Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Join The Air Force

Enlistment Incentives

United Stated Air Force - Thunderbirds
Oscar von Bonsdorff/Flickr

The Air Force offers very few enlistment incentives. They don't need them because they generally receive more applicants than they are able to accept. Out of all the branches of service, the Air Force is the most competitive with regular military enlisted recruits. Within the community of those seeking employment by the military, the Air Force is known as offering the most technical and applicable training for future professions outside of the military.

 Perhaps that is the reason for the flux of candidates every year.  Or perhaps, it is also known as having the nicest living quarters, base facilities, and deployment cycles of the other branches of service.  Now, that maybe perception by the recruits or excellent recruiting materials by the Air Force as all branches offer highly technical and advanced skills ideal for civilian professions, you just have to know where to look. 

Regardless, being an excellent student, meet the physical and height/weight standards, and scoring well on the ASVAB are three things you must do in order to be accepted into the Air Force without issue.  

ASVAB Score - Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99 Point ASVAB (Note: The "Overall" ASVAB Score is known as the "AFQT Score," or "Armed Forces Qualification Test Score"). The vast majority (over 70 percent) of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment score 50 or above.

Education – It is very rare to enter the Air Force without a high school diploma.  Even with a GED, the chances are not good. Only about 1/2 of a percent of all Air Force enlistments each year are GED-Holders. To even be considered for one of these very few slots, a GED-holder must score a minimum of 65 on the AFQT.

The Air Force allows a higher enlistment rank for recruits with college credit. 

Air Force Incentives IF You Qualify

The Air Force offers enlistment bonuses in only a handful of critically-needed jobs. The Air Force does not have a "college fund," such as the Army and Navy does, which adds money to the GI Bill, but it does offer a College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP), of up to $10,000.  Other services have significantly higher CLRP rates reaching up to $65,000 for eligible college graduates who decide to enlist.

Like the other services, the Air Force offers advanced enlistment rank up to E-3, for such things as college credits or JROTC. Additionally, the Air Force has accelerated promotion for those who enlist for six years. The Air Force has four and six year active duty contracts, and offer a very few (less than one percent) National Call to Service enlistment contracts (2 year enlistments) each year.

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