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Air Force Careers

 

It’s well known that the Air Force is considered the “elite” branch of the military for its high standards for entry and challenging jobs. It’s one of the newest US military branches and was created in 1947 after World War II to focus on air and cyberspace defense.

In short, the Air Force is at the forefront of modern technology, working daily with aircraft, cyberspace intelligence, and aerospace mechanics. Therefore, if you’re looking for an exciting career that’s as fulfilling as it is challenging, a career in the US Air Force could be a good place to start.

The US Air Force offers over 200 careers and it can be a lot to take in when you start doing your research. There’s a lot going on and it can be overwhelming to decipher all the job titles and codes. So, here we’ve tried to break things down into smaller parts so that you can get a better grasp on all the careers the US Air Force has to offer.

Officer Air Force Careers

First, let’s talk about Air Force careers for commissioned officers. To become an officer in the US Air Force (or in any branch of the military) you must have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree. For some positions, it requires an even more specialized degree.

Before you’re commissioned, you must complete either an ROTC program at your university, graduate from the Air Force Academy, or complete Officer Training School (OTS). Once you do, you’ll be eligible for the following career paths within the Air Force:

  • Pilot
  • Navigator Field
  • Space, Missile, and Command and Control
  • Intelligence Officers
  • Logistics Officers
  • Arts and Humanities Officers
  • Health and Medicine Officers
  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Future Technologies Field

Enlisted Air Force Careers

To enlist in the Air Force, you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree, but the standards are still rather high. You’ll need to take the ASVAB and earn decent scores. Plus, a high school diploma looks great when you’re looking to apply. Having a record of law-breaking is also a deal-breaker in most cases of trying to enlist in the Air Force while some branches like the Army might look past minor infractions.

The list of enlisted careers you can have in the Air Force is long but bear with us. Enlisted Air Force careers are separated into the following seven categories and each category has subcategories with different career fields within them.

The categories of enlisted Air Force careers are:

  • Operations
  • Maintenance and Logistics
  • Support
  • Medical and Dental
  • Legal and Chaplain
  • Finance and Contracting
  • Special Investigations

Operations

– Aircrew Operations

  • 1A0XX In-Flight Refueling
  • 1A1XX Flight Engineer
  • 1A2XX Aircraft Loadmaster
  • 1A3XX Airborne Mission System
  • 1A4XX Airborne Operations
  • 1A5XX Flight Attendant
  • 1A6XX Aerial Gunner
  • 1A7XX Airborne Cryptologic Linguist
  • 1A8XX Special Mission Aviation

– Cyberspace

  • 1B4XX Cyberspace Defense Operations

– Command and Control Systems Operations

  • 1C0XX Aviation Resource Management
  • 1C1XX Air Traffic Control
  • 1C2XX Combat Control
  • 1C3XX Command Post
  • 1C4XX Tactical Air Control Party
  • 1C5XX Command and Control Battle Management Operations
  • 1C6XX Space Systems Operations
  • 1C7XX Airfield Management

– Intelligence

  • 1N0XX Operations Intelligence
  • 1N1XX Geospatial Intelligence
  • 1N2XX Signals Intelligence Analyst
  • 1N3XX Cryptologic Language Intelligence
  • 1N4XX Network Intelligence Analyst

– Aircrew Flight Equipment

  • 1P0XX Aircrew Flight Equipment

– Safety

  • 1S0XX Safety

– Aircrew Protection

  • 1T0XX Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE)
  • 1T1XX Pararescue

– Unmanned Aerospace Systems

  • 1U0XX Career RPA Sensor Operator

– Weather

  • 1W0XX Weather

Maintenance and Logistics

– Aerospace Maintenance

  • 2A0XX Avionics Test Station and Components
  • 2A3XX Avionics Systems
  • 2A5XX Aerospace Maintenance
  • 2A6XX Aerospace Propulsion
  • 2A7XX Aircraft Metals Technology

– Comm-Elec/WireSystems Maintenance

  • 2E1XX Satellite, Wideband, and Telemetry Systems
  • 2E2XX Network Infrastructure Systems
  • 2E6XX Communication Cable and Antenna Systems

– Fuels

– Logistic Plans

– Missile and Space Systems Maintenance

– Precision Measurement

– Maintenance Management Systems

  • 2R0XX Maintenance Management Analysis
  • 2R1XX Maintenance Management Production

– Material Management

– Transportations and Vehicle Maintenance

  • 2T0XX Traffic Management
  • 2T1XX Vehicle Operations
  • 2T2XX Air Transportation
  • 2T3XX Vehicle Maintenance

– Munitions and Weapons

Support

– Information Management

– Communication-Computer Systems

  • 3C0XX Communication-Computer Systems
  • 3C1XX Information Systems Technology
  • 3C2XX Network Integration

