military schools in florida
Military Schools

Military Schools in Florida

The best military schools in Florida provide an outstanding education while learning more about the U.S. Armed Forces.

Students at military schools in Florida generally reside on campus (boarding school) while studying and participating in military drills and training.

Military schools are highly desirable not only if you are interested in joining the military but seek to gain the interest of the most prestigious universities in the country.

Graduates of military prep schools regularly receive placement at some of the finest institutions in the nation.

Learn more about the top military schools in Florida based on prestige, reputation, academics, student to teacher ratio, and more:

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#1 – Gateway Academy for Boys

gateway academy for boys military school in florida

Gateway Academy for Boys is among the best military schools in Florida.

The institution has transitioned from a typical military school to one that specializes in receiving boys from troubled backgrounds.

As a result, Gateway Academy for Boys maintains a small enrollment of less than 100 students to provide plenty of personal interaction between students and faculty.

The boarding school builds discipline, respect, and leadership skills for male students (grades 6-12) that need to get their life back on track.

Gateway Academy for Boys also observes religious practices as it is considered a Christian military school.

The regimented academic and lifestyle routine helps correct bad behaviors and restore students with a new identity and purpose.

Consequently, Gateway Academy is not afraid to accept boys that have been expelled from public or private school, or have gotten in trouble with the law.

The selective school does not admit many students yet can represent a life-changing opportunity for those that receive acceptance.

The revised program at Gateway Academy combines character-enriching offerings with standard academics and vocational opportunities.

Staff at Gateway Academy for Boys acknowledge that many of its new programs are more efficient at developing character and discipline compared to meaningless drills and combative drill sergeants.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Gateway Academy for Boys is different from your ordinary military school.

Its modern approach has replaced old-fashioned drills and confrontational faculty with teaching vocational skills while also developing personal character.

Boys that attend Gateway Academy generally come from troubled backgrounds and have either been expelled from another institution or got into trouble with the law.

As a result, the purpose of Gateway Academy is to correct bad behaviors as well as introduce students to life skills that can help change their life around.

Students at Gateway Academy for Boys have the opportunity to participate in a variety of campus activities as well as pursue their dreams of attending college after graduation.

Thus, the academy provides a safe refuge for boys between the ages of 11-17 to grow in faith while becoming a stronger student.

Students are encouraged and mentored by a welcoming staff that pledges, commits, and dedicates their life to the endeavor.

Those that are interested in sending a troubled boy to the military school need to contact Gateway Academy by phone.

There is no cost or obligation to apply to Gateway Academy as admission is determined by a case-by-case basis.

Contact Gateway Academy at (850) 547-9011 for more information about admissions and tuition costs.

#2 – Sarasota Military Academy

sarasota military academy in fl

Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a relatively new charter school that opened its doors at the turn of the Millennium.

In the last 20 years it has been considered one of the premier military schools in Florida for many different reasons.

For starters, Sarasota Military Academy has a challenging academic curriculum for boys and girls at the middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12) levels.

Consequently, the military school divides its campus between the two separate institutions.

Sarasota Military Academy seeks to combine extraordinary academics with military principles of focus, camaraderie, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, respect, and honor among the top priorities.

As a result, the mission statement of the military prep school aligns well with the core beliefs and principles of the JROTC program.

Cadets at SMA receive a top flight education while participating in JROTC or the esteemed drum-line squad.

Regardless of the extracurricular endeavor, students are encouraged to begin preparing for college or a career.

There is an extra emphasis on developing leadership skills and citizenship which is a trademark of the top military schools in Florida.

In the end, Sarasota Military Academy believes that the best cadets hold steadfast to the values of honor, integrity, and respect.

Thus, everything at SMA revolves around instilling these principles and preparing young men and women for their next journey after graduating from high school.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Sarasota Military Academy desires to prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship.

As a result, the nonprofit institution offers tuition-free studies to students that gain acceptance to the institution.

The public charter school is unique in that it provides free tuition as most military schools are outrageously expensive.

There are limited seats for both the middle school and high school campus so you’ll want to apply early.

SMA recommends that new students and parents begin by signing up for an Admission Information Event.

The military school relies on a lottery system each year to determine which students get accepted into the academy.

Sarasota Military Academy is currently open to any student that resides in the Sarasota County School District as well as Manatee and Charlotte counties.

SMA does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, national, or ethic origin.

However, it generally only accepts 250 applicants for each grade level which is why applying early is heavily recommended.

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#3 – Lakeland Girls Academy

lakeland girls academy in florida
  • Location: 6754 S Carter Rd, Lakeland, FL 33813
  • Founded: 1990
  • Grades: 8-12
  • # of Students: 20
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 6:1
  • Official Website:

Lakeland Girls Academy, as the name implies, is specifically reserved for female students between the grades 8-12.

