air force age limits
Air Force

Air Force Age Limit For 2021

Active Duty Air Force Age Limit

Like the other branches of the military, the minimum and maximum age you can join the Air Force will depend on which career path you take. (ie officer or enlisted)

Here are the minimum and maximum age limits for the Air Force in 2021:

  • Enlisted:  The minimum age to join as an enlisted is 17, and the maximum age is 39.
  • Officer: The minimum age to join as an officer is 18, and the maximum age is 39.

Exceptions are made for those with healthcare experience, attorneys, clergy, and prior military enlistment. A waiver will be required.

In this scenario, the minimum age is 18 and the maximum age is 48.

Air Force Reserve Age Limit

To join the Air Force reserve, the age requirements are as follows:

  • Non-prior service: 17 – 39 years old
  • Prior service: Your adjusted age must be less than 40. *

* How To Calculate Your Adjusted Age

For prior service Air Force reserve candidates, your adjusted age must be less than 40 years old.

You can calculate this by simply subtracting your years of service from your age.

So for example, if you served for 10 years in the active duty Air Force, and you’re 48 years old, your “Adjusted Age” would be 38.

This would make you qualified to serve in the Air Force reserves.

Related Article: Does The National Guard Pay For College?

Pilot Age Requirements / Limit

Just like with the height and weight requirements, there are different age limitations for pilots.

While the minimum age for pilots is 18, it’s very uncommon for a pilot to be that young.

The average age for Air Force pilots entering flight school is around 23 years old.

Before earning a slot at Undergraduate Pilot Training (aka UPT), the candidate must first meet with a selection board.

This board will determine whether or not you’re competitive enough for a slot in UPT, and must be conducted before you reach 29 years of age.

You must also be enrolled in UPT before the age of 33.

With that said, age waivers are available for potential pilots up to the age of 35.

I realize all of this might be a little confusing, so here’s a handy chart which sums it all up in general:

 Age (Min. - Max)Weight (Min. - Max)Height (Min. - Max)
Officer (non-pilot)18 - 39 yrs. old91 - 250 lbs.58 - 80 inches
Enlisted (non-pilot)17 - 39 yrs. old91 - 250 lbs.58 - 80 inches
Pilot / Navigator18 - 28 1/2 yrs. old *91 - 250 lbs.58 - 80 inches

* Age waivers up to 35 years old


Craig S.
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USAF Age Limit

USAF Age Limit

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See the US Air Force age limits for pilots in both active duty, as well as the National Guard. Also includes the age limits for officers and enlisted.
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24 Replies to “Air Force Age Limit For 2021

    1. Hey Laura,
      Sorry for the late reply. Yes, since you are a registered nurse the Air Force would consider granting you a waiver. However, 48 is the maximum age one would be able to join, so if you’re going to do it you need to get in touch with a recruiter ASAP to start the waiver process.

  1. I am age 35 with a Master’s. Can I enter the Air Force to fly fighter jets? If yes, what step do I need to take next?

    1. Unfortunately, that’s not possible Nate. As per Air Force requirements, you have to be enrolled in Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) by the age of 30.

      1. I’m 32 with a bachelors and my commercial fixed wing pilot ratings with 1,100hrs. Would I have a shot with helicopters in the Air Force?

        1. Like I told Nate, it’s unfortunately not possible. As per Air Force requirements, you have to be enrolled in Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) by the age of 30.

  2. Hello, I am 37 years old and thinking of joining the airforce once I am done with my Bachelor’s degree in computer systems in 3 months. Is there a limitation of how many kids I have or support?

    Thank you

    1. As far as I’m aware, there’s no limits to how many children you have. With that said, the age cutoff for the Air Force for both enlisted and officers is 39, so you should get the ball rolling ASAP.

      1. Hi I’m 22 and I am 6 foot tall and i weigh 130 pounds ie there a way to join the Airforce and get weight waiver?

    1. Well, you’re right at the upper limit. So if you’re gonna join, you better hit the recruiters office like yesterday!

  3. Do you have any information on how to obtain an age waiver for the Reserves? I am prior service (7 years) and currently 49. I have been offered a position with a unit, but need the waiver and don’t know where to start. Thanks.

  4. Great article. I know you have answered this question before, but do you think I could get an age waiver to be a pilot in the Air Force at age 36 considering that I have 15 years/10,000+ of flight experience in helicopters and airplanes including contract flying in Afghanistan (Hueys), Medevac (H135, H125, B407), Fire fighting, and now fly for United Express (Trans States Airlines) in the E145 Jet. I have part 141 Chief Pilot experience, Part 135 check airman experience, and am just finishing my BS Aeronautics at Embry Riddle.

    Helicopter ATP, CFI/CFII – 9000+ hrs
    Fixed Wing ATP 1200+ hrs

    I would love to be a military pilot or instructor in the reserves. If not, what job would you recommend in the reserves that is based in Colorado that best suits my experience? Thank you!


    1. Hey Ian,
      It’s definitely possible, and given your qualifications, you actually may have a better chance than most. I would talk with an Air Force reserve recruiter and see what they can do!

  5. To become a pilot for the Air Force, would I have to get any type of eye surgery such as PRK or LASIK, if not then am I allowed glasses or would I need to get contacts? Also I’m 17 and what should my general steps I should take or follow to becoming a Pilot?

    1. Hey Jared,
      Sorry for the late reply. We plan on getting a full article about how to become a fighter pilot shortly. Just need to find an actual fighter pilot to write the article! Stay tuned!

      Rob V.

  6. Do you think the airforce may reduce this age limit soon? I am working on my degree and will be done in a couple of years, I am 32 already and I wanted to join as an officer.

    1. It’s certainly possible. If they ever do make any age changes, we’ll definitely update this page accordingly!

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