Top Military Schools in California 2024 | All You Need to Know 

Whether you’re searching for military high schools, colleges, and universities for troubled youth: boys or girls, you’re sure to find many in California. 

California is home to several prestigious military schools that offer unique programs to help students develop their skills and reach their full potential. From traditional military-style training to specialized programs in fields like science and technology, California’s military schools provide a range of opportunities for students to grow academically, physically, and personally.

With a reputation for academic excellence and a commitment to leadership development, California’s military schools attract students from around the country who are seeking a challenging and rewarding educational experience.

Here in this guide, we show you the best military colleges for boys and girls and any troubled youth in California. We have specified the admission criteria of each of these military schools as well to help you make a choice. 

Let’s dive in!!!

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How Many Military Schools Are In California?

There are 4 military schools in California and 6 military-friendly schools. This offers a handful of options and varieties for high school and college students who want to enroll in military schools in the state. 

Top California Best Military Schools 

Besides the fact that California has some of the cheapest places to live in the USA, it’s also home to some of the best military high schools and colleges in the country. 

Californian military schools instill core qualities of patience, hard work, and perseverance in every cadet even for the troubled youth. 

Below is a list of military schools in CA that have comprehensive programs covering academics, athletics, leadership, and other extracurricular activities.

#1. California Military Institute

  • Grades: 5-12
  • Founded: 2003
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students: 1,020
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 29 to 1
  • Location: 755 North A Street Perris, CA 92570

California Military Institute is one of California’s best military high schools situated in Perris: one of the cheapest places to buy a house in California. 

California Military Institute is a part of the Perris Union High School District and is also affiliated with the JROTC program via the California National Guard’s California Cadet Corps (CaCC) which designed its Military Science curriculum.

CMI focuses on providing the set environment for every cadet to achieve their academic goals and build connections hence effectively preparing them for college.

The downside to considering California Military Institute is that its waiting list is high as such the admissions process is selective.  Also, to remain in CMI, all cadets must maintain a GPA of 2.0 and have proper behavior. 


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#2. Army and Navy Academy

  • Grades: 7-12
  • Founded: 1910
  • School Type: Private
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students: 300
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Location: 2605 Carlsbad Blvd. Carlsbad, CA 92008

If you’re looking for an all-boys military school, Army and Navy Academy is one for consideration. Army and Navy Academy is a private military boarding high school.

As also interested in academics, Army and Navy Academy ensures and gives cadets the choice to structure their calendars.

As a military school, Army and Navy Academy has a rank structure that mimics the Army’s. Also, as cadets move up in their grades they also move up in rank and duty positions.

Because Army and Navy Academy is a private school, there is tuition. However, there is financial assistance with terms and conditions.

Keep in mind that the academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the California Association of Independent Schools. Summer camps are co-ed and graduates can decide to go into ROTC universities, top public universities, or military service academies.


#3. North Valley Military Institute

  • Grades: 6-12
  • Founded: 2013
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Number of Students: 605
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Location: 12105 Allegheny Street Sun Valley, CA 91352

North Valley Military Institute (NVMI) is a public charter college preparatory school and one of the best military schools in California. 

As with most military schools, NVMI relies on discipline and structure to develop core values and responsibilities in every cadet. However, although North Valley Military Institute is a military school, it is not open to troubled youth or one with behavior problems.

Cadets are sure to excel in academics, athletics, competition, and leadership opportunities. This is in line with NVMI’s goal of raising well-rounded individuals who are ready upon graduation. 


#4. Oakland Military Institute

  • Grades: 6 – 12
  • Founded: 2001
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 98%
  • Number of Students: 743
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Location: 3877 Lusk Street, Oakland, CA 94608

One of the top co-ed military high schools in California is the Oakland Military Institute. To produce well-rounded individuals, Oakland Military Institute works on the academics, leadership, and athletic ability of every cadet.

To prepare cadets for vocational careers, students can engage in the Oakland Military Institute Career Technical Education (CTE) program.

Getting into Oakland Military Institute is easier for prospective students whose siblings are current or graduated students of the institute. 


#5. Southwestern Academy

  • Grades: 6-12
  • Founded: 1924
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students: 145
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 6-1
  • Location: 2800 Monterey Road San Marino, California 91108

Southwestern Academy is a non-profit co-ed college preparatory school open to excellent and motivated students. One good plus for Southwestern Academy is the low student-to-teacher ratio which facilitates one-on-one learning and interaction. 

Also at Southwestern Academy rather than the age group, students are placed in groups and classes based on their abilities. There are sports programs and extracurriculars for all cadets and also access to lunch.

Southwestern Academy is a boarding and day school. Acceptance is competitive and selective. To apply, you need letters of recommendation, transcripts, updated records, and an interview.