The year-round military school is comparable to the all-boys education offered at Gateway Academy for Boys.

The military school is designed to improve the lives of young females that come from difficult circumstances or troubling backgrounds.

Therefore, the program has delivered some impressive results for turning around the lives of teens that were heading in the wrong direction.

Lakeland Girls Academy has an outstanding reputation as most female military prep schools have not been around for more than 6 decades.

The Teen Challenge program at Lakeland has reversed the life of many troubled teens as well as restored lost connections with friends and family following graduation.

The academy serves as a boarding school where female cadets live and eat on campus while experiencing a full day’s worth of academics and activities.

It is a religious institute like Gateway where female cadets are introduced to the fundamentals of Christianity.

In addition to the dining hall and dormitories, students may participate through a variety of events and activities on the 10,000 square-foot campus.

Students that struggle with low self-esteem, depression, and self-harm get a fresh start at their academics, and forming healthy relationships with classmates and staff.

Furthermore, Lakeland Girls Academy takes in female teens suffering from rebellion, poor academic performance, anger/defiance, and promiscuity.

Lakeland Girls Academy prefers to keep its staff small which helps students become more comfortable and trusting.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Lakeland Girls Academy is a boarding school in Florida that has been successful in turning around the lives of troubled female teens.

The military school offers year-round residence for teens that need a fresh start where they can work on behavioral issues while receiving a first-class education.

Lakeland Girls Academy employs a small team of female counselors and faculty that prepare students for a brighter future.

The Teen Challenge program at Lakeland Academy has been successful in correcting the behavior of troubled youth and restoring relationships within the family.

The education that students receive is Christian-based which teaches teamwork, patience, determination, and diligence.

Lakeland Girls Academy is a member of the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies (FACCCA).

The academy features individual and group counseling sessions, along with peer mentoring opportunities.

These programs assist with developing social skills while improving self-awareness, empathy, and self-regulation.

New applicants are encouraged to request information through the official website before speaking with an Admissions Coordinator over the phone.

Those that are eligible and a good fit for the program will be encouraged to apply following the phone interview.

During the phone consultation, you can also inquire about tuition rates.

Lakeland Girls Academy is considered fairly affordable for a boarding school and tuition assistance may be available on a case-by-case basis.

#4 – Summerlin Academy

summerlin academy
Image: Google Street View

Summerlin Academy is another excellent prep school for stellar academics and developing strong character.

It is regularly among the best military schools in Florida based on academics, extracurricular activities, and college placement.

In less than 2 decades, Summerlin Academy has established an excellent tradition among boarding schools.

The institution focuses on a rigorous academic curriculum in a military-structured environment.

Consequently, cadets are expected to excel in core academic requirements while displaying exemplary behavior and personal conduct.

Summerlin Academy is unique in that it requires students to master a foreign language.

Students that learn a foreign language like Spanish or French receive a significant edge over others that may wait until college to develop a second language.

Meanwhile, more exotic foreign languages like Russian and Japanese are also offered to students.

Summerlin Academy also pushes intense physical fitness standards with a commitment to learning, leading, and serving.

Cadets receive a diverse education including opportunities to thrive in activities like equestrian, archery, scuba, and rifle team generally not offered at regular high schools.

Additionally, those that are interested in joining the military may find the drill team or color guard exciting opportunities.


Average Tuition / Boarding

Summerlin Military Academy desires to motivate young people to become better U.S. citizens.

As a result, cadets learn and practice critical leadership skills that are applicable to school, career, family, and the community.

Cadets at Summerlin Academy often pursue AP and honors courses.

The dual enrollment program enables students to receive college credit while also working toward a high school diploma – a common trait of military boarding schools.

The Summerlin Academy Capstone Project is mandatory and presents students with the unique challenge of solving real world problems.

Students that receive the advanced Summerlin Diploma and Medallion stand out when it is time to begin applying to the most prestigious universities in the nation, including the Ivy League.

Summerlin Academy is considered a magnet or choice program based on Florida public education guidelines.

Therefore, the military school is only available to students within a zone of residence near Summerlin Academy.

For more information on the application process and tuition rates, contact Summerlin Academy at (863) 534-0500.

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#5 – Admiral Farragut Academy

military school for boys in florida
Image: Flickr
  • Location: 501 Park St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710
  • Founded: 1933
  • Grades: K-12
  • # of Students: 500
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 17:1
  • Official Website:

Admiral Farragut Academy represents one of the leading military schools in Florida based on reputation.

The school was established in the 1930s and has continued to educate future generations for close to a century.

