Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Civil Air Patrol’s Senior Member program.

Don’t see your question listed? Contact us for more information.

Are their age restrictions to join?

Adult members must be at least 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit to join or remain as an adult member.

Does my military service count?

Regular and Reserve officers of the Armed Forces of the United States, active, retired, or honorably discharged, may be advanced to a CAP grade equivalent to their grade in the Armed Forces (but not to exceed lieutenant colonel), in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Regular, Reserve, and National Guard Senior Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the United States, active, or retired, in the grade of E-7 through E-9 may receive an advanced CAP grade in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Such promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority.

Why do I have to be fingerprinted?

All active adult members must be screened and registered by National Headquarters. The screening process requires that the individual complete an FD 258 fingerprint card used by NHQ to request an FBI criminal records check to determine membership eligibility. Felony convictions or patterns of arrests and/or convictions including, but not limited to sex offenses, child abuse, DUIs, dishonesty and violence may be the basis for rejection of membership. Reports received from the FBI are maintained in strict confidence by NHQ and not released.

There are no waivers for the fingerprint card requirement, regardless of your current security clearance or recent criminal background check for another organization or company.

Do members have to wear a uniform?

Adult members may wear the USAF-style uniforms or one of the distinctive CAP uniforms, but usually, some type of uniform is required to participate in activities, events and missions.

Do CAP members have access to military bases?

You will only have access to the base when participating in CAP events. If your unit meets on a military installation, you will coordinate with the unit to gain access to the base. You will be allowed to shop at the BX only when on official orders and billeted on the base. Authorized uniform items can be purchased at the Military Clothing sales store.

How much does membership in CAP cost?

Annual membership dues are comprised of three different parts: 1)National dues 2) Region dues and 3)Wing dues. Annual dues vary by the state you live in. You can check the membership dues page to find out the amount of dues for your area. Some local squadrons charge unit dues in addition to the annual membership dues. Your local squadron can provide more information about any unit dues and those should be paid directly to the unit.

Members are responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and there will be additional fees for activities outside of regular meeting times.

I'm not a pilot. Can I still join?

Yes! There are many volunteer jobs in CAP. Whatever your talent or area of interest, there is a unit that needs you. To find out what you can do in CAP, contact our squadron.

Will CAP teach me to fly?

CAP does not normally provide primary flight training for members. That said, we do have a lot of members who are also Certified Flight Instructors and often willing to provide training to members at reduced rates. Depending on your locality, CAP members may also have access to military aero clubs and their flight instructors which can be significantly cheaper than going through a normal commercial operation. We have several scholarships that help CAP Cadets obtain a pilot’s license. See the scholarships page for details. Once you have your license, you can fly with CAP CFIs in CAP aircraft to increase your ratings which can also be significantly cheaper than a commercial operation again.

Are CAP members part of the military?

CAP membership does not equate to membership in the military. CAP is a private, non-profit humanitarian organization, which is the official auxiliary of the Unites States Air Force.

How do senior members earn promotions?

All promotions are at the discretion of your squadron commander, and the standard way to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current rank, and the training you complete for your CAP position. There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to your squadron commander. In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

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.

I'm not a US Citizen. Can I still join?

Aliens admitted for permanent residence are eligible. Other non-citizens who are legally admitted to the country must request a waiver of the citizenship requirement through the unit they are joining.