Operations of The Salvation Army are supervised by trained workers, counselors, musicians, youth and spiritual leaders.
These officers dedicate their lives and skills to The Salvation Army's mission. Candidates for officership undergo a two-year course in residence at Salvation Army colleges in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Rancho Palos Verdes. The curriculum combines theory and field practice, including sociology, social work, psychology, business administration, accounting, community relations, public speaking, Salvation Army doctrine and regulations, and vocal & instrumental music.
After two years of training, cadets are commissioned as Lieutenants, ordained as ministers, and assigned to active duty. Newly commissioned officers must successfully complete five years of continuing education. Institutes, seminars, and conferences have been established to ensure that all officers are informed of new and innovative programs and developments.
The majority are posted as officers at Community Centers that provide social and spiritual services with responsibility to serve and minister to their community.
While in their employ, The Salvation Army provides officers with living quarters, furnishings, and official transportation, until the retirement age of sixty-five.
Lay members who subscribe to the doctrines of The Salvation Army are called soldiers. Along with officers, they are known as Salvationists.
The soldiers of The Salvation Army (wearing blue epaulets), are citizens in communities throughout the U.S. who adhere to the doctrines and disciplines of The Salvation Army. There are approximately 450,000 soldiers in the United States. These soldiers may take on volunteer responsibilities in the congregation or help with The Army's social service outreach.
As a valuable means of service to the community, soldiers visit the sick and lonely in hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional institutions.