The private college prep school not only serves high school and middle school students, but also the grade levels K-5.

Admiral Farragut Academy is located in St. Petersburg, Florida, along Tampa Bay with quick access to the communities of Pasadena, Treasure Island, Gulfport and Seminole.

The academy serves Pinellas County in St. Petersburg along with North Pinellas County (Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, etc.).

It is the second campus as the original academy was based along the banks of the Toms River in New Jersey.

However, Admiral Farragut Academy has called St. Petersburg its home since the 1940s.

While certain aspects of the institution have changed over the decades like accepting female students and adding an elementary school, many of its traditions remain untouched.

NJROTC Program

Admiral Farragut Academy, like most military schools, is well known for its ROTC program.

The Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) is an integral part of the education at the prep school.

Every student in the Upper School (grades 8-12) is required to participate in the NJROTC including taking 3 years of Naval Science.

The Naval Science program is a phenomenal incentive if you are interested in joining the U.S. Navy as it provides an in-depth study of the history, operation, and core concepts of the military branch.

It is one of the few military schools in Florida that specializes in the study of the U.S. Navy and its operations.

For this reason, many attend Admiral Farragut Academy with the ambition of one day serving as a Navy officer or pursuing a career in maritime.

Famous Alumni

Admiral Farragut Academy in Florida has produced many famous alumni including several notable military officers.

Major Megan McClung, the first female U.S. Marine Corps officer to die in combat during the Iraq War, attended Admiral Farragut Academy.

Additionally, Alan Shepard and Charles Duke – 2 of only 12 men ever to walk on the moon – both graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy.


Average Tuition / Boarding

Admiral Farragut Academy allows commuter as well as full-time students.

Thus, students have the option of living on campus or saving money and traveling each day.

The military institution accepts students as early as kindergarten and reviews applicants up to senior year of high school.

However, cadets cannot live on campus at the world-renowned boarding school until the 8th grade.

All in all, there are approximately 500 students at the military school with class sizes that are slightly smaller than the state average.

More than half of the students that attend Admiral Farragut Academy live on campus with a 3:1 ratio of male to female cadets.

Admiral Farragut Academy is accredited by several different Florida and national associations.

It is extremely difficult to get into the academy yet still worth pursuing if you can afford the tuition.

Tuition and fees at Admiral Farragut Academy is determined based on grade level and type of student (day vs. 5-day vs. 7-day boarding).

In most cases, payment plans are available to cover tuition rates that start at $14,400 per year for commuter students.

On the other hand, living on campus at the esteemed boarding school will set you back at least $42,600 per year and increases to over $50,000 for full-time boarding students (grades 8-12).

#6 – Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership

joseph stilwell military academy

Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership is generally shortened to the abbreviation JSMAL.

It is named after General Joseph Stilwell, a highly decorated Army soldier and graduate of West Point.

The military school is different from others on the list in that it specializes exclusively on middle school students between the grade levels 6-8.

The public magnet middle school has a sizeable student enrollment of 750 students yet maintains small class sizes below the state average (15:1 student / teacher ratio).

Cadets are required to wear a uniform (like all military schools) with strict presentation standards.

Furthermore, students must enroll in leadership courses and gain a deeper understanding for the rich military traditions at JSMAL.

Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership provides a more comprehensive and challenging curriculum compared to other nearby schools in Duval County.

Along with a core curriculum, students also must excel in advanced reading and math.

Moreover, cadets may enroll in up to 7 high school courses by the time they finish 8th grade.

It provides students with a major advantage over others in their age group and can help you get noticed by the most prestigious universities in the nation.

Cadets at JSMAL also get to enjoy a full range of athletics, clubs, and campus events.

The military prep school stands by the principles of “L.E.A.D.” which include leadership, empowerment, accountability, and discipline.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership (JSMAL) is available to students in Duval County, Florida.

The public military school is open to applicants so long as you reside in a qualifying neighborhood and meet the general requirements for admission.

Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership is only designed for middle school students so you’ll eventually need to look into another option for high school.

Regardless, middle school students at JSMAL work hard and study under an advanced curriculum that includes a handful of high school level courses.

As a result, cadets may earn high school credit for Algebra, Biology, Geometry, and Spanish before the 9th grade.

Furthermore, Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership features a state of the art PITSCO STEM lab for enhanced learning opportunities.

The campus is constantly looking to improve its technology as it was a recent recipient of a massive educational grant from Verizon Wireless.

Since Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership is a public school, tuition is free as long as you meet the other criteria for admission.

Contact the admissions office at (904) 693-7523 for more details on applying to attend  Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership (JSMAL).

