The Truth About 6 Year Contract For The Air Force. Do You Have To Take It?

What Air Force Jobs Require a 6 Year Enlistment? Do I Have To Take A 6 Year Contract For The Air Force?

So you have passed your ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test and have set a date to go down to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) for your physical. 

First of all, to take a quick side bar, this physical is a FULL medical exam, you will NOT be doing sit ups, pull ups or running any miles or any kind of PT (Physical Training) at all, you will be attempting to get medically qualified. 

I will speak more on MEPS in another post to come later. 

So, you are at the MEPS and you make it thru the physical (medical exam) and now you are ready to sit down and speak with one of the USAF (United States Air Force) MEPS job counselors also known as LNCO’s (Liaison None Commissioned Officers) again, I will go into more details about the MEPS process in another blog to come later. 

So there you are sitting in front of the LNCO with your list of jobs you qualify for and everything is moving right along until the LNCO ask you if you are interested in the six year option.

You don’t really know what to expect in the Air Force so you kindly decline, and then the smooth sailing process stops for a moment and the LNCO starts to ask you why your are not interested.  You say, because you are not certain yet of the job you are going to get or if you will even like being in the Air Force. 

The LNCO then proceeds to talk about the benefits of the 6yr contract for the Air Force and then says “you do not need to make the choice now, I just need to know if you are even interested” then you say “Well I “MIGHT” be interested”, and then the LNCO says “OK, no problem, I will mark you down as interested but you can talk to your recruiter more about it and make your final decision the day you EAD (Enter Active Duty) which is basically the day you ship out to BMT (Basic Military Training)

Once you are done at MEPS, you head back to see your recruiter that day or the next for your DEP (Delayed Entry Program) briefing. Before the briefing starts the recruiter congratulates you on becoming qualified for the Air Force and probably gives you a goodie bag of USAF stuff. Then during his DEP briefing he starts to talk about this darn Six Year Enlistment Option again, so now in the back of your mind you are thinking “what gives with this 6yr option deal?????”

Sooooo, what is the skinny on this 6 yr contract for the Air Force?? 

What is the is the real deal straight up truth about this 6yr deal?   

Well it is simple, it comes down to two things: Retain-ability and competition points.

That’s right people, the Recruiting Squadron (SQ) , the Recruiters and MEPS,  amongst a few other USAF military key players, are all competing on who can get the most 6 year enlistments!!!

Now before you start ripping up your 6yr contracts or yelling for your mom or dad to come read this, let me explain how this 6 year enlistment thing actually works and how it actually benefits YOU

The competition is simply to keep the recruiters motivated and a tool the USAF uses as a way to recognize and reward the recruiters that are not only doing their job well but also recruiting people for the jobs the AF needs.

This is how it works.

When you are at speaking with the MEPS LNCOS, you will pick the jobs that you are interested in. This is also the time why you will say whether you are INTERESTED in the 6 year option. If you will notice though, the contract you sign (form 3005) is actually only a 4 year enlistment option contract.   

That is because UNTIL the USAF matches you with a job, FROM YOUR LIST,  you are only eligible for a 4 year option.  Once you are matched with one of your jobs,  “IF”  the 6 year enlistment option has been APPROVED by Congress, THEN you will be offered the option. 

Thats right, the 6 year enlistment option is NOT ALWAYS an automatic thing, so if your recruiter told you that the 6 yr option is NOT always available, he/she was telling you the truth. 

The 6 yr enlistment option has to be approved EVERY year and the MEPS is NOT allowed to even send your recruiter a contract with the 6yr option until it HAS been approved. 

Once approved,  the option is good for ONE fiscal year (Oct 1st thru Sept 31st)  so for EXAMPLE:    If you processed on, lets say Aug 17th 2012,  and you got matched with a job on September 23, 2012 and that job has an Air Force Basic Training date for November 17th 2012,  you will not even be given the option to sign a 6 year agreement option until after Oct 1,  2012, because your ship date is PAST that Sept 31, End of Fiscal year date. 

So since your job EAD’s (requires you to leave for Basic Training) in the NEW Fiscal year, you will have to wait and see if the 6 year option will be approved first.

Your MEPS will know if  the 6 year enlistment option for your Air Force job been approved or not about the first week in OCT.  

Not to worry though because realistically and statistically speaking,  there hasn’t been many times where it wasn’t approved, so relax those of you that were starting to sweat and get nervous because you really wanted the option. 

So getting back to my point, once you are matched with a job and the 6 year enlistment option has been approved, your MEPS will send your recruiter your job contract for you to sign and you will have 30 days to accomplish this.  If you have changed your mind about the jobs you selected, you do not have the ability to decline.  

Once again that is a whole other topic which I will  post about, so be on the look out for that post,  I will be posting it very soon.   It  will be all about the JOBS, the process of listing them and how the whole USAF job matching process works.

How Does The 6 Year Contract For The Air Force Benefit You?

The 6 year enlistment option has one major benefit to most people that apply and that is  “ACCELERATED RANK“.  air force rank promotion

Without having anything to get you advanced rank you will start out as an Airman Basic (AB) which is Pay Grade of an E-1.  To go from E1 to E2 (Airman)  takes 6 months and to go from E2 to E3 (Airman First Class) takes another 10 Months for a total of 16 months before you can make E3.


Now lets first look at the pay difference between E1 and E3:   Click Here to view a pay chart As you can see the pay difference is (as of Jan 2013) $271,  Pretty significant isn’t it? 

This is How the Air Force Accelerated Rank Works.

If you accept the 6 year option, upon completion of Technical Training (also referred to as Tech School) OR 20 Weeks, whichever comes first, you will be promoted to Airman First Class and start getting PAID for E3!!!!!!!WOOOW

Yes instead of you having to WAIT 16 months right out of Tech School, you are putting 2 stripes on your uniform and getting $271 more dollars per month.  Not a bad deal when you really look at it huh? 

I am pretty sure that extra cash can do everything from pay on a NEW CAR NOTE to a plane ticket to fly that special someone down to see you.

So what if I don’t like the USAF?

I don’t wanna be stuck for another 2 years.

I don’t want the 6 year because I don’t know what to expect.

Typically these are the main reasons why people decide to NOT take the 6 year option. 

These objections are what make people pass up an extra $271  per month. 

So since we have come this far let me break things down and put them into perspectiveStarting with reason 1.

What if I don’t like The Air Force?

This is a very good question, what if you don’t like the Air Force? 

Well if you are not gonna like something wouldn’t it be better to at least be getting paid a little bit more for it????? LOL.

Seriously, many of you reading this don’t like your current job and if your manager came to you and said “if you would promise me you will stay for 2 more years I will not only give you an instant pay raise right now of $271 per month, but on the anniversary of the day you started, I will give you about a $250 dollar bonus” (lets call this a clothing bonus for you to go and buy yourself some new clothes for work) and also every Jan 1st I will also give you a raise. 

Now stop reading and for a minute just try to imagine how that would feel to have that extra cash in your pocket and just knowing that on your anniversary date you will be receiving a BONUS and to put the cherry on top,  you will also receive Annual pay raises!!!!!!! OK….Come on back to reality now because that is NOT about to happen and we Air Force pay raiseboth know your boss is NOT about to do that, but I will tell you who will…….The USAF will, when you accept a 6 year enlistment agreement option.  

