Military Schools for Troubled Teens

The military schools for teens are a cross between boot camps and boarding schools. Discipline is strict and controlled, and education is highly emphasized. In addition to military exercises and rigorous training, students are also known as cadets.

Military Schools for Teen Boys

A typical student at these schools lacks discipline or structure in their daily lives. For your troubled teen boy, check out a few schools that may be able to help.

Army and Navy Academy

Carlsbad, CA’s Army and Navy Academy was founded in 1910 and has a rich history of providing structured education to its students. The student body faces high expectations and follows a rigorous schedule that includes daily room inspections, athletics, rigorous coursework, and dedicated study and counseling sessions. 

With a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1, students receive individualized instruction in the classroom and can take multiple AP courses as well as creative courses in art and music. Cadets develop leadership skills through the Leadership Education Training (LET) program. 

Boys in seventh through 12th grades can attend the school. A boarding school’s annual tuition is approximately $41,500, plus additional costs for books and uniforms.

Marine Military Academy

Boys in eighth through 12th grade attend this military academy in Harlingen, TX. The school has been providing successful education to students for more than 50 years. In addition to taking classes with an 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, students participate in individual and team sports and receive training in time management and critical thinking. 

The cost of tuition, room and board, and military-style uniforms at the Marine Military Academy is around $41,000 per year.

Fork Union Military Academy

Fork Union Military Academy, located in Fork Union, VA, offers a military school that develops Christian values and leadership skills in boys in sixth through 12th grades. 

Apart from a rigorous academic curriculum, cadets can participate in Bible study groups, intramural and team sports, or participate in one of the school’s many extracurricular activities, like debate, chess, woodworking, and film clubs. 

Several financial assistance options are available, and tuition is approximately $38,090 a year. There is also a student-teacher ratio of 10:1 at this school.

Missouri Military Academy

Missouri Military Academy, located in Mexico, MO, graduates attend college 100 percent of the time. The school emphasizes academics, self-discipline, and character development while challenging cadets to reach their potential. 

This academy has educated students from all 50 states and more than 30 different countries since it opened in 2006. It is open to young men in sixth grade through 12th grade. At just under $38,000 per year, tuition, room, and board are at the lower end of the military school spectrum.

Coed Military Schools for Teens

Both girls and boys are accommodated in these schools. In some of these schools, girls have a separate section where education and activities are more nurturing.

Oak Ridge Military Academy

Oak Ridge Military Academy is open to girls and boys in grades seven through twelve. Oak Ridge, NC is home to the oldest military school in the United States, founded in 1852. Although the school is coed, there are separate programs for boys and girls. 

In terms of student-teacher ratio, the school has a 5 to 1 student-teacher ratio. JROTC and a variety of athletic programs are also available to cadets outside of the classroom. The cost of tuition and fees is approximately $32,000 per year.

Culver Academy

There are two schools at Culver Academy, located in Culver, IN: Culver Military Academy and Culver Girls Academy. Despite the fact that both academies emphasize discipline, leadership, and rigorous curriculum, the girls’ academy takes a more nurturing approach than the all-male military academy. 

In the school’s structure, cadets are given the opportunity to take on leadership positions and demonstrate skills to earn ranks and promotions. Additionally, cadets are required to participate in daily athletic activities and undergo daily room inspections. The cost of tuition and fees is about $49,700 per year, plus uniforms that cost an additional $1,200 to $2,300.

Massanutten Military Academy

In 1899, Massanutten Military Academy was established in Woodstock, VA, and educates boys and girls in grades seven through twelve. The school offers both a standard high school diploma and a college preparatory diploma. For high school credit, they can also participate in the school’s JROTC program. 

In addition to the academic curriculum, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of athletic and artistic activities. Approximately $29,000 in tuition and $3,000 in books and uniforms are required each year. There is a discount for returning students.

Teen Military School Curriculum

There are usually no links between military schools and the Armed Forces. They are strictly pre-collegiate schools and serve only middle- and high-school students. An adolescent receives a challenging education – similar to a gifted program at a public high school – but in a very structured atmosphere. 

Many have strong athletic programs while others are geared at preparing students to further their education at a military academy. Physical activities required include:

  • The marching band
  • Skills that will help you survive
  • Courses that involve obstacles
  • Parades in military style

How Military Schools Work

Most parents who are looking for military schools for their troubled children are at their wit’s end. Their children are displaying behaviors that harm the family or could land them in legal trouble. 

Teenagers who attend military schools benefit from the structure, discipline, motivation, and quality education they receive.

Structure and Discipline

Military schools usually base their programs on the tactics used to train new recruits in the military. In addition to classes, drills, and physical activities, cadets follow a tried and true schedule. As they complete their tasks, these kids will also build comradery with one another. 

If rebellious, defiant teens are taught how to work in a structured environment where they are disciplined, then a whole new world can be opened up to them.


Teenagers are given tasks within a military school structure to complete as a team and individually. Upon achieving these goals, rewards are given. Having a specific goal helps teens with behavior problems find the motivation they may have lacked in the past.

Quality Education

In addition to offering quality educational classes, these schools have low student-to-teacher ratios and high college acceptance rates. Along with the respect and character building that kids learn, this prepares them for college. 

As a result, a teen who dropped out of public school now has the chance to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Pros and Cons of Military School

The pros and cons of military school should be considered before considering it for your troubled youth. Let’s take a look at the pros of military school first.

  • Provides a schedule for daily activities
  • Discipline is strictly enforced
  • Ratios of students to teachers are low
  • Actively promotes physical activity
  • Participation in JROTC programs is offered
  • All genders are welcome
  • Students from around the world are welcome
  • Having a sense of camaraderie can help with mental health issues

In addition to the pros, there are also cons. Learn why military school may not be the best solution for all troubled youth.

  • Those with mental illness may be at greater risk
  • The counseling support available to some troubled students isn’t specialized
  • There might be too much stress in the daily schedule
  • Personal expression is removed by strict discipline

Find a Military School for Teens

Find out more about military schools from the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, which also offers a comprehensive list of potential military schools for your child. You should keep in mind that military school may not be the best option for all children. 

You should consider your child’s individual needs before deciding whether a military school can provide the help and support your child needs or whether a treatment center or other type of boarding school would be a better choice.

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