The US Air Force is one of the best branches of the military to launch a new career.
While most people think it’s all for the pilots, many don’t realize the enormous infrastructure required to dominate the air in foreign conflict.
If you’ve been thinking about joining the Air Force, but don’t know which jobs are the best, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’m going to explain the 10 best jobs in the United States Air Force that help in civilian life.
All of these Air Force jobs are in demand in 2020, and can turn in to very lucrative careers once you leave service.
Special Note: This list is for enlisted personnel, click here to see the best Air Force jobs for officers.
10 Best Air Force Jobs
#10: Legal Operations
Air Force paralegals and Staff Judge Advocates work to ensure service members are legally compliant in many military operations and even personal matters.
When using tax dollars to complete missions, the Air Force must ensure it is not involved in any financial fraud or misuse cases.
The enlisted and officer personnel that complete these tasks are well versed in law in many different applications.
Civilian legal practices look for Air Force veterans due to the fact that they have been dealing in federal law and even sometimes state law depending on the situation.
Major companies also like to stay out of legal trouble so a team of legal personnel with a high attention to detail to compliance is basically a requirement in this day and age.
Avg. salary for paralegals (2020): $54,500
#9: Command Post/Control Center
Air Force bases have a lot of moving parts and information flow paired with timely communication is key to ensuring Air superiority.
Command Post personnel are the sole point of contact no matter the emergency.
Command Post personnel ensure, the moment something happens, the correct people are contacted to best deal with the situation to minimize further effects of an issue or speed up the reaction time to get operations back on track.
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Emergency dispatch centers in the civilian world work in the same way.
Civilian organizations highly prefer individuals that have experience in keeping calm in any situation in order to ensure any and all information is relayed in a timely manner.
Some organizations can be local 911 operators, the American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security and even private organizations with high operations natures.
Avg. salary for Dept. Of Homeland Security personnel (2020): $75,827
#8: Logistics Planners
When you look at the things around you no matter where you are sitting you may find a plethora of different items that originate in many different places.
Logistics is the reason why you are able to go where you want for vacation, why you have many of your favorite brands and furniture in your home, and even in some cases how your home was even built.
Air Force logistics ensure people and cargo get where they need to be when they need to be there and sometimes earlier.
The suspense of ordering something from a website and waiting for it to get there is what adds to fun of a job in logistics.
Logistics planners can work anywhere there is movement of goods or people.
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Many people think of just mail handlers and parcel services in the civilian world but it encompasses so much more. If it can be moved, civilian companies need a logistics planner to get it moved.
Related AFSC’s That Can Help You Land A Logistics Job
Average salary for logistics planners (2020): $45,007
When thinking about busy military operations, there is a lot of room for error and fatalities.
Air Force safety personnel ensure all actions done are evaluated with risk management protocols that ensure individuals can complete tasks without injury or damage to expensive property.
This experience can be used in many fields such as construction, flight line operations, maintenance (plumbing or electrical) and even event planning.
Before something takes place, Air Force safety personnel think about everything bad that can happen and attempt to implement a fix to prevent that from happening before the event is even approved to take place.
This proactive mindset and attention to detail can keep many civilian companies out of courtrooms and keep workers at work!
Average Health and Safety specialist salary (2020): $62,609
#6: Law Enforcement
Whether you work to secure the base and personnel on the base or investigate crimes within the Air Force, military law enforcement officers work to achieve the safest environment for all personnel.
In fact, Air Force bases are so secure that insurance companies even have special discounts for those living and working on base.
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Civilian law enforcement agencies love the experience, physical health and discipline of military law enforcement officers.
It’s considered one of the best jobs in the Air Force for a reason…you’re almost guaranteed a job after your time is up.
Average Law Enforcement Salary (2020): $55,316
#5: Air Traffic Control/Airfield Operations
When you have planes, you must have an airfield, and when you have an airfield you must have well-trained individuals to run it to decrease fatalities and financial losses due to accidents.