So putting it into that perspective, had your boss called you and made you that offer when you first started reading this post you wouldn’t have even made it past the title because you would have turned your computer, IPAD, cell phone or whatever your using to read this post, off. It would have been turned off and you would be out celebrating and already spending that extra cash along with everything else that you are getting with the 6 year option.

Keep in mind there are a ton of other benefits you’re getting also. 

So now for excuse number 2: I don’t know what to expect when I join the Air Force.

Ahhhhh the fear of the unknown.

This very excuse is what has stopped so many who could have been on there way to greatness.  Think of how much wasted talent is out there in the world, it all steams from the fear of the unknown.  Someone wants to sing on American Idol but they’re not sure if they’re good enough. They don’t know what to expect.  Everyone wants something but they don’t want to take a risk and make a move due to the fear of failure.  What if the Wright brothers decided that because they didn’t know what to expect when it came time to see if those planes would fly? Where would the world of air travel be today??? 

What if the guy who designed the first roller coaster decided that because he didn’t know what to expect that he was not gonna pursue this dream of his????  Would there be a Six Flags??? 

So will 2 extra years down the road really make you miss out on the things the money and rank can get you right now?? 

One thing new Air Force recruits can’t quite understand is the feeling of having rank on your sleeve. 

What they also cannot begin to understand is how important it is to have rank when you are in a world controlled by RANK. 

Once you are in the USAF you WILL at some point in your early career hear the Phrase:  R-H-I-P…which stands for Rank Has Its Privileges.  Now let me quickly give you an example. 

Prior to becoming a recruiter I was in the mechanical field so my job in the Air Force was to fix air planes. I was one of those people that did NOT take the 6 year option (one of my only regrets) So here is a question I want to pose to you….when you are an Aircraft Mechanic and ALL your planes are flying and nothing is broken (and it will happen) what will you as an Aircraft Mechanic be doing all day??? 

No clue right? 

Well let me tell you what we did, we played basketballl in our hangar, played cards, took long lunches, etc.  Well at some point the supervisor is going to say “we aren’t paid to be standing around doing nothing or to play basketball and cards all day”. He will then proceed to say “let’s get out there and get the grass around the hanger cut”, or “lets go pull all the weeds that are groing around the hanger” here’s my favorite one “lets get the buffer out and buff the hanger floors”. 

Now here is the million dollar question…..who gets to do all this crap? 

When he said “lets” you didn’t think that meant he was going to help did you?

Well the first thing you will hear the people with two stripes say is R-H-I-P.  That means it always came down to me, the guy who didn’t take the 6 year option. I was the one that got to go handle all the tedious “yet highly important” tasks. 

Now this R-H-I-P works in ALL career fields so it doesn’t matter if you are a paper pusher or a cop you WILL have those tedious “yet important” tasks that no one really wants to do and it will be in that moment when you know the true meaning of R-H-I-P.  

Now there are other benefits to the 6 year enlistment as well. One is that it will help you in getting promoted to E4 (which is a SrA (Senior Airman)) faster. This has the added benefit of helping you possibly get promoted to  E5 (which is a SSgt (Staff Sergeant)) faster as well.

As you start progressing into the NCO corp you have to test for each promotion. These promotions are based on a point system and part of that system is TIG (Time In Grade). Therefore if you took the 6 year option and advanced faster you would have MORE POINTS than someone who did not get to rank up as quickly as you did. 

As you can see there are quite a few benefits that the recruiter or MEPS LNCO never mentioned to you.

By now you are probably thinking I am pushing the 6 year enlistment agreement option like everyone else, but no that is NOT the case.

I am simply attempting to give you all the facts  in order to help YOU make a well informed decision. 

Here are some more facts: 

Someone that has 3+ years of ROTC or 45 semester hours of college credits, will automatically get E3 so there really is NO benefit to them taking the 6 year option other than keeping them in their jobs and gainfully employed for another 2 years lol.  I guess if there was a downsizing,  sort of speak,  in that persons job, during the year they were due to re-enlist, they could be denied re-enlistment in that career field and would have to cross-train in order to stay in the Air Force

But other than that really isn’t a benefit to this particular person taking the 6 year Air Force contract………UNLESS they had a job that offered a Bonus. 

Currently ANY person who joins the Air Force with a job that offers a bonus HAS TO DO A 6 Yr contract to get the bonus. 

Another fact is that some recruiters require a recruit to take a 6 year option if that recruit requires a waiver to join The Air Force.

Well this is solely at the discretion of the recruiter or that Air Force recruiters leadership. 


If you require a waiver to join the Air Force and they tell you that you will have to agree to a 6 year option, go ahead and agree to it and get that waiver but on the day you ship out, should you decide you want the 4 yr option instead, go ahead and tell the LNCO because the MEPS CANNOT legally make you sign the 6 yr option.

When you initially sign your Air Force contract you don’t actually finalize it until the bottom  of the contract is signed and you can’t sign the bottom (finalize the contract) until the day you ship out or EAD.  

So if anyone at MEPS ever tells you that because you have a waiver you must join the Air Force for 6 years, you simply tell them you changed your mind and only want to sign for 6 years. They will try to change your mind but like I said, legally they can not force you and eventually they will get a new 4 yr contract printed up for you.

MEPS knows that if you changed your mind and decided NOT to ship out for Basic Training the Recruiting Squadron would lose BIG POINT in that competition thing I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

So trust me, the SQ would rather give you a 4 yr contract ANY DAY than to take a cancellation on Ship Day (Known in the USAF recruiting world as a Ship Day Canx [cancellation])

So there you have it.

  • There is a competition going on in the Air Force recruiting world but there are also many benefits to taking the 6 year enlistment agreement option if you are ineligible for E-3 any other way.
  • There is no real benefit for someone that already gets E3 UNLESS they have a job that offers a bonus.
  • You cannot be forced to take a 6 yr option (unless the job requires it)

This brings me to one final point to mention about the Air Force’s 6 yr enlistment option. 

There ARE actually 3 jobs in which you are REQUIRED to take a 6 year option

The only reason that these jobs require you join the Air Force for 6 years is because the tech school is so long that the USAF would like to get at least a few good years from you for the amount of time and money they spend training you for these jobs. 

These 3 jobs are

  • ATC (Air Traffic Control - 1C131
  • Airborne Cryptologic Linguist – 1A831 and
  • 1N331 Cryptologic linguist which is basically the ground version of 1A831

If you are wondering what those codes are at the end of the jobs they are AFSC’s (Air Force Specialty Codes)

As you can see I have a vast knowledge of recruiting and the whole process of how things work and I do honestly think the 6yr option is a GREAT deal if you don’t already get to start off in the rank of E3.  So feel free to leave me comments and I would happy to post a reply to your questions (If MSgt Reed doesn’t beat me to it)


Good Luck,



  1. J. Montgomery says:

    I was wondering when the 6 year mandatory service length came into effect. I am a 1n331 with a college degree who had signed a four year knowing as you stated a 6 year wasn’t to my advantage, got to MEPS and was told I HAD to sign a 6 year. Being none the wiser I took it on good faith this was the truth, however I get to my tech school and have me several people now on a four year contract. I MEP’d the first time Aug. 31st. 2011 and Ended DEP Mar. 27 2012. I was showed my old contract which had a VOID stamp on it, and said I had to do 6 years. If that was incorrect, do I have any recourse? I just want to make sure I didn’t get lied to.

