Senior Member Professional Development

Purpose of the Professional Development Program

 CAP is a federally chartered non-profit corporation.  It is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force when operating on authorized Air Force missions.  Congress chartered CAP to perform certain duties for individual communities and for the nation.  That charter helped establish CAP’s three missions: Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs.  To accomplish its mission, CAP requires an informed, active senior membership trained in leadership, management, and functional tasks.  The CAP Senior Member Professional Development Program prepares members to serve their units, their communities, and their nation.  (CAPR 50-17, 1-1)

CAP Professional Development

The Civil Air Patrol Professional Development Program has five levels. 

Level 1 - Orientation

Level 1 is the only mandatory level.  It is the foundation of the CAP Professional Development Program and provides the new senior member with information required for successful membership in CAP.  This level consists of a blended course containing a series of online lessons supplemented with in-residence content.  It includes the following:

    • Who We Are Today
    • CAP Core Values
    • Cadet Protection Basic Course (CPBC)
    • Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination
    • Introduction to Safety
    • The Essentials
    • Expectations

Volunteer service may not begin until this level has been completed.  CAP requires senior members to complete Level I training prior to receiving any assigned duty position in the unit, directly supervising cadets on their own, being allowed to wear the Air Force-style CAP uniform, or becoming eligible for promotion.

Level 2 - Technician Rating

In this level, the senior member acquires a technical skill and begins receiving basic leadership and management training. 

CAP presents study material in pamphlets called Specialty Track Study Guides.  Senior members select a specialty based on their personal interests and the needs of the unit.  

The member completes the Officer Basic Course, which gives the member further insight into the CAP organization and introduces them to basic management, communication and leadership concepts. Squadron Leadership School (SLS), trains squadron-level members to perform their squadron jobs and introduces leadership and management techniques.

Level 3- Senior Rating

CAP designed professional development at this level for senior members serving in management positions such as: squadron commander, group commander, wing commander, and for staff officers.  

At this level the member must complete the Corporate Learning Course (CLC).  The term “corporate” in the title of this course refers to CAP’s status as a nonprofit humanitarian corporation chartered by the United States Congress in 1946.  Accordingly, wing-level operations carry out the major duties and responsibilities of the corporation for each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  The CLC is designed to explain how a wing operates in each of CAP’s major mission elements and how mission support functions support these mission elements.  Armed with this knowledge, senior members can learn how they and their respective organizations can best support the wing and fulfill the corporate role of CAP.

Level 4- Master Rating

CAP designed this level for members who desire to become high level leaders in CAP.   Every wing and region commander, and those members being groomed to replace them, should complete Level IV.

CAP requires members to complete Region Staff College (RSC) at this level.  Region Staff College is the formal in-residence (40 hour) course required for completion of Level IV.  It prepares selected CAP officers and NCOs to better execute the duties and responsibilities associated with CAP command and staff positions at squadron level and above.

Level 5 - Executive

This is the highest level of CAP career development and is for those officers performing duty as commanders or staff officers.  As such, only the most dedicated senior members achieve this level.  To complete this level, members attend the National Staff College (NSC).  

The NSC is the executive-level, in-residence course for senior members who aspire to high-level leadership in CAP.  The NSC provides CAP officers and selected chief master sergeants the types of developmental experiences required to operate complex programs. Consequently, CAP encourages present and potential wing and region commanders to attend.  It also encourages squadron and group commanders who have attended RSC to apply.