#6. St. Catherine’s Academy

  • Grades: K-8
  • Founded: 1889
  • School Type: Private
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students: 158
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Location: 215 N. Harbor Blvd. Anaheim California 92805

Even as a faith-based school, St. Catherine’s Academy remains one of the best military schools in California. St. Catherine’s Academy is a non-profit private catholic boys military school in CA that is open to day and boarding students. 

As assumed, St. Catherine’s Academy channels its plans to produce exceptional students who are firm in the faith through prayer, community service, ministry, and academics. In addition, the school promotes teamwork and leadership.

As an all-boys college, training, teachings, and coaching are boy-centered. Admission into St. Catherine’s Academy is competitive and requires an interview session before getting in.


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#7. La Sierra Military Academy

  • Grades: 7-12
  • Founded: 2000
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 94.1%
  • Number of Students: 256
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Location: 1735 E. Houston Ave., Visalia, CA 93292 

The La Sierra Military Academy is a charter public school and one of the 11 schools in the state to earn the CAPP Model School Program

As with most military schools, the La Sierra Military Academy’s curriculum is built on respect, camaraderie, discipline, and character. 

To enroll in La Sierra Military Academy, you ought to fill out a form, attend the general information meeting, join the waitlist, and if not accepted reapply. 

All graduates of La Sierra Military Academy are college ready. 85% go to a four-year college, and 15%  join the military.


#8. Summit Leadership Academy High Desert

  • Grades: 7 – 12
  • Founded: 2005
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Number of Students: 304
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Location: 12850 Muscatel Street, Hesperia, CA 92345

The Summit Leadership Academy High Desert is one of the best schools and military academies in California. The academy’s academic curriculum focuses on law, military, and fire sciences.

How this works is that at Summit Leadership Academy High Desert, students getting to the 9th grade select the academic pathway they want and work through their specific courses for the rest of their high school career.

In addition to academics, Summit Leadership Academy High Desert ensures students meet educational, grooming, and behavioral standards before graduation. 

The application requires you to fill out a form of interest, submit and await a call to discuss enrollment.


#9. Discovery Challenge Academy

  • Founded: 1993
  • Grades: ages 16-18
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students: N/A
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: N/A
  • Location: 700 East Roth Rd. Lathrop, CA 95330

Discovery Challenge Academy is one of the best military colleges in California. However, it is best referred to as a military-friendly academy because it runs a five and a half months program in military style as approved by California National Guard.

Students engage in academics and also learn job skills and develop leadership abilities. Upon graduation, students develop an increased sense of pride and confidence.

Keep in mind that this program is for those who might not graduate from high school or who do not have enough credits to graduate on time. Also, all applicants for Discovery Challenge Academy must be legal residents of the United States and the state of California.


#10. California Maritime Academy

  • Founded: 1929
  • Grades: University
  • School Type: Public
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Number of Students:1,149
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Location: 200 Maritime Academy Drive Vallejo, CA 94590

If you have a troubled youth ready for university, one of the best military schools to consider in California is the California Maritime Academy. The California Maritime Academy is a public university that is part of the California State University system.

Degrees available span various fields such as Global Studies and Maritime Affairs, Oceanography, and Marine Transportation. Although a university, all cadets wear uniforms. Also, there is no obligation or coercion on cadets to join the military after graduation.

It’s important to know that California Maritime Academy has Navy and Air Force ROTC programs and the Coast Guard Officer Program and a Strategic Sealift Officer Program.

To apply, all cadets must have at least a 2.50 GPA from high school, transcripts, and the application form filled.


What Is The Cost Of California Military Schools? 

Public military schools in California do not require tuition whereas most private military colleges require tuition. 

CA military schools will have varying tuition costs because of the program depth and level of education as well as school type. 

Once you have made a choice of school for your child, visit the school website for details on tuition. 

ALSO READ: Top Military Schools in Virginia | All You Need to Know 

Frequently Asked Questions About Military Colleges In California 

What is the age requirement to go to military schools in California?

Military schools in CA are open to cadets from Kindergarten to 18 years of age. St. Catherine’s Academy is open to K-8, Discovery Challenge Academy 16-18, and California Maritime Academy university students.

What this means is that each military school in California has its own age requirement.

What is the #1 military academy in California?

Although there are many military colleges in CA, the #1 military school in California is California Maritime Academy open to cadets ready for university.

Is there a tuition-free military school in California?

Yes, all public military schools in CA are tuition-free.

What are the admission requirements for CA military schools?

Admission requirements for California military schools include 

– minimum GPA
– standardized test scores
– physical fitness standards
– demonstrated interest in military leadership and character development.


    With so many military academies in California for cadets of varying ages, you need to carefully make a pick. Some schools have different program tracks to best prepare your child for what comes after secondary school, but schools that focus on leadership qualities and academics are sure to help your student reach excellence.

    Some are open to just boys while others are co-ed. Ensure to find out more details on the school’s website. 


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