  2. Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. So you are in the ground linguist position which does require a 6 year obligation. Reason being, the tech school is about a year long. If you only did a 4yr contract, the AF would really only get 1 good year if use from you. How so you ask? Because after that year of tech school, once you get to your base you have what’s called OJT (On Job Training) and your CDC(Career Development Courses) which further train and help you become proficient at your job and this training last for about a year too. Now, it’s been 2 years and you have done lots of schooling and training, now you have been upgraded to a 5-skill level and should be able to preform your job without much or any assistance. If you were planing on doing only 1 enlistment and getting out you would start the out processing steps about a year out from your contracts end, so after all your training and skill level upgrading, you would be working for another year (now on year 3) and then starting out processing steps. So all the hundreds of thousands of dollars the AF has invested In you for everything from your Top Secret clearance to your paycheck, they really only get 1 good year for there investment doesn’t sound like a fair deal to them so that’s why they made that job a 6 year commitment. This actually started, I believe around late 2010, i need to consult my books to get exact date but certain it was before 2011. You should have never received a 4 yr contract, so the MEPS was actually correct in correcting the contract and did tell you the truth. The 4yr contract that was voided was more than likely your DEP contract (3005) which had no job listed because the AF hadnt matched you with a job yet. By the reg the MEPS has to void out the DEP contract because once you have an actual job the DEP contract becomes invalid so legally has to be voided out and the new 3007/3008 contracts will supercede the voided one, and should even have the supercedes date as the date your 3005 contract was signed. Hope this helps.

  3. Hi,

    I’m currently contracted for 1N1 for 4 years, and was recently told that I HAD to do 6 years, or else I won’t be sent to basic. I was told it was due to budget cuts and other stuff that now ALL occupations are required to do 6 years. Is this true?

  4. Dear BNDY,

    It hurts my heart to know this LIE is being relayed to you all for a couple competition points!! This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!!!! There are only 3 AFSC’s in the USAF that require you to take a 6 year contract and those are the 2 Linguist positions (1N331 & 1A831) and Air Traffic control (ATC) 1C131. If you are in the 1N1X1 – IMAGERY ANALYSIS AFSC then you CAN do a 4 year option. I am VERY surprised at the MEPS because they are in the position to ensure the recruiters (RICS) are relaying the correct info to the new members!! hear is what you tell them, Say “With INTEGRITY being our 1st Core Value, you are very surprised they are failing to give you accurate info” Tell them you spoke with someone from and you were instructed to have them show you in writing where it says you are LEGALLY (key word to use) required to take a 6 year option for your AFSC!!! Then tell them the member at was very disappointed that you were given info that helps their Squadron & Meps competition points rather than tell the future member TRUE INFO!!!! I am certain they won’t be able to show you anything requiring you to take a 6 yr and start to back track.

    Now just so you know, the 6 year option doesn’t have accelerated rank to go to E-3 upon completion of your tech school or 20 weeks, which ever comes first, so it may be to your advantage to take the 6 years, but by no means do you HAVE to!!! I hope this helps and I hope you tell them this info with confidence and make them correct their false info!!

  5. MSgt Reed says:

    Lol, thanks for replying. Also you meant to say the six year DOES have accelerated rank to E-3.

  6. Yes, good catch, thanks. The 6 year DOES have accelerated rank to E-3 (Airman First Class)

  7. Hi,

    I’m in the DEP now, my ship date is May 7. I was going to take the 6-year enlistment option. & I was just wondering does that mean you get E2 at BMT graduation, or will I just go from E1 to E3 during tech school or my tech school graduation? My job is 3D032, so my tech school isn’t a year or anything.

  8. Hey Shamiya,
    How it works is like this: you start off as an E1 and it takes 6 months for you to move to an E2. So if you ship out on May 7th you wouldnt move to E2 until Dec 7. Since BMT is only 8.5 weeks you will graduate BMT and start Tech school still an E1. With the 6yr accelerated rank option, you will get promoted to E3 upon completion of your tech school OR 20 weeks (which ever comes first) Now, I believe your Tech is less than 20 weeks, therefore you will get to skip straight to E3 on the day you graduate Tech School. Good luck and hope this helped. 3D032 is an AWESOME job by the way.

  9. Hi, Ive already DepD in and am going to meet with my recruiter this week to finalize my contract and receive my ship date. I am eligible to enter as an E-3 due to college credits. How long would it take me to be eligible for E-4 with a 4 year and a 6 year? I also wanted to know if I wanted to work overseas would a 6 year contract increase my chances of being able to do so sooner? And to your knowledge does 2w231 offer a bonus? This is one of the jobs I have been looking at, but haven’t been able to find to much info on.

  10. Hey Im looking to join the air force soon hear and going to talk to the recruiter with in the next couple days. You say that that 6 year isn’t worth it if your going to go in as an E-3. Well I have enough college credits to get E-2. Would the 6 year really be helpful for me? or would the benefits be negligible?

  11. Will – if you have E2 because of college credits (20 to 44 credits) then it would take you 10 months to put on E3, so yes it would be to your benefit and advantage to take the 6yr option.

  12. Dorian – it doesn’t really matter if you took 4 or 6 because to get to an E4 would be the same for you. This is how it works for E4: Senior Airman (E-4) – 36 months TIS (Time in Service) with 20 months TIG (Time in Grade) or 28 months TIG, whichever occurs first. So in your case, since you will start off with the grade of E3 you will need to go 28 months before getting E4.

  13. Dorian (part 2 of your question) – sorry Dorian, completely forgot to answer the second part of your question. NO to my knowledge a 6 yr does not affect you getting to go overseas. Logically thinking about it I can see the possibility of that because the USAF gets to keep you in place longer so it would seem logical but there is no proof that the 6 yr will get you overseas. Several new members get assigned overseas with the 4 ur option. Plus in tech school you are allowed to trade assignments too, so if someone gets overseas and didnt want it then you can trade assignments with them. As for 2W231, there is NOT a bonus with this job and you are dealing with nukes, so there won’t be a lot of information out there about it because of the classified nature of that job. You will more than likely be getting a Top Secret clearance level also. Very cool stuff, too bad you won’t be able to talk about it much lol.

  14. Lincoln Batista says:

    I am going to the MEPS next week, i am not citizen and the job that i was looking for is not available because i should be American, I want to get my citzenship fast as i can and the recruter told me that the Air force will work to help me with this. So, I have 54 credits hours and i want to join in TACP or Combat Control or Security forces … my Asvab’s score is enough for these carrers and others in Eletronic area (E 73).
    I could join for 6 years but i saw some jobs for non citizen and i really wanna join in the air force. I would like to know is when i get my citizenship (about 9 month after sign the contract) could i apply to change my job any time or not?

    One of theis jobs for non citizen that i was looking for is Engineering. I would like to know the difference between Civil Engineer and Engineering and also if the Air Force have Combat Engineer?