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#7 – Safe Harbor Academy

safe harbor academy - military school in florida
  • Location: 4772 Safe Harbor Way, Jacksonville, FL 32226
  • Founded: 1984
  • Grades: 9-12
  • # of Students: N/A
  • Student / Teacher Ratio: 12:1
  • Official Website:

Safe Harbor Academy exists as a safe alternative for struggling boys needing structure and discipline.

The school is limited as it only accepts male teens between the ages of 14-17.

Those that are fortunate enough to get into the small military school in Florida have a terrific opportunity to turn their life around.

Safe Harbor Academy relies on a maritime-based education that is a welcomed refuge from harsher juvenile programs.

Thus, boys that have gotten in trouble with the law, expelled from school, or have relationship issues with family get a chance to reverse the course and find a new purpose.

Safe Harbor Academy opened its doors in the mid-1980s and the dramatic story of how it came into existence is told in the Hallmark Channel movie “Safe Harbor”.

The academy is slightly different from other military boarding schools in that it relies more on therapeutic values as well as maritime and seamanship training.

Cadets often live aboard boats where they focus on seamanship along with building stronger character traits.

Work ethic is a priority at the school along with teaching the values of teamwork and collaboration.

Students have vocational opportunities to learn carpentry, welding, electrical, and small engine repair job skills.

Through hard work and persistence, at-risk teenage boys often find maritime work rewarding and beneficial.

Consequently, they may decide to pursue a maritime career after graduation or attend college.

The talented team of professionals at Safe Harbor Academy work hard to present a safe, secure, and stable learning environment for troubled teens.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Safe Harbor Academy serves as a nonprofit maritime-based boarding school in Florida.

The story of how the academy came into existence is surreal to the point that it inspired a Hallmark movie.

Now, nearly 40 years after its inception, Safe Harbor Academy continues to inspire and change lives.

Safe Harbor Academy is often considered a more pleasant and resourceful alternative to juvenile programs or therapy.

As a result, the academy is selective in who it decides to enroll and not everyone can afford the tuition costs.

Safe Harbor Academy is open to all teenage boys that qualify for the program regardless of religion, race, color, creed, or national origin.

However, it is not a free military school to attend and medical insurance does not generally cover tuition.

If you are interested in enrolling or know somebody that could benefit, Safe Harbor recommends that you contact the school directly at (904) 757-7918.

There is an initial Screening Inquiry as well as short questionnaire you’ll need to fill out prior to the first appointment.

#8 – Francis Marion Military Academy

francis marion military school in florida
Image: Google Street View

Francis Marion Military Academy is among the top military schools in Florida.

The charter school is similar to the Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership and Summerlin Military Academy in that its open to the public so long as you live in the region.

Students between the grades 9-12 may attend the military school if they reside in Marion County, Florida.

The military school does not offer boarding unlike most of the other institutions on the list.

Regardless, Francis Marion Military Academy is well recognized for its structured learning environment that includes an outstanding Army JROTC program.

Additionally, cadets may pursue dual enrollment classes that provide college accreditation while attending high school.

The public military charter school was founded in 2008 and has gained a terrific reputation in a little over decade of operation.

Academics are more challenging as most cadets decide to pursue honor and AP classes in addition to the core curriculum.

There is an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning as well as an introduction to aerospace.

Like most military schools, Francis Marion Military Academy also expects students to take leadership classes and volunteer in the local community.

Furthermore, all students are required to join the JROTC and wear uniforms daily to class.

The college prep school helps you get recognized by the leading institutions in Florida as well as the rest of the country.

Cadets learn how self-discipline and self-determination leads to a first-class education that equips young people to transition into confident leaders of tomorrow.

Average Tuition / Boarding

Francis Marion Military Academy is tuition-free for those that qualify to attend one of the best military schools in Florida.

You do need to reside in Marion County and meet other qualifications before enrollment.

Students that gain acceptance may consider honors, AP, and dual enrollment courses.

Francis Marion Military Academy is a STEM school which means it places extra emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The academic offerings are designed to challenge cadets academically while establishing real-world relevance.

Students learn from highly acclaimed faculty along with partnerships with other organizations and higher education centers.

There is no cost for attending or receiving textbooks.

However, Francis Marion Military Academy does not offer on-campus dormitories like most of the top military schools in Florida.

Students that are interested in attending need to first apply for consideration.

You can contact the admissions department at Francis Marion Military Academy at (352) 245-6600.

Related Article: Which Branch Of The Military Should I Join? 7 Things To Consider

Rob V.
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Florida Military Schools

Florida Military Schools

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Learn more about the various military schools, boarding schools, and academies for both boys and girls in the state of Florida. Includes all the info you need to know about each.
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