The Air Force is one of the most prestigious and tough-to-get-into branches of the U.S. military. Many young people have dreams of joining the Air Force in order to learn how to fly while serving their country at the same time.
Here, we’re going over the best Air Force jobs for enlisted airmen.
Best Enlisted Jobs in the Air Force
When searching for the best enlisted jobs in the Air Force, there are a few criteria each job had to meet. First of all, do the people who hold these jobs enjoy them? Next, we’re looking at how the position is compensated. And finally, we’re seeing if these Air Force jobs have a civilian equivalent.
All three of these factors are incredibly important when it comes to job satisfaction in the military and therefore, they all count toward which jobs made this list.
Best Jobs in the Air Force – Enlisted
Before we go into the best jobs in the Air Force for enlisted service members, let’s talk briefly about the difference between an enlisted airman and an officer.
Officers become officers in one of two ways. Either they are commissioned into the Air Force after earning at least a Bachelor’s degree or they work their way up to an officer position after enlisting. They’re often paid much more due to their educational background and usually fill specialized positions.
Here, we’re specifically talking about jobs in the Air Force that you don’t need to be an officer to qualify for. Most require at least a high school diploma and good ASVAB scores but other than that, enlisted airmen are encouraged to go for these jobs.
What are the best enlisted jobs in the Air Force?
Cyber Systems Operations
If you work in Cyber Systems Operations, you’re working with computers to ensure cybersecurity within the Air Force. It’s an incredibly important job that is both rewarding and challenging. You’ll be installing and maintaining the systems that help keep the Air Force’s information safe.
Although this job title doesn’t sound all that exciting, being an Aircraft Loadmaster has a lot of responsibility. You’ll be making sure cargo falls within the appropriate weight limits and is distributed properly on the plane.
Aircraft Loadmasters are also the people delivering cargo without a plane even touching the ground. You’ll strap a parachute to the cargo and send it out the back door. You’ll be required to operate forklifts, loading equipment, and performing pre- and post-flight checks as well.
Air Traffic Control
Air Traffic Control is one of the most coveted jobs in the Air Force. By tracking the departures, arrivals, and in-flight movements of aircraft, you’ll have an important role to play in the overall operation. You’re ensuring that flights go off without a hitch and while it’s a demanding job, it’s extremely rewarding.
If you prefer to work behind the scenes instead of commanding the front lines, a job in Operations Intelligence could be right for you. In this department, you’ll handle intel coming in from all sides and organize it in order to better protect the Air Force. Some consider Operations Intelligence to be the filter between the outside world and what’s important to the Force.
If you’re ready to see some action and you joined the Air Force to live out your childhood military dreams, you might be interested in becoming an Aerial Gunner. This position is what it sounds like and you’ll be firing weapons from the sky.
Not only do you need to be able to shoot with precision as an Aerial Gunner, but you’ll also be required to maintain and repair weapons and assist with other crew operations. Overall, it’s a thrilling and rewarding job option for enlisted airmen.
While the job title might sound like you need a higher education degree, it’s actually an entry-level position – and a good one at that. In the Biomedical Equipment department, you’ll be accounting for, fixing, maintaining, transporting, reporting on, and installing medical equipment for the Air Force.
It’s an incredibly important job which is great for job satisfaction and there’s a high demand for those who know how to work with medical equipment in the civilian world.
Airborne Operations (Battle Management Systems) Technician
Airborne Operations Technicians are the ones you hear over the radio when an Air Force aircraft is navigating the skies. While the Pilots are trained to complete missions, you’ll be the one managing the entire operation.
Using radars and other communication systems, Airborne Operations Technicians are in charge of coordinating the flight, recognizing which targets are allies or enemies, and liaising with mission control on the ground. It’s a job as exciting as it is stressful, but is definitely one of the best jobs in the Air Force for enlisted airmen.
Even within the Air Force, there are security measures to be taken to help protect your fellow soldiers. Being part of the Security Forces means you’ll be managing, well… security. You could be protecting missiles, working with law enforcement, or training with military dogs. From there, you can take your skills beyond the military and work as a police officer or as a private security detail.
Tactical Aircraft Maintenance
The Air Force employs hundreds of tactical aircraft and Tactical Aircraft Maintenance personnel need to know how to fix and maintain all of them. With this job, there’s a lot to learn but there are also plenty of opportunities for promotions. If you love all things airplanes, this could be a great Air Force job for you.
A Flight Engineer in the Air Force is considered a “jack of all trades.” With the know-how to fix and maintain aircraft, monitor all flight systems, and understand the essential functions of each plane, there is a long list of duties. Becoming a Flight Engineer is sure to be the start of a long and rewarding career, both within and beyond the Air Force.
Airborne Missions Systems
Working with Airborne Missions Systems is a slightly more nuanced version of becoming a Flight Engineer. You’ll look after the communications that go on during a flight, management of the in-flight personnel, testing aircraft procedures, and overseeing high-pressure airborne battle operations.
There are a lot of components to this job but it ranks high on our list because of all the things an enlisted airman is sure to learn on the job. Lessons they will carry for a lifetime.
Finally, we have the most sought-after job in all of the Air Force: Becoming a Pilot. It’s no secret that many people enlist in the Air Force for the singular dream of becoming a Pilot. This highly competitive position can not only help airmen live out their dreams, but you’re almost guaranteed the opportunity to continue flying even once you retire from the Air Force.
Plus, with a six-figure paycheck, it seems to be the ultimate Air Force job for anyone who enlists.
Best Enlisted Air Force Jobs
Many people assume that the only way to secure a good job in the Air Force is to become an officer when that’s simply not true. Enlisted airmen have plenty of opportunities to perform in a rewarding field each and every day.
After compiling this list, it’s clear that many of these jobs are more hands-on than what you might see from jobs that require a college degree. But especially if you enjoy working with your hands, as many of us do, enlisted airmen have countless options.
Best Air Force Jobs – Enlisted
To conclude, there are many Air Force jobs that can be fulfilling for enlisted airmen depending on your desires and personality. From working with weapons to completing challenging work behind the scenes, a career in the military continues to give meaning to those who serve each and every day.