Nearly half a million Airmen are currently enlisted in the Air Force today. These numbers reflect the brave men and women who are actively enlisted, or serving as a reservist or an air guard. There are plenty of things about the Air Force that have drawn so many people to this particular branch of the armed forces, and if you’re looking to find out what a career in the Air Force has in store for you, read on to find answers to six of the most frequently asked questions about the Air Force.
Here are some interesting facts about the Air Force that may surprise you:
• The Air Force is comprised of 80% men and 20% women
• The Air Force became its own independent branch of the armed forces in 1947
• Although the Air Force is the newest branch of the military, the USAF is the most technologically advanced Air Force in the world!
6 Things You Should Be Thinking About: Is The Air Force Right For YOU?
As you consider joining the Air Force, there are a few key questions you should be asking yourself. These six questions can be a great way to determine if a life in the Air Force is right for you.
1. How many years can I commit to the Air Force?
Anyone who enlists in the armed forces is obligated to commit years of service to their training and duties. The question you should be asking yourself is how long you would like to commit for. Are you looking to commit to a few years of service and return to civilian life, or are you looking to make a career out of the Air Force? Understanding your ultimate goal is a great way to find out how a life in the Air Force can benefit you.
2. Am I looking to serve in the Air Force full-time or part-time?
One great thing about the Air Force is that you have options when it comes to enlisting. You can choose to enlist in the Air Force, the National Guard or the Reserves. Each branch has different service requirements which allow you to choose which option is right for you. The Air Force’s required commitments are as follows:
• Active Duty: Upon enlisting, you will be required to serve between X-X years in the armed forces. Within those years, you will be deployed between X-X months, with X-X weeks of leave time in which you can return home, travel or do anything you wish.
• Air Force Reserve – Joining the Air Force Reserve is a great option for serving your country without giving a full time commitment. As a Reserve, you will be required to commit to an eight year service period in which you will be required to spend one weekend per month training. You will be required to attend two week training periods per year.
• Air Force National Guard – The National Guard program works exactly like the Reserve program, with the exception that National Guards are only committed to six years of service.
3. What kind of career opportunities am I looking for in the Air Force?
As you think about enlisting in the Air Force, one of the most important aspects to consider is what kind of career opportunities you’re looking for? Are you looking to further your education and create an established career for yourself in the Air Force, or are you looking to take your skills and knowledge and apply them to jobs outside of the armed forces? You should spend an apt amount of time deciding what you plan to do after your first enlistment period is over. This will help you decide which direction to go with any future employment opportunities.
4. What education benefits are available to me in the Air Force?
For many people, the path to attaining a higher education is full of obstacles that make their dreams of attending a college or university seem impossible. If there is one thing about the Air Force that draws people towards enlisting their time, it is the ability to obtain a first class education. For years Airmen have taken advantage of the financial incentives provided by the military for continuing education. This includes those who serve full time in the Air Force as well as Reservists, National Guards and veterans. Active Airmen have the option to enroll in the college or university of their choice, while Reservists and National Guards can enroll in one of the many ROTC programs available nationwide. Veterans have plenty of veteran college options available to them as well, allowing them to continue their education after they have returned to civilian life.
5. What are some of the benefits I will receive for enlisting in the Air Force?
Enlisted Airmen are entitled to some very lucrative benefits during and after their time of service. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
• Financial assistance to ensure success in higher education
• Military pay that increases as you get promoted to higher ranks
• Retirement plans that allow you to receive full retirement compensation after just 20 years of service
• Financial services that assist Airmen and their families such as financial planning, access to a credit union and home loans
• Fully comprehensive health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits are available to Airmen and their families
• Basic living expenses are covered for those who plan to live on-base, and those who live off base will receive housing allowances
6. How much military pay can I expect to receive?
This is one of the most important questions many people have about the Air Force: They want to know how much enlisted Airmen make during their time of service. While the pay scale varies greatly depending on the years of service, education and other factors, each enlisted Airmen is entitled to a salary that increases throughout their service. Starting pay for first time enlisters starts at nearly $18,000 per year and tops out at over $240,000 per year for senior officers! This just goes to show that there are endless possibilities for those who choose to join the Air Force.
Have more questions about the Air Force? Click here to visit our Air Force Jobs page to learn about the jobs and careers available to enlisted Airmen, as well as the options for continuing education through the armed forces.