– Cyberspace Support

  • 3D0XX Knowledge Operations Management
  • 3D1XX Client Systems

– Civil Engineering

  • 3E0XX Electrical Systems
  • 3E1XX Heating, Ventilation, AC, Refrigeration
  • 3E2XX Pavement and Construction Equipment
  • 3E3XX Structural
  • 3E4XX Water and Fuel Systems Maintenance
  • 3E5XX Engineering
  • 3E6XX Operations Management
  • 3E7XX Fire Protection
  • 3E8XX Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • 3E9XX Emergency Management

– Services

– Public Affairs

  • 3N0XX Public Affairs
  • 3N1XX Regional Band
  • 3N2XX Premier Band

– Security Forces (Military Police)

– Mission Support

  • 3S0XX Personnel
  • 3S1XX Equal Opportunity
  • 3S2XX Education and Training
  • 3S3XX Manpower

Medical and Dental

– Medical

  • Health Services Management
  • Medical Material
  • Biomedical Equipment
  • Bioenvironmental Engineering
  • Mental Health Service
  • Diet Therapy
  • Public Health
  • Cardiopulmonary Laboratory
  • Physical Medicine
  • Aerospace and Operational Physiology
  • Aerospace Medical Service
  • Surgical Service
  • Pharmacy
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Medical Laboratory
  • Ophthalmic

– Dental

Professional and Acquisition

  • Paralegal
  • Chaplain Assistant
  • Contracting
  • Financial

Special Investigations

Special investigations is a job title for those who are seasoned. In other words, this is not an entry-level career. Airmen in this career conduct criminal, fraud, counterintelligence, personal background, and technical services investigations as well as special inquiries and management.

Special Duty Assignments

When you have a special duty assignment, you’re not necessarily assigned to a specific career. Special duty assignments are classifications that are usually temporary and once a special duty tour is completed, airmen will go back to their regular classification.

– Special Duty Identifiers

  • 8A1XX Career Assistance Advisors
  • 8A2XX Enlisted Aide
  • 8B0XX Military Training Instructor
  • 8B1XX Military Training Leader
  • 8B2XX Academy Military Training NCO
  • 8C0XX Airmen/Family Readiness Center
  • 8D0XX Strategic Debriefer
  • 8F0XX First Sergeant
  • 8G0XX Honor Guard
  • 8H0XX Airman Dorm Leader
  • 8M0XX Postal
  • 8P0XX Courier
  • 8P1XX Defense Attache
  • 8R0XX Enlisted Accessions Recruiter
  • 8R2XX Second-Tier Recruiter
  • 8R3XX Third-Tier Recruiter
  • 8S0XX Missile Facility Manager
  • 8T0XX Professional Military Education Instructor

– Special Reporting Identifiers

  • 9A0XX Awaiting Retraining – Reasons Beyond Control
  • 9A1XX Awaiting Retraining – Reasons Within Control
  • 9A2XX Awaiting Discharge, Separation, Retirement – Reasons Within Control
  • 9A3XX Awaiting Discharge, Separation, Retirement – Reasons Beyond Control
  • 9C0XX Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
  • 9D0XX Dormitory Manager
  • 9E0XX Command Chief Master Sergeant
  • 9F0XX First Term Airman Center
  • 9G1XX Group Superintendent
  • 9J0XX Prisoner
  • 9L0XX Interpreter/Translator
  • 9P0XX Patient
  • 9R0XX Civil Air Patrol – USAF Reserve Assistance NCO
  • 9S1XX Scientific Applications Specialist
  • 9T0XX Basic Enlisted Airman
  • 9T1XX Officer Trainee
  • 9T2XX Pre-Cadet Assignee
  • 9W0XX Wounded Warrior

Best Air Force Careers

It’s hard to say objectively that one Air Force career is better than another. Everyone has individual needs, interests, and skills, so the best Air Force job for one person might be the worst for someone else.

Still, there are a couple of Air Force careers that are extremely competitive and considered the best. Air traffic control and becoming a pilot are two of the most coveted Air Force jobs due to their high salaries, civilian transferability, and the sense of meaning it brings.

In a lot of cases, you might assume that enlisted airmen don’t have as many opportunities for a fulfilling career as an officer might, but in the case of the Air Force, air traffic controllers are enlisted airmen while pilots are officers. It just goes to show that the Air Force as a whole as a lot to offer.

To summarize, the US Air Force has careers that are challenging with many of the job descriptions dealing with high stake situations. This gives airmen, both officers and those who have enlisted, a sense of purpose in their day-to-day lives. And in the end, that’s all we can really ask for from our careers.

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