The United States Air Force maintains a number of different programs to assist their personnel in getting a higher education. The Air Force has been a leader in using education to remake their service in the modern era. Each of the three choices leads to a degree or certificate of some kind, but each of them also teach things that are often viewed as intangible. They are in the process of helping teach leadership, as well as an awareness of the world we live in.
The Air Force began to change in the 1960s and 1970s in their approach to formal enlisted education for leaders in the ranks. It started the first Service sponsored Community college, the Community College of the Air Force is a fine educational program that helps many personnel get degrees annually. The Air Force PME Resident program has three schools for leadership for enlisted personnel and each is required to advance to a higher level. These schools are;
Leadership Airmen School- This school is to help instill the basics of leadership and to train Airmen for Senior Airmen leadership billets. This is an enlisted entry-level school, after having been in the service for a specific length of time. It is a requirement for being advanced to the rank of Staff Sergeant. It deals with profession of arms, communication in both oral and written formats, and how to be an effective leader and motivate people. It is a leadership course lasting 4 weeks, and gives practice, instruction and skills to students learning how to become proficient leaders. Senior Airmen have to complete this school to be advanced to Staff Sergeant.
NCO Academy- This is a school that is a little more in depth than the leadership Airman academy. It’s a 6 week academy course of study, and while it does feature much of the same coursework as the airman leadership school it goes more in depth on the details, including formal and informal leadership, effective written and spoken communication, group dynamics and personnel management. It is necessary to complete before achieving the rank of Air Force Master Sergeant.
Senior NCO Academy- this is a 7-week course that is designed for the top non commissioned officers in a unit or command. It is held in Alabama at Maxwell AFB and it is designed for Master, Senior Master, and Command Master Sergeant candidates. The course is made for those individuals wanting to advance to a higher rank, and it teaches leadership and the latest in Air Force procedures.