  15. Batista – so you say you will get your citizenship 9 months after signing contract? How do you know that? You don’t even know when you will get a job booked for you yet because you still need to go thru the medical exam, the job counseling and then the swear in ceremony that gets you into the DEP and it is at this point you are added to the Q&W (Qualified and Waiting) list. It could possibly take you 3-9 months to actually ship out so I will address a couple of possible scenerios with the hopes of answering your questions. If you get a job matched and you ship out for that job and you have not gotten your citenzenship yet, the Air Force Will help expedite your citizenship so that you get it much faster because without citenzenship, you cannot re-enlist. Now, should you get a job and it won’t be shipping out for several months and you get your citizenship BEFORE you leave then YES you can switch your job. You would tell the recruiter that you received your citizenship and would like to go out for TACP. That is not an easy job to qualify for so the recruiter’s boss will gladly switch jobs for you, but your ship out date will more than likely change now. Last but not least, if you get a job, and you ship out for that job and you get your citizenship after, let’s say a year, then You will have to wait til you are starting your final year of your job contract before you can switch jobs (also known as cross training). So if you do a 4 yr contract, you will have to wait 3 years before you can start the cross train process, if you take the 6 yr option then you would have to wait 5 years to start the process.

    As for the engineering questions. Civil Engineering (known as CE) is the career field and Engineering is one of the jobs within that CE career field. See link for other jobs and job descriptions within the CE career field:

    Hope this helped you sir, since you will start off as an E3 (for having 45+ college credits) and your intention is to try and switch jobs soon as you can, I would think the 4 yr option would be to your best benifit because it would allow you the ability to cross train earlier. Be careful of anyone telling you that you MUST take a 6yr contract because it will help you get citenzenship or that you MUST because u are a non-citizen, or anything like this because it is NOT true and you DO have the option to take 4 if you so desire. Take care and good luck Sir.
    ~ Xyane~

  16. Batista – No sir the USAF does not have combat engineers but the TACP guys work very close with them, also the CCT (Combat Controllers)

  17. Janedelacruz says:

    Hi sir,
    I have been thinking of joining the air force i haven’t met a recruiter yet because i have a lot of concerns i thought you can help me with some. First, i am 22 years old, i weigh 90 lbs about 5 feet tall i am currently underweight. I am afraid if i walk in the office they will just tell me to come back when you are 10 lbs healthier and in great shape. Second, im only a green card holder, i am not a us citizen yet i can get it probably 1 or 2 years from now. Is it better for me to try to enlist when i get my citizenship? I really want to serve its always been my dream i just had a lot of issues i didn’t get to do it when i was 19. Thank you in advance also your posts are very informative its great help thank you.

  18. Not worth it. Here are the downfalls of signing up for 6…especially if you don’t like your job. $270 isn’t worth it, and with promotion rates, not many people are making Staff first time like they used to. There are so many A1Cs that come in that fall into this 6-year trap that they get treated like E2s anyway because you hardly see any of them so it really doesn’t matter and RHIP is still crap. I’m a SrA and been in for 5 years and I still get handed crap jobs because you’re in a shop where you’re the lowest ranking. Another downfall is wanting to crosstrain, if you signed up for 4, you get to apply for retraining at 35 months…6 years its 59 months…I have been waiting to crosstrain since I basically got to my first base and it has felt like FOREVER. I’m not saying 6 years is the worst but knowing what I know now…I wish I would have stuck with the 4 year plan. I would most likely be in another career field by now.

  19. What base am I more likely to get if I get the job aerospace medical service?? And what’s the asvab score requirement?? Thanks :)

  20. I’m thinking about signing the 6yr only because I’ll go in a higher rank than signing the 4yr contract which means BETTER PAY. I didnt take the ROTC program in highschool because my school didnt offer it. I was thinking about attending the ROTC program if i decide to attend college for 4 years … But im just worried about being a broke college student. Thats why i might consider signing the 6 yr contract now and going in a higher rank and just take college online although i know some people who went to the AF right out of high school and regret not having the college experience. I need advice. No negative reponses! Im only 18 , just graduated from highschool. I need some plans for the next yrs of my life. I need to be financially stable and enjoying life as well. You can email me or reply to me on this forum. Please & Thankyou! SOMEBODY HELP ME please!

  21. 2 good 4 yous says:

    i am much too smart for this shit military .

    i took college classes during high school and graduated from my local community college
    business , accounting and music , suma cum laud.
    lets not forget i practice wrestling and bjj with my cousins.

    i do accounting and taxes most front of the year and play in my band the rest of the time.
    i get plenty of action all the girls love a musician, you know .

    the asvab is a joke .

    you got nothing to offer anyone with a life going on..

  22. 2 good – I am extremely busy at this very moment and will respond to the other questions shortly but had to take a quick moment to address 2 Goods comments. I am first trying to understand why a person with so many positive things going on in their life would take time out of that busy life to be negative and knock someone else’s life choice?? The military isn’t for everyone just as college isn’t or listening to band music for that matter. The ASVAB is based on a high school graduate level education, therefore, if you feel it is a joke that is fine because apparently your straight A’s thru school should yield nothing less than a perfect score on the ASVAB then. This would all be very good for you to add to your accomplishments and you would be able to go ahead and pat yourself on the back once again, because apparently you are perfect and have everything going for you. I can say one thing though, you would NOT be a good fit for the military. I say this because the military is about pride, in ones self and this country they live in, it’s about family, respect, supporting your fellow member and TEAMWORK. You appear to be lacking in the support, teamwork and respect department!! You are entitled to your opinion though so I will not knock you for it…..after all, many MILITARY members have died for you to have the right to that opinion. Keep in mind the sacrifices Military members have made for you to have the things you have. You should have taken history and gotten an “A” Im sure, so I’m really puzzled as to how such an intelligent person could make such negative comments. Keep in mind we also have doctors, engineers and physicists in the military, so until you post a copy of your doctorate degree my opinion is that you are NOT smarter than this Military stuff. Oh and NASA is a part of the USAF so we have astronauts that have been into space. That’s right, SPACE, not some other city or country but SPACE. I would think you’d have to be very smart to get into SPACE, send me a pic when you get to space and I will personally come on this post and say I stand corrected that guy IS smarter than this military stuff, but wait you would have to be affiliated with the military somehow to get there……darn those military people lol

    Take care 2 Good and much continued success to you.

  23. April – you sound like you are serious about your future and want to make the right choices but which is the right choice right? Well I can not tell you or anyone what is a right choice for them but I can tell you the info you stated is correct. Going in with a higher rank is always good, and not being broke trying to get thru college is the story of so many. Those that regret not getting the college experience are more than Likely referring to the lack or responsibility or the drugs or something else. I would be very curious to know what experience they are referring too because, you are away from home, living in a dorm, there are many parties in our dorms, and you get to travel to spring break if you choose, so what experience are they referring to? Being broke? Working odd jobs for cash? The college bill from finance? For the most part living on base in the dorms is very similar to living on campus in a dorm. One major difference is you can’t be hung over the next morning trying to call off work, or skipping class. You would have a very important job that depends on you to be there so if partying hard and skipping out on your responsibilities is what you are about then the USAF is NOT for you, but if you are serious about your future, which I feel you are April, I think you will do VERY well in the USAF. You don’t sound like the kind of person that would abuse your rank or be irresponsible so go for it, and make the best of it. Oh a couple other really nice perks will be you won’t have student loans or bills for college and you will be getting paid a good salary with your school paid for so I know it all seems scary at the moment and we all want to make the right choices in life and the only way to truly know is to give it a shot. Very worst case scenario is if you don’t like it simply apply for “palace chase” in your 3rd year and go reserves or guard and go back home report to a unit there, attend a college you want and finish out your other 3 years in the guard or reserves. You see, knowledge is power if used correctly. There are many ways to get all that you want, it’s just a matter of researching the info. Which you are clearly doing here, which is why I say u will do fine.

