ACTIVE COMPONENT OFFICERS
Education. There are few exceptions to the Service requirements that commissioned officers have at least a 4-year college degree, so the education levels of FY 2004 Active Component officer accessions come as no surprise. Table 4.13 clearly shows the officer corps’ reliance on the college-educated. Approximately 8 percent of officers commissioned in FY 2004 did not have at least a bachelor's degree; most likely these officers were former enlisted personnel. A notable percentage of newly commissioned officers (15 percent) held advanced degrees—mostly lawyers, chaplains, and health care professionals.
Not only are college graduates amply represented among newly commissioned officers, but the education levels in the officer corps indicate that the Services promote continuing education. Significant proportions of officers attained advanced degrees while serving. The Air Force had the greatest proportion (51 percent) of officers with advanced degrees, and was the only Service with a greater proportion of officers with advanced degrees than bachelor's degrees. The Marine Corps had fewer officers with advanced degrees than the other Services. A contributing factor may be that the Navy provides the Marine Corps with health professionals, chaplains, or other such direct appointees, who typically have advanced degrees.