Getting Started

Welcome Materials

New members deserve a great start in CAP. The Great Start project helps to welcome and orient prospective members by equipping them with the knowledge of what to do during the first year in CAP.

These materials will answer frequently asked questions and detail how CAP values the prospective member’s experiences.

Basic Membership

To guide you through your initial training, the commander will assign you a mentor. Your mentor will keep you on track and moving forward in your learning process. Your first step is to fill out a CAP membership application. Membership applications can be obtained at the squadron office. The application is very straight forward and easy to fill out. Next you must be fingerprinted. Fingerprinting is done at squadron level by the Security Officer. As a CAP member you may be responsible for sensitive information, expensive equipment, and interacting with young people of both sexes. The CAP needs to be confident that you are a trustworthy individual. The background check insures that CAP members are upstanding citizens.

Although the Civil Air Patrol is partially funded by the US Air Force, all CAP expenses are not funded. Volunteers are required to pay dues to be a member of CAP. CAP is a not-for-profit organization and your dues and other CAP expenses may be tax deductible. (Consult your tax professional) Your dues need to be paid at the time of fingerprinting. Two (2) sets of dues are paid. One for National CAP Headquarters and one for our local squadron. These dues are payable on a yearly basis by cash or check. We cannot accept credit cards.)

Level One

Your next task is to become Level One qualified. Level One provides you with the foundations of Civil Air Patrol missions, policies and opportunities for service. Your mentor will be there to answer questions as you complete all the requirements for Level One.

The following information is taken from the Civil Air Patrol website

To achieve Level One of Civil Air Patrol’s professional development program, you will need to complete the following:

  • The CAP Foundations Course. (Level One Training)
  • Cadet Protection Program Training (CPPT)
  • Online Operations Security (OPSEC) Awareness Training.
  • The CAP Foundations Course (Level One Training)

Foundations Course

The CAP Foundations Course is self-paced and open book. There are a total of six modules for you to complete. Each module contains a three to five page article for you to read, along with a brief quiz.

CAP’s professional development is designed around your integrity, one of CAP’s Core Values. You are on your honor to read the articles and to take the open book quizzes on your own. Please print out each quiz and circle the most correct answer. Then take the completed quizzes to your squadron mentor who will help you get them scored and reviewed.

Each module should take less than 15 minutes to read, and each quiz should take less than 15 minutes to complete. You will need the free Adobe PDF Reader or a compatible PDF viewer to view these materials, dated May 07:

Module 1: History & Organization
Module 2: Policies
Module 3: Uniforms
Module 4: Customs & Courtesies
Module 5: Core Values
Module 6: Leadership

Once you have finished the CAP Foundations Course, ask your mentor to introduce you to the unit Professional Development Officer (PDO) who will sit down with you and go through a “Summary Conversation” guide designed to help you put the topics you studied into perspective. The PDO will help you to understand the reason why CAP has core values, why CAP members wear a uniform and why CAP emphasizes safety. In the process, you have an opportunity to ask questions in an informal, no-pressure setting. You should also get a brief description of the Professional Development Tracks available to you through CAP. You can pick a track that interests you or ask to be assigned one. In the event that the squadron does not need another officer in the track you pick, you may be assigned an additional track in order to fulfill the staffing requirements of the squadron.

Cadet Protection Program Training (CPPT)

Cadet Protection Program Training is a required element of Level One and is designed to introduce new senior members, Cadet Sponsor Members and cadets 18 and older to CAP’s Cadet Protection policies.

CPPT helps ensure a healthy and safe environment for cadets while providing the foundation for a professional climate and the highest standards of behavior of all our members in leadership positions.

This training is mandatory for all senior members, Cadet Sponsor Members and cadets 18 and older. This training takes most people less than two hours to complete.

To complete CPPT, you will need to establish an account with e-Services (See the e-Services section below for details).

This training is designed for our senior members, Cadet Sponsor Members and cadets 18 years of age and older. Only those 18 years of age or older will see the “Cadet Protection” link in e-Services. Click here to go to e-Services.

Online Operations Security (OPSEC) Awareness Training

One of the key aspects of mission preparedness is training. By completing the online Operations Security (OPSEC) Awareness Training, you will know how to handle sensitive information concerning our missions, our capabilities and our partner agencies.

The OPSEC awareness training also allows CAP to validate to our partner agencies that members whom we entrust with sensitive information have the necessary training and have agreed to protect that information.

This training is mandatory for all CAP senior members and Cadet Sponsor Members. It is an online only course that members can access at This is a secure website and the initial screen will ask some questions to verify your identity.

This training takes most people less than 20 minutes and concludes with an opportunity to agree to protect sensitive information. This is called a “Non Disclosure Agreement” (NDA) and each member’s agreement will be recorded electronically in their membership records. This NDA will be required before a member can access sensitive information or participate in certain missions.

Click OpSec Course to begin.

Online Equal Opportunity Training

Each member must complete the Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint program. This training module is easy to complete and only takes about 10 minutes. Once you have completed the slideshow, simply click on the”I Agree” icon and you are finished.

Click EO_Training to begin.

The Next Step

Once you have completed Level One (comprising of the CAP Foundations Course, the CPPT and the online OPSEC Awareness Training), take your quizzes and pretest to your unit Professional Development Officer (PDO) or Commander for validation and credit.

Talk with your mentor or commander to explore Level Two professional development opportunities that will assist you as you advance as a CAP member. You should also become familiar with the governing regulation on professional development, CAPR 50-17.

Be sure to visit CAP’s professional development web site to discover the wealth of courses available to you.

Set up your e-Services account now

Please visit e-Services at e-Services is the Internet gateway to CAP National Headquarters. From the e-Services home page, follow the on-screen instructions to establish a user name and password. Then use the e-Services Interactive Personnel System to view your personnel record, and update it if necessary.

OK, Now what?

You have successfully completed Level One training. You should have received a membership card and your initial CAP materials in the mail by now. If you have not, ask your mentor to help you find out why.

Your next task should be to get your General Emergency Services (GES) certification. You cannot participate in any CAP missions or activities, other than meetings, without your GES. You can access the GES requirements by clicking here.

Congratulations, you are on your way!!!


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