already done theological study. Do I still need to go to the College for Officer Training?
There is much more to training as a Salvation Army Officer than theology. The staff at CFOT will work with you in the development of a training program that serves your personal growth.

Where will I serve as an Officer?
The Salvation Army is divided globally into Territories. This is the Western Territory. You will be asked to serve in any community of the Western United States, which includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. As The Salvation Army is a global movement, you may also have opportunity to serve in other parts of the world if you have the right qualifications.

What kinds of opportunities are there for Officers in service?
Salvation Army Officers serve in a variety of roles. Some are leaders of congregations, some work with children. Some Officers lead social service units that serve the addicted or people who are in trouble with the law. Some Salvation Army Officers work with seniors and some in administrative roles. The opportunities are endless!

Do I have a say in where I will serve as a Salvation Army Officer?
The need to have the right Salvation Army Officer in the right appointment is critical to the success of our mission. This Territory makes every effort to dialogue with Officers in making decisions regarding the when and where of locating Officers. While not every wish or desire can be accommodated, consultation does help in the placement of personnel.

I just want to get into ministry! Do I have to go to school…for two years?
While The Salvation Army is a church movement called to action, we hold strongly to the need for trained ministers of the gospel. Our work is ministering to people and their lives, which can be fragile and broken. We want you to be prepared as best you can to help in those challenging moments. One of The Salvation Army’s values is excellence and we want to uphold this value.

I am a single parent – can I be a Salvation Army Officer?
Raising children is not only a great privilege but also a tremendous responsibility. At times, being an officer is demanding and consequently some family situations may not be conducive to this lifestyle. With each application, consideration is given to the age of the children, number of children and extended family circumstances.

What happens to my children while I am training?
The College assists parents in the arrangements for their children, either in public schooling or at the on-campus Family Care Center (FCC). FCC exists to offer family care services for the cadets. This well-equipped center provides for physical care and for the growth, development, behavior, discipline, individuality, culture, dignity, and Christian education of each child.

Do all Cadets become Officers?
The purpose of the training program is to equip people for ministry. However, during training it can become evident that some people are not suited for this kind of demanding ministry. In these circumstances, an exit strategy will be determined with consultation between the cadet and the staff.

Where do I start the application process?
Join your local Salvation Army Corps (church) and become an active Soldier (member). In time, with the help of your Corps Officer, you can submit an application to become a Candidate.

How long does the application process take?
The length of the application process varies according to each individual, couple or family. There will be a variety of tests and interviews as part of the candidate process. This includes a pre-training course that will need to be completed before entrance.

When does training begin after my acceptance?
All training sessions are done in cohort form (all individuals in a specific session will train together for the two-year period) beginning in mid-August of each year. Applications must be completed by April each year to be considered for acceptance.

For more information regarding Salvation Army Officership, go to the FAQs tab and click on “What is a Salvation Army Officer?”, or contact us at