    Good luck

  24. Anna – with the medical services job you could go to any base that has a hospital or clinic (which is pretty much all of them lol) so you could go anywhere. No one can Guarantee which base you will get it just depends on availability at the particular base and your rank can play a part in that as well. You will get to list choices (know as your wish-list or dream-sheet) in Basic Training and the USAF really does try to match you up with one of your preferences but, like I said, they have to have a position open at that base for your rank to assign you there.

    The required ASVAB score for that job will be a 44 in the General Area. See link for good info:,,ASVAB_MOS_USAF.html

    Hope this helped,
    Good Luck

  25. April – One more thing, you mentioned being interested in a ROTC program at a college. What If you could have both, ROTC at a college AND be in the USAF receiving all the benefits? I thought you might like the sound of this lol. The USAF really does look out for its members, they have programs SPECIFICALLY and EXCLUSIVELY for enlisted USAF members ONLY. Take a look at this link, all you will need to do once you join and get to your first base (aka first duty station) is head over to the education office and ask to speak to a counselor about these programs:

    Good Luck once again.

  26. Janedelacruz – Hello sir, the minimum allowable weight for a male 5 feet (60″) is 97 pounds. I see you are below this minimum so in your case what would be done is a test of your BMI (Body Mass Index) and if the numbers you gave me are correct, then your BMI would be 17.6, the minimum BMI we could allow by regulation is…… ready? 17.5!!!!! So what does this mean? It means you WOULD BE QUALIFIED (height/weight) see link below for this calculation:

    Now there are a couple things to note, you are VERY close to your minimum so losing 1 more pound should NOT be an option for you if you want to join.
    As for the non-citenzenship, concern that is your decision, you CAN join now and you can get you citenzenship expedited while you are a member because you would NEED to have citizenship to be able to re enlist and stay in longer than one term. Keep in mind there are SEVERAL jobs you need citenzenship to qualify for so your job selection may be short but talk to you recruiter they should be able to show you a list of jobs you COULD qualify for that does not require citenzenship. Because I like to be thorough, and Just to get you started, here is a link for you:

    Good luck

  27. Andrea – tisk tisk tisk, it saddens me to hear this from our future USAF leadership and future NCO’s.. I actually appreciate you voicing your concerns but I have a few concerns of my own with your comments. First of all, you say $270 is NOT worth it. I take it you referring to the extra income you get PER MONTH for the E-3 rank. Well, $270 MIGHT be worth it for some, that’s a car note for some, hobby money for a few, a student loan payment, credit card payoff payment, and maybe even possibly much needed income for others so to say it isnt worth it might not be true for most.

    I do understand what you are saying though. If you are doing a job you hate I can totally see why you would feel that the extra money isn’t worth it. But lets address that. The job you have is a job you had to have picked and said ok to and SIGNED a contract for. You did NOT have to though!!! You did not mention what your job is and I really would love to know because perhaps I know ways to help you switch sooner or do something else.

    The info you gave about the time you have to reach before even being able to cross-train is correct. It’s a year before your contract is completed so a 4 yr contract allows you to cross train in 3 yrs and a 6 year at the 5 year mark. Now, are you aware of all the special duty assignments you are eligible to do right NOW since you are an E-4??? There are MANY, and you get extra special duty pay for them as well and you usually get exactly where you want to go even. You see knowledge is only power if you do something with the knowledge.

    If I were you I would research your options, go talk to a counselor at the education office, go talk to the people That do the cross-training paperwork and simply say I am really not liking my job what options do I have for getting into something else before I hit year 5. Like I said, there are many. Everything from recruiter (you pick where you would want to recruit), working in the post office, flight attendant (on Airforce One!!) generals aide (wanna talk about having killer connections and choosing your destiny, you work directly for a general and the general writes your EPR!!!) you could even do OSI (if becoming a CSI or FBI agent is a dream), a tech school counselor (mentor and help new members fresh out of BMT) I could go on but you are a SrA these are things you should be researching so that when you do become a Staff you will know how to help your troops, something your leadership appear to be failing at doing for you. Don’t continue bad supervisor traits, correct it, learn from it and break that cycle!! Make it STOP with you so we never have another member feeling like you feel.

    You mentioned RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges) when you actually out rank someone lol this is very true but as a SrA you would outrank 98% of new people coming to your….office/shop/clinic? I don’t know what you do so I don’t know how often you all get new troops. But if you’re a SrA and you’re still the lowest ranking, then you better get to studying. Which brings me to my next topic.

    You say not as many people are making Staff the first time, well that may be true but you have to ask why. Because we have tons of Staffs not making Tech and opening up those Staff slots so it gets harder to make because the required score goes up a little. But here is the thing, YOU control how well you score by studying, using the cd’s and all the classes and resources for helping you get a good score. I doubt if someone is scoring in the high 70′s or 80′s and are still not making it. So study and do what a future NCO is suppose to do, which is to prepare to Become supervisors and Leaders in your job.

    Now I doubt with this attitude you have you could be a great leader or supervisor because you are too disgruntled yourself. But, again I do understand where you are coming from so research ways of getting out early, There are many ways. Oh, you would now also qualify for Palace Chase where you can go Guard or Reserve where YOU choose and finish your years with them. But if your intention is to Stay in the USAF on the active duty side do some research on how to switch now.

    Good luck and please stay in touch, I want you to end up happy so that you can better assist another airman that feels like you.

    Take care

  28. Hi, I’m currently waiting on my recruiter to set up an appointment so that I can enlist. (I’ve been waiting 3 weeks… :/ ) I just recently graduated high school and im married and have a son. My original plans after high school was to go to school and get my doctorates degree but then that all changed now this past year I’ve been so intent on the USAF. My question is, how exactly does the community college of the air force work? Is it free? And are the classes on my own time or are they scheduled for me? Im planning on the 6 year contract for the advanced rank because the extra cash will help with my family and also I plan to make the air force a career and one day become an officer. Im pretty much decided on becoming part of security forces, what all is needed training wise and schooling wise for me to become an officer in my job? Im very hard working and am willing to push myself in order to make it to the top. I look forward on joining the USAF and not only benefiting myself and my family but also performing a special duty towards our country. Thanks!
    -Bryon W.

  29. Hi, if you are enlisting for the Air Force Reserve and sign a 6 year contract, are you automatically supposed to get E-3 out of tech school as well or is that only for Active 6-year contracts??

  30. MSgt Reed says:


    Sorry for the late reply, check out this link and let me know if you still have questions

  31. MSgt Reed says:

    I honestly don’t know, reserves is a bit different. but I will find out and let you know

  32. Ihosvany Marquez says:

    Hey, this is a great article, thanks for the information. I was wondering if enlisting for 6 years gives me an increased chance of getting my first pick of base of operations on my dream sheet in bmt? Or do they not consider it at all when making decisions like this?