In the civilian realm, there are busy airports that need really good operators to ensure there are no incidents. In the Air Force, there are airfields that have to be able to support all types of military and civilian aircraft ranging from unmanned aircraft, helicopters, fighter jets, cargo planes, and even civilian aircraft.
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They must be able to understand the different aircraft and the way they work while ensuring everything moves harmoniously.
Additionally, they have to be able to work on the fly and handle stress easily.
Things change at a rapid pace, and it’s up the Air Traffic controllers to manage the mess.
Coping with stress, working on the fly, and minimizing incidents with various types of aircraft moving together make Air Traffic Controllers and Airfield management technicians highly sought after by civilian aircraft.
Average Air Traffic Controller Salary (2020): $118,430
In order to have the best Air Force in the world, everyone has to be healthy. The enlisted and officer personnel that work in the medical field, work together to provide just about any service you could get at your average hospital.
The Air Force has everything from Dental technicians to surgeons that keep their personnel in tip-top shape.
One field that will be with us as long as technology is medical support.
No matter how much technology in the world we have, we still need people to take care of us when we just aren’t sure about that ache or pain in our back.
Many medical fields in the Air Force translate directly to civilian fields that can be quite lucrative, here’s a few of them:
- Aerospace Medical Service (4N0X1)
- Medical Material (4A1X1)
- Biomedical Equipment (4A2X1)
- Public Health (4E0X1)
- Medical Laboratory (4T0X1)
Average Medical field salary (physicians / dentists): $192,148 – $343,958
#3: Cyber Warfare
With the ever-changing technology state our world is in, we need people to be able to protect our information and servers from outside sources.
The information the Air Force has can be extremely detrimental to national security if placed in the wrong hands.
Air Force enlisted and officers work in a capacity of ethical hackers assisting decision-makers in hardening security measures on servers that hold sensitive information.
Think of them as hackers for good.
Individuals that are trained on the hardened security of government systems are a gem to private companies that do not want proprietary information to be released to the wrong people.
Just think, if an organization uses a computer or server for anything, they need to be able to protect it.
To be able to protect it, they need people to hack it to identify vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity is one of the safest jobs in the Air Force, both in the literal sense and job opportunity sense.
You’ll walk out of your time in the Air Force with potential for a very lucrative career.
Average Application Security Engineer salary (2020): $97,684
#2: Military Intelligence
Needless to say, military intelligence officers and enlisted personnel can be the best at keeping secrets.
The military intelligence career field holds civilian marketability just for the security clearance alone.
Moreover, military intelligence operators brief higher-ups on emerging issues which allow the proper officials to make the most informed decisions which can affect national security.
Military Intelligence officials can make careers in the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations cells and the like.
Also, with their gained ability to brief officials, their public speaking skills are some of the best.
This skill can translate into motivational speaking and advisement roles to government officials outside of the military.
Average Military Intelligence Officer salary (2020): $43,395 (note: this number is way higher for civilian employment)
#1: Air Force Pilot
Contrary to popular belief, just about all branches of the military have pilots and aircraft.
For obvious reasons, however, the Air Force is the first branch that comes to mind when thinking about becoming a pilot.
Air Force pilots are among the officer tier which means you must complete a 4-year degree and obtain a commission before getting your wings.
The civilian marketability for Air Force Pilots is so extreme that the Air Force is currently giving pilots bonuses of as much as 420k just to continue serving as a pilot.
Airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, and United have things to offer pilots such as more time home, better pay and a better quality of life than within the Air Force.
Also, there are private contract pilot jobs that give the pilot a personal client to fly for so they may get the same travel advantages without the military formalities.
Average Pilot salary (2020): $130,059
And there you have it, the 10 best jobs in the Air Force for 2020.
There are 100’s of other available jobs, but if you’re thinking civilian marketability once you get out, you should focus on these 10.
As mentioned previously, all of these jobs offer huge potential upon completion of your service.
Related Article: Which Branch Of The Military Should I Join? 7 Things To Consider
The Air Force has given me and many others the opportunity to learn how to do a job and be marketable in the civilian world as well as an educational opportunity to obtain college-level education in your field of expertise.
Featured image: wikimedia
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