The United States Air Force (USAF) serves as the aerial warfare service branch of the military.
It is one of the eight uniformed services and one of the most recent (the Air Force was created in 1947).
Are you looking to serve the country in the U.S. Air Force?
Now, you need to determine your next move as you prepare to officially join the military branch.
Speaking to an Air Force recruiter near you is an important step in the enlistment process.
As a result, this guide walks you through four steps you’ll want to complete before you meet with a representative of the United States Air Force.
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Step 1: Make Sure You Qualify
The U.S. Air Force is the second-largest service branch with nearly 330,000 active-duty members.
Additionally, the Air Force employs 145,000 civilian personnel along with nearly 70,000 reserve airmen.
The Air National Guard has an additional 105,000 members affiliated with the Air Force.
While the USAF has a large enrollment it’s actually more selective compared to other branches of the Armed Forces.
The United States Air Force recruits 24,000 people on a yearly basis.
It may seem like a large number yet when you compare it to the competition it’s important that you meet all of the guidelines to guarantee enlistment.
The Air Force has basic requirements for consideration:
- You need to be between the ages of 17-39.
- A citizen of the United States or a legal, permanent resident.
- Completed high school with a diploma, GED, or GED with at least 15 college credits.
After you meet the basic criteria, recruits of the Air Force need to fulfill additional obligations.
For starters, you need to complete the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
The series of tests cover four areas crucial to the USAF (arithmetic reasoning, work knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and mathematics).
The ASVAB determines your strength and weaknesses.
It enables the Air Force to find a military specialty code (or job) that is suitable based on your strengths and knowledge.
Secondly, new Air Force recruits must meet physical fitness standards.
The Department of Defense uses a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to assess your physical and mental capabilities.
You’ll need to pass MEPS before you progress to Air Force boot camp.
Air Force boot camp (or Basic Military Training – BMT) lasts 8.5 weeks.
The training is demanding yet challenges you enough to make sure you are prepared and physically ready for life in the military.
You can make sure you meet all the qualifications and prepare for the Air Force by downloading the official Delayed Entry Program (DEP) app here.
Related Article – Delayed Entry Program (DEP) Guide
Step 2: Finding an Air Force Recruiter
The United States Air Force has a core mission of guaranteeing “air superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.”
If this sounds like the type of military branch you would like to serve and you meet the initial qualifications – you should reach out to an Air Force recruiter.
How do you find one?
Clearly the simplest way is to head on over to Google and type in “find an Air Force recruiter near me” or you search for “Air Force recruiter near ____”.
Secondly, you may visit the official USAF website and find a recruiter.
Additionally, high schools and colleges frequently have Air Force recruiters stop by to help answer questions.
It is a great opportunity to ask all the pressing questions you have about joining the USAF.
The government hires Air Force recruiters to promote the advantages of the military, so keep that in mind.
Their job is to sell all the benefits of joining and improve enlistment numbers.
It means that you should listen closely to what they have to say, but also follow up with other resources that have knowledge and experience serving in the military.
An Air Force recruiter will always give you the most positive perspective of serving the military, however, that doesn’t mean the Armed Forces are for everyone.
Related Article: Air Force Height And Weight Requirements
Step 3: Getting Ready for Your Visit
It’s natural to feel a little nervous and tense about meeting with an Air Force recruiter.
However, you shouldn’t worry about the appointment as military recruiters are good communicators and usually upfront and honest.
Regardless, meeting with an Air Force recruiter is kind of like a job interview.
The recruiter wants to get to know you and find out why you are interested in joining the US Air Force.
It helps to present yourself in a professional appearance with nice clothes and good hygiene.
The Armed Forces expect this type of behavior once you enlist, so you might as well leave a good first impression.
The USAF is traditionally more selective compared to the Army and Navy.
Therefore, first impressions count and you want to be well researched so that you can ask really good questions.
Most recruiting offices allow appointments in-person or by phone or live chat.
Furthermore, some enable you to drop-in with questions if you are unable to schedule an interview.
If you are struggling to think of questions to ask a military recruiter, we put together a very helpful guide here on the subject.
Additionally, it is worthwhile to mention that you should go to the appointment with a family member or friend.
It always helps to have a second opinion, especially from someone you know, trust, and respect.
While the USAF recruiter may talk you into taking the ASVAB or another procedure to begin the process keep in mind that you don’t have to sign off on anything during the first meeting.
It is completely acceptable to visit a recruiter, ask a ton of questions, and inform them you would like more time to make a decision.
The enlistment process takes time and several steps where you can change your mind until you sign the final enlistment contract.
Related Article – Pros And Cons Of Joining The Air Force
Step 4: What to do after you Meet with a Recruiter
You can take a deep breath after your first encounter with a military recruiter.
You likely feel a lot better and more at ease after the meeting.
If not, it could be a telltale sign that serving the Armed Forces is not right for you at the moment.
It’s important to trust your instincts as well as continue with additional research on the USAF.
Are you sure the United States Air Force is the military branch you wish to serve after meeting with a recruiter?
If so, it’s time to follow-up with a recruiter and continue the enlistment process.
The recruiter may have already scheduled a time and day for you to take the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
If not, you should contact the recruiter and inform them that you would like to complete the series of tests.
You can’t move forward with the enlistment process without taking the examination.
In the meantime, you can also prepare for enlistment by exercising daily to meet height, weight, and physical fitness requirements.
Additionally, you’ll need to work out the conditions of your service contract.
For example, you could get paid more for special training or education, or joining a military specialty code that is in demand.
An Air Force recruiter has more information regarding a signing bonus and other special pay.
Moreover, you need to pick a start date as well as the length of commitment.
Prospective airmen may also want to find a program where they can guarantee a duty station.
Before you sign the final enlistment contract, make sure it’s correct and free of typos.
Also, make sure everything is in writing involving guarantees like an AFSC bonus or GI bill.
A recruiter may promise you these things but until they are in writing there is no official guarantee.
Related Article – 10 Best Air Force Jobs For Civilian Life
There are 4 critical steps to visiting an Air Force recruiter near you.
Following these steps can help prevent any obstacles or setbacks toward enlistment.
It can also verify whether or not serving the USAF is right for you and your needs.
Speaking to an Air Force recruiter is a good first step in the process as you learn more about mandatory requirements and expectations.
You also get an overview of everything you need to complete to meet initial deadlines and commitments.
Keep in mind that scheduling an appointment with an Air Force recruiter is a two-way street.
The recruiter will ask questions and want to know more about you and why you want to enlist.
Related Article – Air Force Grooming Standards: Haircuts, Mustaches, Beards, And More
The recruiter studies your presentation and communication to make sure you are an appropriate fit.
Furthermore, you should ask a lot of questions to make sure you have all your hesitations or concerns addressed.
Serving in the military is not like a regular job where you can just quit when things get tough.
The USAF requires diligence, commitment to teamwork, and dedication to become successful in the Armed Forces.