  33. Hello,
    I have not talk to a recruiter yet, just tried looking up as much info before I do, plus studying for the ASVAB. I’m really interested in being an Aircrew Loadmaster, I know it won’t be hard getting the score for that but is there a way for me to insure that job for myself? I’m willing to wait.

  34. Sean Williams says:

    Ihosvany-I don’t think you will get any special treatment when it comes to that. NFesteu-you just have to work with your recruiter and wait to see if he gets a slot for that job.
    Now I have a question about the new fiscal year thing. I am in DEP for EOD with a ship date of OCT 1. I have a 6 yr enlistment in my contract which contradicts your article. Can you tell me how I got that and since I do have it how come I have not gotten my bonus in my contract yet? Or when I will get it in there? Thanks

  35. MSgt Reed says:

    Thanks for your answers Sean. You are right there is no special treatment for getting your base of choice for choosing the 6 year enlistment. You get accelerated rank.

    Nfesteu, getting the job you want is not as easy ( it wasn’t easy before) as it used to be. In almost every case you will not be able to just wait on one job. Read this post about the Air Force job process

    Congrats on EOD. If you are a motivated individual you will have alot of fun as an EOD troop. Now to your question. There is no 4 year contract for EOD. EOD is one of jobs that only can be obtained with a 6 year enlistment.

    You will get half of your bonus when you graduate training (which makes sense since this is when you are officially an EOD troop) and you will get the remaining half in increments every year. So for example if your bonus is $10K you will get $5K before taxes, and you will split the remaining $5k over the remainder of your enlistment and will get a payment annually.

    let me know if you have anymore questions

  36. Sean Williams says:

    Thank you, I am very excited and thanks for your answer. I must have forgot that I HAD to take a 6 year enlistment since that is what I wanted in the first place haha (I was trying for ATC). But I still don’t understand the fiscal year stuff. I just found out, with the sequestration and all, Obama told congress that uniformed troops will be exempt this year from pay cuts. Do you think that includes bonuses? Do you think I can get my bonus in my contract before I leave OCT 1 so that I know it will be a guarantee? Or will I have to wait until after the fiscal year comes around, which I don’t want to do because then I will be in basic or tech school?

  37. MSgt Reed says:

    You will have to talk with your recruiter about your contract. Have you gotten the EOD job yet? When you get the job the bonus should already be in the contract. And it will be guaranteed.

  38. Sean Williams says:

    I DO have the job. I have signed a contract at MEPS already for in-processing into DEP (swore in and all). And after that I have signed another contract stating I will be EOD with 6 year enlistment. But he says he can’t get the bonus in there yet, mainly because my first day is at the beginning of the new fiscal year. He says I should not worry about it. He says that it will most likely get put in there but I don’t believe it will until after the new fiscal year, if at all. He tried to BS me a little bit (I think to make me feel better) by saying it will probably happen sometime in September but I don’t believe that. I am getting E2 because of college credits until I get E3 obviously at an accelerated pace since I have a 6 year enlistment, I got a 95 on the ASVAB, I don’t think he knew about EWQ (exceptionally/extremely well qualified) which then I may have went for ATC like I wanted in the first place..(???) if any recruiters even use EWQ anymore. I really do want to do EOD now but it would be really nice if I knew I was going to get that bonus for 8 months of tech training and then highly risking my life..

  39. MSgt Reed says:

    Hey Sean,

    I had to make a few calls just to make sure I am giving you the most up to date answer.
    You CAN actually do EOD with a 4 year contract, however you forfeit the bonus if you do so.

    Now about the bonus, I was also mistaken when I said you get half, then the remaining half over the remainder of your enlistment. You actually get the whole thing (minus taxes) when you get to your first duty station.

    When people reenlist and get bonuses, that’s when it gets split. But for a brand new Airman you get it all at once, so congrats go buy a car (or save lol)

    Now about the whole fiscal year thing.

    Well the fiscal year begins October 1st, so until a budget is made the Air Force (Govt. in general) doesn’t promise money for the following year. The budget will normally be finalized in September and since you don’t leave until after October they can’t put the bonus in your contract yet. So for now the contract guarantees you your EOD job. Your contract will most likely be updated at MEPS when you ship out to basic.

    Could budgets be erased? Yes they can.
    Will they be erased? Who the hell knows.
    What should you do? Whatever your heart tells you to do.

    Just know this, there are a lot of benefits to joining the Air Force and EOD is a really cool job, bonus or no bonus.

    Now, if you’re not really trying to hear all that, then just remember that you are not in the Air Force until you get to Basic Training and even then you are not really an “Airman” yet.

    You will know before you ship whether bonuses were approved, but lets say for “shits and giggles” that you had to wait until the day you’re at MEPS waiting to leave for basic to find out if your getting a bonus. If you don’t get a bonus and you feel strongly about it, you don’t have to sign the contract and even if you did you can call a cab and go home instead of getting on the bus.

    Once again, I have gotten more out of the Air Force than any enlistment bonus could’ve given me. And there are people who would pay to wear the uniform. Just think about that when you think about why you are really deciding to join the Air Force

    Good luck to you!

  40. Sean Williams says:

    Dude, you rock. Thanks for really looking into all this! I really like my recruiter, but when he is the only one giving me my info it is nice to have a 2nd opinion. And that is really cool that I would get the whole bonus upfront. Learned something new! And I have been looking everywhere for an answer when the budget is usually finalized so thank you for answering that as well. And again, I guess I forgot about the 4 year option too because I wanted 6 anyways and that bonus is very appetizing lol. It is weird though that I got 6 years even though in the article it says they can’t guarantee that until after the fiscal year, but oh well ha. But yea either way I know the Air Force is going to be a great thing for me and after everything my recruiter has done and I have done there isn’t really a way I can see myself backing out now! However, I do know my options if I want out, thank you. I just want you to know you are awesome. You have no obligation to help me out but you did anyways. I hope most of the people I meet in my future in the Air Force are a lot like you. Thanks man!!! Good luck with your endeavors and take care!

  41. Sean – you read correctly about the 6yr option. You should NOT have a 6 year contract because just like the bonus, the 6 year options for the next Fiscal Year has also NOT yet been approved. Keep in mind that with the 6 yr option you also get accelerated rank to the Rank of Airman First Class (E-3) which you will receive upon completion of Tech School or 20 weeks, whichever comes first. Therefore, extra rank means extra pay coming your way so once again, we are talking about extra money that has to be budgeted in order for you to receive it. So if the budget is not approved, the MEPS will have to redo your contract on ship day to reflect a 4 year one. The one you have isn’t finalized until ship day that’s why, if you will notice, the bottom half of your contract is not yet signed. As MSgt Reed mentioned, the budget is usually finalized around the end of September, so continue to inquire with your recruiter, once the budget is finalized by congress the MEPS will regenerate your contract and have you sign the new one on ship day.

    Good luck and Congrats Sir.

  42. Sean Williams says:

    Oh cool. It all makes sense now. Thanks for clearing that up Xyane!

