Applying to Join the Air Force
With over 200 career options, the Air Force offers just about something for every job interest. From the cyber warrior to the fighter pilot and special operations airmen, all types of highly qualified people with a large variety of technical skills, physical ability, and education levels join today's Air Force every day. If you are considering joining the Air Force, do your research and narrow down your interests long before you enter the recruiter's office. If your first research and educational experience is in the Air Force recruiter's office, you may hear first what the Air Force needs over what you may be interested in if you do not do your homework.
Air Force Specialty Codes (Jobs) in Need
Every quarter, the Air Force publishes the Air Force Stressed List. If your main interests are part of this list, you are increasing your chances to be able to enter as long as you meet all of the entry standards for military service. The Air Force requires higher ASVAB scores than the other services generally as most of the jobs in the Air Force are in the highly technical realm of training. This Stressed List is determined by jobs in the Air Force that need filling with new recruits, more senior airmen, or officers as well. As of 2017, there were 50 jobs in the Air Force that were listed on the Stressed List. In fact, pilots are extremely undermanned to the tune of nearly 2,000 as of 2018. In fact, there are programs considering highly qualified enlisted airmen to attend flight school, similar to the Army Warrant Officer Pilot program to fill the needs of the Air Force.
Air Force Facts
The Air Force was created in 1947 under the National Security Act. Prior to 1947, the Air Force was a separate Corps of the Army. The primary mission of the Army Air Corps was to support Army ground forces. However, World War II showed that air power had much more potential than simply supporting ground troops, so the Air Force was established as a separate service.
As mechanical, computers, and aviation/rocket design advanced, so did the Air Force evolve into what is today—a significant part of the United States Strategic Defense posture. There were about 325,000 Air Force personnel on active duty at the end of 2017.
The primary mission of the Air Force is to defend the United States (and its interests) through the exploitation of air and space. To accomplish this mission, the Air Force operates fighter aircraft, tanker aircraft, light and heavy bomber aircraft, transport aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and helicopters, which are used mainly for the rescue of downed-aircrew, and special operations missions. The Air Force is also responsible for all military satellites and controls all of our Nation's strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. Just how important is the Air Force to our defenses? Well, if you consider the most strategic defense policy in our arsenal—the Nuclear Triad: Strategic bombers, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ICBMs—the Air Force owns two-thirds of that vital security mission.
The Air Force receives a large part of the Department of Defense budget and it is estimated that it will likely cost more than $250 billion dollars to upgrade the Air Force components of the Nuclear Triad. With the entire Department of Defense budget being in excess of $600 billion in 2018–2019, you can see that the Air Force is still considered a highly important branch of service in the defense of our country. The proposed Air Force budget is $156.3 billion for the fiscal year 2019. This upgrade of the Nuclear Triad will be a decade-long project more than likely.
The following links will assist in many of the details of what the enlistment process is like in the Air Force. Advancing through the recruiting stage and into the Basic Military Training phase requires preparation. See below for tips on preparing yourself mentally and physically for your first several months of being an Airman.
Once you complete Basic Military Training, getting assigned to your duty station and training schools will begin. Since the Air Force is highly technical, these schools are challenging academically as well as tactically. After your training, you will be sent to your duty station and likely be on a schedule for a deployment overseas.
As you advance with your career, there are many opportunities that will allow you to advance your education and rank as a senior enlisted or officer commissioning programs.