How To Enlist in the Air Force

"The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win ... in air, space and cyberspace." You can join the Air Force as an enlisted member or as an officer depending on your qualifications and special interests. Here's how to get started:

To join as an enlisted member of the Air Force the first step is to visit an Air Force recruiter. To locate a recruiter look on the yellow pages in your home town or visit the Air Force website. After the recruiter briefs you about all the benefits and the opportunities the Air Force has to offer he will then schedule you for a written test called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This test is a multiple choice test based on basic subject matters like math, language, and science. Based on the score of this test the Air Force will determine what career options there are for you. Visit your local library for ASVAB study guides before taking the test. Once you pass the ASVAB the recruiter then will proceed to schedule you for a physical test at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to ensure that you are physically qualified to join the Air Force. You would make a trip to MEPS for initial processing, then a second trip to MEPS for final processing and enlistment on the day you ship out to basic training. Basic training consists of 8-weeks of basic military training that gets you ready for the military way of life. After you complete this training you will then go to your technical school for several weeks or months (depending on occupation) before you get assigned to a base as readied Airmen.

To join as an officer you have several options. You can join the Air Force by being accepted at the US Air Force Academy, you can also join by enrolling in at an Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AFROTC), or Officer Training School (OTS).

To join the Air Force by the AFROTC program you must be enrolled in a bachelor's program from a college that has an AFROTC detachment or be in a college that allows you to enroll in AFROTC courses. You also need to pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test offered at AFROTC detachments. I recommend you visit your library and study for the test before taking it. This test is a multiple choice test based on basic subject matters like math, language, and science. AFROTC consist of Aerospace courses and leadership laboratories taken in conjunction with your regular bachelor's classes. AFROTC has the 4, 2, and 1 year program depending on how close you are to finishing your bachelor's because having a degree is necessary before commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force.

To join the Air Force through OTS you need to have finished your bachelor's. OTS is a very competitive program and Air Force usually looks for candidates who possess a technical degree like engineering, and also look for candidates that can fill their high demand positions like medical doctors, nurses, lawyers, and chaplains.

The person looking to join the Air Force through OTS has to look for an OTS recruiter and submit a package of qualifications. Once the person has been notified that they have been accepted they have to go through 12-weeks of basic military instruction courses leading to a commission as second lieutenant.

When you join the Air Force in any fashion you are committing your life to serve your country. Joining the Air Force is a calling where integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do are vital for this nation.


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