  43. Thanks for the great information. I retired from USAF in 1998 so obviously things have changed. I have a 21 year old son who is going to basic end of October. I just learned he enlisted for 6 years just becasue and had no idea of how it benefited him. He just wanted to due his duty. When I was in they gave you a stripe right off the bat for enlisting for 6 as an incentive. Now you are saying they have the completion of tech school or 20 weeks, whichever comes first rule. So are you saying the E-2 incentive is no longer applicable? Trying to make sure my son has the correct information. Thanks for helping the newbies not get taken advantage of by less then ethical recruiters that are not looking out for the best interests of our young people.

  44. Tony – hello Sir, as it is now, to go from E-1 to E-2 is 6 months. You then must have the rank of E-2 on for 10 months before you can put on E-3. So basically you have to wait 16 months to go from E-1 to E-3. With the 6 year enlistment option, also known as the accelerated rank program, a person would get accelerated rank to the grade of E-3 upon completion of tech school or 20 weeks (just shy of 5 months) whichever comes first. Hope this helps Sir.

  45. Alexandria says:

    Thank you for all the great information! I just recently finished my AA degree in languages with the intent of joining the Air force as a ground linguist. I was struggling on whether to join for 4 or 6. To know that 6 years is required is one less thing I have to worried about!

    I know its recommended that I list more than one job for the interview but linguist is the only thing I want to do! I’m not interested in doing anything else. My questions are, is there any way to guarantee a job in that field, if so what can I do to ensure that it happens?

    I also want to know if school loans can affect my opportunity when getting the job, being that its top security clearance.

  46. MSgt Reed says:


    The only way to guarantee yourself a job as a linguist is to pass the DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery). If you can pass the DLAB you will guarantee yourself a job as a linguist. And no your student loans will not be an issue.

    Good luck.

    Need to also say that even if you do pass the DLAB it is still not guaranteed. Nothing is truly guaranteed. The job has to be available in order for you to get it (just like at any company). Your changes are very good to become a linguist if you pass the DLAB though.

  47. Jonas Linebaugh says:

    I am currently in the DEP with the Job Aerospace Ground Equipment (2A632) scheduled to leave for basic November, 26. I signed for 4 years when I went to MEPS but would like to sign for 6. I was wondering if it is still possible to do before I leave? Thank you. And great article by the way!

  48. MSgt Reed says:

    Yes you should be able to up your contract to 6 years. Just tell your recruiter that you would like to and if that job has a 6 year option he/she can easily get you a new contract. Or you can wait until you go back to MEPS to ship, which is also when you will resign your contract, and they can change it to a 6 year contract at that point as well. In addition many people up their 4 year contract to a 6 year contract while they are at basic training. Just let your recruiter know you want the 6 and he/she can take care of you.

    Good luck.

  49. Signing 6 years is foolish. I am now planning to Palace Chase next year because I do not like my job, and I do not want to wait to cross train. Who cares about automatic E3? It’s not like it takes that long to get anyway. Ignore recruiters who try to talk you into this option. They will give you stupid BS reasons to do so. I was told there was no re-up for signing 4 years and that 6 years would give me ” security”. Go the minimum time you can. If the Air Force had been more honest with me, I would have probably just finished up my 4 year contract, and cross trained into something I like. Now I want out as soon as possible. I am not going to stay in something that I dislike another 2 years.

  50. Robert,

    I will just briefly touch up on your comment about who care about automatic E3. A lot of people do. This post is pretty accurate. I have been in the AF for a Two years now and I did sign a 6 year contract, I got E3 out of tech school and now I have gotten BTZ (Below The Zone) so I will put on SrA pm the 30th of October. So as this post says it takes 16 months from a 4 year contract to go from E1-E3 and I have managed to go from E3-E4 in two years. In two years as a 4 year enlistee you will not get to E4. So there are benefits and now I am able to test for E5 sonner and have a chance to make it at a fast pace. Yes it took hard work to get BTZ but it does have a lot of advantages to sign a 6 year contract if you plan to stay in the AF. I know Robert’s post was 2 months ago however for others reading this post its pretty accurate!!

  51. Good job Robert. That’s right, if you are motivated it can jumpstart everything for you.

  52. Zachary Rouer says:

    ok so i’m cheuled to leave for bmt in less than two weeks and i was really hoping to get a six year contract but since it is a new fiscal year my recruiter said tthere might not be any 6 year contracts available by the time i go to MEPS for the second time. is there any way i can get a six year contract after i leave for basic if they don’t have any? by the way, i’m going in as open mechanical and jet mechanic is one of my top choices.

  53. MSgt Reed says:

    No, not if there aren’t any.

    That’s like asking your mom for extras at dinner when there is nothing left.

    Hopefully there will be 6 year contracts available, and you should also have the opportunity to go for a six year contract during basic training as well.

    But if there are none available then there are none to be had.

    We are currently in the new Fiscal year so I would think they would know by now, let me find out for you. Hang tight.

  54. Zachary – Ok the 6 year option as you may already know also comes with what is called accelerated rank to E3 upon completion of your Tech school, or 20 weeks (whichever comes first) promoting you to E3 early comes with more pay, more pay comes out of the Government’s budget, as you may know literally just got approved. So once all the money from the budget gets trickeled down to all the appropriate organizations it can then be decided if the 6 yr option will once again, become an option. So the MEPS cannot offer you a 6 yr contract until they get the “Official word” that they have been authorized to give out again. Now, if you ship out and the official word comes out while you are in BMT, you should get the option offered to you there. Especially someone with an Area because you have to redo your contract once you sit with a job counselor and pick your mechanical job which won’t even take place til around your second week, so I wouldn’t worry, everything should work out for you if the 6 year options are once again authorized.

    Hope this helped, Goodluck Sir!!


  55. Zachary Rouer says:

    thanks that helped a bunch.

  56. Zachary Rouer says:

    wow sorry that post was meant to ask if i could get a 6 year contract if they get some by the time i get to tech school if they don’t have any now. but you guys answered my question despite the mess-up so thanks for that. i was just wondering because i’m positive i’ll stay in the USAF as long as i can because this is what i wanted to do since i was little.

  57. I’m scheduled to leave for Air Force BMT on Nov. 5. I was jus wondering about the 6 yr contracts being taken away becuz of this recent Government Shutdown. Will I still receive my 6 yr enlistment with e-3. I signed a 6 year contract for Security Forces. And since my recruiter couldn’t exactly tell me I was hoping you could.

  58. Francesca says:

    I don’t often post comments anywhere, but I feel a need to thank you for such a wonderful article. The world of Air Force lingo and miscommunication is positively confusing, and you’d done a great job spelling it out in a witty and easy to understand article. I can see why this information is very important to those who enlist! My husband just joined the Air Force as a Ground Cryptolinguist (a 6 year contract), and I’ve been having trouble understanding the whole “rank advancement” process- we hear different information from all types of authority (recruiter vs liaison). As a married couple with a baby (who’ll be 14-15 months old when we arrive in Monterey for tech school) every dollar counts and being able to accurately plan ahead for our monthly budgeting in a place with a high cost of living is very important. Thanks again for helping clear the air about this topic!

  59. Francesca says:

    Pardon my errors, *you’ve.

  60. MSgt Reed says:

    Read Xyanes comment above he answered this question

  61. My grandson has gone through MEPS and signed six year contract. He is now waiting for job assignment and date for basic. My question is when does the six years start, at contract signing or departure for basic?

