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An Air Force Career is Enhanced by Education
There are many exciting directions a career in the Air Force can go. With so many different career paths, it can seem like a daunting task to advance in the Air Force. The purpose of this article is to explain how an Air Force career in largepart depends on your level of education.
A key element to Air Force advancement is education.
As soon as an enlistee joins the Air Force, they are enrolled in America’s largest community college, the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) at Maxwell AFB. The CCAF is dedicated solely to Air Force personnel, combining on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses that help Air Force airmen achieve their Associates Degree in Applied Science in one of five career areas of the Air Force. Enlisted airmen and officers have access to 13 different schools, stationed all over the country to further their education and careers.
The Air Force places a premium value on education; accordingly,the Air Force has established programs that help you pay for college; one program is the Air Force Tuition Assistance (TA) program. The TA program pays 100 percent of the cost of college courses with a limit of $4,500 per fiscal year. Being in the Air Force also entitles you to the assistance from the Montgomery G.I. Bill.
Both enlisted airmen and officers have unique programs that provide assistance with furthering education. For officers working on engineering or meteorological, the Air Force Technical Degree Sponsorship Program (TDSP) helps you earn money while finishing your college education. As an officer in the Air Force you could be paid to continue on with your graduate studies at Air University, state colleges or universities around the world.
A program for those considering enlisting in the Air Force is the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP). This program helps people who have taken a few college courses by compensating some of the costs. At the time of signing the enlistment contract this program can be signed up for as well.
Air Force advancement is competitive and is available for those airmen and officers who successfully seek out and pursue professional development, especially through higher-education opportunities. Air Force advancement involves more than technical, scientific or advanced specialty training – it requires an aptitude for lifelong learning. In other words, pursuing an advanced degree may help Air Force personnel demonstrate their leadership potential.
Officer careers in the Air Force require a higher-education degree and demonstrated ability to lead. For example, flight specialties in the Air Force, including fighter pilots, are officers that have received advanced training and education. Technical engineering, advanced scientific, and management positions are available on the officer Air Force career path.
Enlisted careers in the Air Force include mechanical, administrative, and many technical opportunities to work on high technology defense equipment like aircraft, munitions, and sensitive electronic systems. For example, electronic professionals in the Air Force work on avionics systems, surveillance and remote sensing technology, as well as missile and space programs, including satellites (source: Air Force website).
To be competitive for Air Force advancement opportunities, a higher level of education is needed. Regardless of the career path chosen with the Air Force, a willingness to learn and apply oneself will increase these opportunities. Working towards a degree that is relevant to Air Force goals can set the precedent for a successful Air Force career, whether it is an officer career or an enlisted career.
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