There are different methods to become a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy. You can attend the Service Academy at Annapolis, which is a four year service school designed to train officers for the Navy. You can apply and be accepted in a program of Naval ROTC to receive training. Or you can participate in the U.S. Navy Enlisted to Officer Commissioning Program. This program is called the Seaman to Admiral Education Program.
There were a number of different programs similar to this one that provided enlisted to commissioned officer status. But each of them had slightly different requirements, and it became very confusing. The Navy combined most of these different routes to one program, called the Seaman to Admiral Program, STA-21. In this program, and enlisted seaman or sailor continues to receive pay, benefits and privileges they receive as an active duty Navy person, but while attending college full time on a scholarship to earn a college degree. They then receive a commission as a Naval Officer.
The STA 21 Commission program is one that has been created to allow superior active duty members to continue and get a college degree, and then to become Commissioned Navy officers. It provides Navy Commissioned officers in the Nurse Corps, Supply Corps, Civil Engineer Corps, The Special Duty Intelligence Officer, and the Unrestricted Line Officer programs. The STA 21 program replaces several other commissioning programs, and is a more direct route to Commissioning in the Navy Service. The programs it replaces include:
Enlisted Commissioning Program Aviation Enlisted Commissioning Program
Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning program Civil Engineer Corps To Commission Program
Former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Boorda was the first Navy Admiral CNO to go from an enlisted person in the 1960s to rise to Chief of Navy Operations. During Admiral Boorda’s time in the service, the program was called the Integration program, and allowed exceptional enlisted people to pursue a career as a commissioned officer. Admiral Boorda made sure when he assumed his duties as Navy Chief of Operations that the commissioning program was reestablished, and it was named “Seaman to Admiral” in his honor.
Admiral Boorda believed that everyone can excel and that they should have opportunities for service even if they don’t have a traditional start or a perfect background. STA 21 has always tried to be a program that allows enlisted people to attend college and keep their current enlisted pay grade. Each sailor also qualifies for up to $10 thousand dollars yearly to help pay for books, tuition and fees.