  62. Ed Williams says:

    Need help finding out if my afsc “S.E.R.E” is still offering a bonus for 6yr enlistees. I’m shipping on Nov18 and the bonus incentive is reason why I would sign for 6yrs opposed to 4yr also my recruiter along with other sources online says SERE only offers 6yr contracts due to amount of training involved in the afsc.

  63. Hi, I am in DEP and just signed my job and am leaving Dec.9th. My Job is 1C531-Aerospace Control and Warning Systems. Does anyone know any information about this job other than the basic description on the USAF website(such as working conditions,shift hours, or base assignment locations)? Also I would like to know how switching base assignments would work, just in case I do not like the first base I am assigned to.

  64. What jobs are good ones to pick if your long term goal is CIA or FBI? If my son enlists for six years will this help him get his schooling done and try to commission to an Officer? My last question is can my son apply for the Air Force Scholarship while he is active duty? Thanks for your help.

  65. Bmillick,
    It starts when he leaves for basic training.

  66. Ed,
    Not sure about the SERE bonus, bonuses change so often. This is something you would have to ask your recruiter

  67. Chris,

    The best way to learn more about your job is to ask your recruiter to link you up with someone at an Air Force base who does it. If he can’t help you I will see if I can find someone for you and possibly let you guys exchange emails. As far as moving goes, you would have to be at your first base for at least a year before you are eligible to move. You would select the bases you want to go to, preferably based on what’s available. The Air Force releases assignment notifications and if you base your preferences off of what is on the list it could increase your chances of leaving.

  68. Laura,

    You could essentially work for the FBI or CIA with any career field in the military. You just need to get your degree and what ever other requirements are needed. But the Air Force does have their own version of the FBI called OSI. Operation of Special Investigations. They wear plain clothes (Suits) and the deal with fraud, waste, abuse, murders, rapes, drug busts and things like that. You can’t come in directly to OSI you would have to apply once you were in. There is also security forces (cops) they have an investigation unit. Or you could do a job like intelligence or something. There’s many options.

    Six years wouldn’t help anymore to get a degree then four years other than give him more time to complete it. Finally yes there are many air force scholarships for Airmen who want to become an officer. He would just visit the education office and they would explain them all.

    I may write a post about it soon.


  69. Jarhead Dad says:

    I keep seeing the “end of tech school” OR 20 weeks, whichever comes first… my question is when does the 20 weeks start? My son just graduated BMT and is on his second day at Vandenberg. His official training doesn’t start until almost two weeks after he reported in there so waiting 20 weeks from then actually makes it over 30 weeks on active duty. Please clear that part up for my son and me. Thanks for all the great info here too!

  70. Jarhead Dad,

    The 20 weeks starts the day they start class.

  71. Hello sir,
    I have 20 college credits and was ranked E2 upon signing a 4 year contract, do I get promoted after BMT?, and after tech school? What are the steps for promotion if I didn’t sign a 6 year contract? Thank you for answering questions. It’s a big help.

  72. Kelly,

    You will get it when you graduate basic training. Congrats.

  73. Hello
    I’m thinking about air force reserve, honestly I don’t really need the $. My problem is to get my citizenship ASAP. When I talked with army recruiter he told me that I will get my citizenship in the 3rd week of my basic training and it’s gonna take around 2 months after I sing the contract. But the Air Force recruiter told me that it might take up to 6 months or more. My 1) first question is that why it’s different time if both of them is military and the 2) second question is that what’s the shortest time I can do at army reserve or Air Force reserve ? P.S I’m temporary resident and I have around 62 credit with associate in science degree.

  74. TLSH,
    I don’t know what the army recruiter is talking about. They may have some program I don’t know about or he could just be lying to you. I would probably guess the latter. citizenship really depends upon you. You have to apply, you have to test, you have to do it all so the timeline is up to you. If it takes you 6 months great if it takes longer then it’s because of you. I don’t know how you can get citizenship during basic though.

  75. MSgt
    Actually what he told me is that, I will become citizen automatically because I’m a green card holder. But I don’t really believed that. And second question is what’s the shortest contract with Air Force reserve?
    Thanks in advance sir.

  76. TLSH,

    You have to have a green card at a minimum to join the military. Still need to apply for citizenship. But again there may be a program that I don’t know about. In my experience everyone I have put in with a green card had to go through the motions to get citizenship. You do get priority and it is a faster process but not automatic.

  77. TLSH,

    As far as the reserves commitment. I don’t know, never dealt with the reserves.

  78. angaritad says:

    I have a troop that has enlisted in the AF Reserves for six years and she never received the rank. She completed tech school and has been in the flight for about a month and still is an AB. She has asked multiple people about the rank she is supposed to receive and they state she is not eligible for it. She has tried to contact the recruiter and has had no luck with a response back. Can you give me some advice or point me in the direction to get solid details of the rank with six year enlistment?

  79. MSgt Reed says:


    I would need more details as to why she is entitled to it and why they are saying she isn’t eligible. The reserves can be different and I’m not sure what her contract stated.

  80. Gregory.Peck says:

    Is it a good strategy to tell my recruiter that I’m willing to take the 6 year option if he helps me out to get a guaranted job?

  81. divine0enigma says:

    Only enlist for six if you’re absolutely sure that you want to make a career out of the air force. The biggest benefit is being eligible for making SrA below the zone faster, which leads to testing for and making SSgt faster (which is a significant pay increase), and also leads to moving out of the dorms faster / banking housing allowance.

    The pay difference from E1 to E3 isn’t that big of a deal as its made out to be on this page. You won’t be paying for a whole lot anyway while you live in the dorms.

    I signed for 6 because at the time a few hundred more a month and a $2000 dollar enlistment bonus sounded like a lot of money. However, after taxes that 2000 quickly turned into more like 1300. The pay difference isn’t that amazing, and if you’re thinking that there is a “status” difference between a E1 and an E3, you’re mistaken. You might as well be wearing the same rank.

    I got all of my technical training and a top secret security clearance in my first couple of years. I could have gotten out after 4 and found a job that pays double what I make in the military. Is a few hundred bucks a month worth 2 years of your life that you could be making bank on the outside?

  82. I was wondering when I go to meet with an Air Force recruiter and they weigh me in to see if I can start enlisting will I be disqualified because I am underweight? I weigh 116-117 and I am 5’7″. Thank you for your help.

  83. Hi,
    I recently went through MEPS and got the list of jobs im qualified for with a score of 96 on my ASVAB. I’m interested in Intel jobs and scores certainly qualify me for them but I noticed that the ones I wanted were not on the sheet of jobs I could pick from. When I asked why they said it was due to my height. I’m 63 inches and airborne jobs require a height of 64 inches. My question is if there’s a height waiver I can obtain to clear me for the Intel jobs that have an airborne component? I can easily make up for that measly inch with the boots I’ll have to wear as part of the Air Force uniform. I’ll be taking the DLAB in a few weeks and if all goes well id like to know I can qualify for the airborne linguist position. Every time I ask my recruiter or the liaison for the Air Force at MEPS about the waiver they don’t seem to know anything about it but I’ve talked to enlisted personal who are currently in the airborne linguist job and they say there are waivers you can get for height. Before I sign for an job I’d like to be armed with all the necessary information as possible. Thank you for any insight you can give me.

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