General Air Force Qualifications-How Do You Join The Air Force

As an active-duty airman and a former recruiter of seven years I get asked often “how do you join the Air Force?” 

This is a very broad question because I mean typically the answer is to just go to the recruiters office but, when people ask how do you join the Air Force what there really asking is what does it take? or they could be asking what the Air Force qualifications are?


One thing you have to understand is that the Air Force is the military.  Although you may hear a lot of rumors about how the Air Force is much easier than the other branches of the military. It is still a military organization and you must be willing to live a military lifestyle, albeit it may be easier than the other branches in some situations but not every job in the Air Force is easier. There are jobs in the Air Force that will require you to work very hard and you may not like it.

But back to the question of how to join the Air Force.

With any military branch there are a lot of qualifications that you have to meet and I’ll be totally honest and tell you that when I was a recruiter I would say probably only 2 out of 20 people who were interested in joining the Air Force were actually qualified. Whether it be for drug use or they were too heavy, meaning they were over the height and weight standards or they had too many kids or whatever the case may be , the point is that more often than not they were disqualified. Its difficult to tell you every Air Force qualification because the day after I write this there could be a change. Policies change daily, well maybe not daily but they can change quite often.

So with that said, if you want to join the Air Force here are a few tips.

Ask yourself how well you did in high school especially on standardized tests. Ask yourself how did you do on the SAT if you didn’t do so hot on the SAT then you probably are not going to do amazing  on the ASVAB.

You need to score a minimum of a 50 on ASVAB. The ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, it’s a series of test designed to determine your aptitude and where you would fit as far as jobs go in the military sign. Just to join the Air Force you need an on overall score of a 50 but then it’s broken down into four sub scores Mechanical Admin General and Electrical.

How well you score in these categories determines where you would fit in the Air Force for as far as jobs go. If you did poorly on the SAT or if you just think you need to brush up before taking the ASVAB I recommend going out picking up an SAT study guide. I know its the ASVAB but I always recommend the SAT study guide and without fail those who actually study it increase their scores dramatically. The reason is because While there are other areas on the test, if you can do well in math and English then you’re going to do well on the test overall. If you just really want to study an ASVAB study guide I recommend the Barron’s Study guide.

  • The next thing is your age. To join the Air Force you must be between ages of 17 through 27. If your 17 you going to need your parents permission to join the Air Force and if you’re 28 or older than your disqualified from active duty but you could still qualify for the Air Force Reserves. Next, you must have graduated from high school. You can join the Air Force with a GED in very rare circumstances. If the Air Force were even entertaining GED applicants you would need to have exceptionally high ASVAB scores and pretty much a flawless background in every other area of qualification and even then you would be limited on jobs. Take away here is to graduate High School.


  • The next thing to make sure of is that you’re not overweight. You don’t need to be a super fitness workout expert but make sure that you not overweight. Please just be honest with yourself, people know when they’re overweight or not you can go to height and weight page of this site and look at the height and weight standards. I will tell you first hand many Air Force recruiters won’t spend a whole lot of time with you if you have a lot of weight to lose. They are very busy people and normally have a lot of future Airman to manage. Plus if you are overweight and you lose the weight it shows the recruiter that you are serious and he/she will give you the extra attention you deserve.


  • Another thing you need to be aware of if you want to join the Air Force is your medical history. You would be surprised by the number of people who don’t meet the Air Force qualifications for what you would probably consider something very minor.  Have you ever been hospitalized or treated for anything? and when I say anything I truly mean anything. That could be any type of mental disorder, ADD, a broken  bone, frequent headaches, allergies, etc, etc, etc. I’m not saying that all of these things are totally disqualifying, but they will raise a red flag and you will have to explain them and probably supply medical documentation. I could go on for hours about this subject.


  • Next you need to make sure you have good credit, or should I say, make sure you don’t have bad credit. They will run a credit check and you will have to explain derogatory information. When I say explain, I don’t mean verbal, almost all explaining you do in a recruiting office will be in the form of you writing your explanation down on paper along with your signature. If you have unpaid debts you will more than likely have to pay them off and show proof of payment.


  • If you have children you must be married. If you are married and have more than one child you will have to have a determination done to ensure you will be able to support your children while going through basic etc. This is where the credit check also comes in to play.


  • This one should go with out saying but then again nothing really goes without saying. You can not be a drug user if you want to join the Air Force. Any usage of any drugs other than limited use of marijuana is disqualifying. So that means if you tell your recruiter that you have used ecstasy, cocaine, mushrooms, or any drug for recreational purposes other than marijuana, you can not join the Air Force. Ever!  You may be asking what is limited use of marijuana. Well I used to tell my applicants three times was limited use. Guess what they always told me in return. You guessed it, they never did marijuana more than three times.


  • Oh, you must also be a United States citizen. If you have a green card and are registered legal alien you can join in some situations. But the jobs will be very limited, and you must get your citizenship during your first enlistment if you plan to stay in.


  • Tattoos are another thing to be aware of. typically tattoos can’t take up more than one quarter of any exposed body part. that is the general rule and they also cannot be gang-related, derogatory or offensive in any manner.

Like I said before this is just a broad overview of some of the things you need to know if you want to join the Air Force. Browse this site and subscribe to the newsletter to stay up to date on all the most current Air Force requirements.


  1. ankit kumar says:

    witch stream you need in graduation subject….bcoz im complited b.a from delhi
    can I applicable for this job

  2. sorry I don’t understand your question

  3. I’ve heard rumor of new MEPS qualification with regard to a recruits back. If you stand against a wall and a hand can fit between the small of your back and the wall, you will now be disqualified. (2014). My daughter passed MEPS last March and waiting for her ship date/job opening. She has been waiting 10 months, she is 18. I know with cutbacks the Air Force needs to trim its work force and the volume of new recruits is large. She now considering a quick ship job to see if she’ll be disqualified sooner so as to waste her time waiting longer. We have tried this qualification test on everyone we know and no one would pass this qualification. We tried on 28 people so far.

  4. DLH,

    That rumor is false. They check for scoliosis but that hand rule is not correct. They look at the curviture of the spine and it has to be within certain limits. Not sure off hand what the limits are, but in actuality it doesn’t really matter because if you are outside the limit, there is nothing you can do to fix it. Hope that helps.

  5. Thank you for your response.:-) My daughter just told me today that it was her flight chief during DEP this past week that told the recruits. This process is new he told them.

  6. MSgt Reed says:


    I spoke with a buddy at MEPS and that is not a procedure that they practice. This could be unique to that particular MEPS but it probably shouldn’t be. Not sure the whole story but doesn’t sound right and is definitely not an Air Force standard.


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