In the Air Force, structural specialists build structures from the ground up, ranging from emergency shelters to living spaces to locker rooms. They're also tasked with performing repairs to Air Force structures, often in hazardous or combat environments. These airmen are kind of like the construction crew of the Air Force, but with a specific focus on structures. The Air Force categorizes this job as a specialty code (AFSC) 3E3X1.
Duties of Air Force Structural Specialists
These airmen prepare and interpret working drawings and schematics, and survey proposed work sites to determine what labor and resources will be needed. They review structural work in progress, and oversee work schedules, making changes when conditions warrant.
They build many different structures as well as the parts of each structure, including pouring foundations, building floor slabs, walls, roofs, steps, doors, and windows. The structures include both prefabricated and permanent buildings. They use materials such as mortar, concrete, and stucco as part of their finishing work, and they also fabricate and repair needed metal parts and assemblies.
A big part of this job involves building and erecting steel structures, which involves welding and soldering. They apply protective coatings to steel and other metals, such as primers and sealants. These airmen also troubleshoot and install locking devices that range from standard keyed entry locks to more sophisticated cipher and panic hardware.
As with most construction engineers, these airmen also erect the scaffolding to perform their work. And part of their responsibilities includes making sure all structures are compliant with commercial and military regulations and standards. They perform inspections with an eye toward finding corrective action for problems and submit and review supply and equipment requisitions.
Training as an Air Force Structural Specialist
Airmen in this role complete the standard 7.5 weeks in basic training, and one week of Airmen's Week. That's followed by 90 days of technical school training at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center in Mississippi.
Qualifying as an Air Force Structural Specialist
To be eligible for this job, you'll need a composite score of 47 in the mechanical (M) Air Force Qualification Area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests.
There's no Department of Defense security clearance required, but you'll need a normal color vision, and be qualified to operate government vehicles.
You should have no fear of heights, and a high school diploma with course work in mathematics, mechanical drawing and use of masonry and woodworking tools are preferable. You must complete a basic structural course as well.
Before you can receive this AFSC, you should have experience constructing and repairing buildings and heavy structures, erecting prefabricated structures, laying masonry units and mixing, applying, and finishing concrete, plaster, stucco, and mortar.
You also should have experience erecting steel, using protective equipment and fabricating, installing, and repairing metal components using gas or arc welding equipment.
Civilian Jobs Similar to Air Force Structural Specialist
Airmen in this job will be well-qualified to work in a variety of civilian construction jobs since they'll have experience with many tools and welding processes. Construction worker, foreman, and steelworker are all potential career options with this level of training.