Top 10 Air Force Jobs in 2019

Top 10 Air Force MOSs
Three USAF pilots walk across the tarmac to their aircraft. Credit: Air Force Times.

The Air Force offers over 200 different jobs, known as AFSCs, for enlisted airmen. With so many options, it’s hard to narrow them down to the top 10 Air Force jobs.

Of course, the higher score you get on your ASVAB and the more schooling you have under your belt, the greater your opportunities are. But what makes these 10 Air Force jobs the best, anyway? Well, we used three factors to determine our final list.

  • Do airmen with the particular AFSC enjoy it? For the most accurate information, we’re looking at Indeed.com, which has thousands of reviews for almost any job out there.
  • Is the position highly compensated? We’re using average salaries according to Glassdoor.com. These can range greatly based on an airman’s rank and experience.
  • Does the job have a direct civilian equivalent? Are you gonna get hired when you leave the military? 

So based on enjoyment, compensation and civilian hireability, here are the top 10 Air Force jobs in 2019.

For more, read our top 10 Army MOSs

 

10. Cyber Systems Operations (3D0X2)

If you’re into computers, this could be the job for you. These airmen are tasked with the incredibly important job of cyber security for the Air Force. They design, install and maintain systems to keep the military’s information safe, and out of enemy hands. 

Review: “Cyber is a good place to get a strong foundation. Great benefits, fair pay and amazing opportunities available.” 

Average compensation: $50,810.

Civilian equivalent? YES. Working as cyber specialist in the Air Force earns you computer skills that translate to a ton of different tech jobs in the civilian world, including website design, programming and, yes, cyber security. 

 

9. Air Traffic Control (1C1X1)

ATC is an unseen but vital part of aviation. The main duty here is to track airplanes and give them takeoff and landing instructions, ensuring that every part of a flight goes smoothly and without a hitch. It’s a demanding but rewarding job, which is why it lands in our top 10 Air Force jobs.

Review: “Joining the Air Force was definitely the best job decision that I have ever made in my life. My job was exceptional as well. I was a forward Air Controller. The job and lifestyle were both something to hang a hat on! Highly recommended to EVERYONE!”

Average compensation: $52,386.

Civilian equivalent? YES. Air traffic control is needed at literally every working airport. Many veterans who worked with planes in the military go on to work with them as civilians. 

 

8. Operations Intelligence (1N0X1)

Is being behind the scenes more your style? Then Operations Intelligence could be the AFSC for you. These airmen process and analyze intel that the Air Force uses to defeat its enemies. They act as a filter for information in order to quickly and efficiently get the most usable intelligence possible. 

Review: “I have had continuous motivation, career progression, education, and travel. Hands on training and unit coercion. This has developed my keen attention to detail, strategic thinking, problem solving, and team building.”

Average compensation: $45,775.

Civilian equivalent? YES. Working in intel provides airmen with critical skills that translate to many high-profile jobs in the civilian world. Top agencies to work for after military service are the CIA and NSA. 


intel analyst
An intel analyst at Langley AFB. Credit: vaguard.dodlive.mil.

7. Biomedical Equipment (4A2X1)

Biomed is for enlisted guys and gals who want a solid job at the entry level. The job is basically all about medical equipment. You get to fix it, maintain it, write reports on it, install it — the whole works. If you think about it, biomed is a pretty important job. 

Review: “I loved working in the medical field and the honor of wearing the uniform. I deployed on humanitarian effort missions as well as recovery missions.”

Average compensation: $56,056.

Civilian equivalent? YES. The medical field is one of the most lucrative today in the civilian world. Biomedical equipment specialists are needed outside of the military, too, and the skills translate to a ton of technical jobs in hospitals everywhere. 

 

6. Public Affairs Officer (3N0X1)

This MOS does require a degree, but there’s a reason why: the duties they perform vary greatly, and will often be broadcast to the Air Force at large. They act as a bridge between  the Air Force and the public, through social media, television, articles and more; which means they get to share some of the coolest parts of military operations. 

Review: “I always enjoyed the work I did because I pursued opportunities that cultivated my creative interests. The hardest part of the job was learning new work styles per each advancement/assignment, but getting the hang of it never took long. A typical day at work left me feeling productive and satisfied. We always created something new!”

Average compensation: $87,331.

Civilian equivalent? YES. It helps already having a degree, but Public Affairs is a civilian job, too, and can be useful (depending on your specific job) in any number of areas, from being a TV anchor to in-the-field journalism.

 

5. Security Forces (3P0X1)

There’s a lot of job options within 3P0X1, and as you can probably guess, they all deal with security. Work with missile protection, law enforcement, military working dogs and more. It’s all about the defense of your fellow airmen. 

Review: “It was a simple job, but important. There is a lot of satisfaction which comes with the job keep all individuals on the base safe.”

Average compensation: $40,000.

Civilian equivalent? YES. Especially as a police officer or other hands-on public service jobs. 


Top 10 Air Force MOSs
USAF Security Forces Officer. Credit: USAF POLICE ALUMNI FOUNDATION.

4. Tactical Aircraft Maintenance (2A3X3)

These airmen know how to fix and maintain pretty much every system on hundreds of tactical aircraft in the Air Force. Not only is their job vitally important, but it’s a great industry with lots of learning and advancement opportunities.

Review: “I LOVE AIRPLANES! And how better to fulfill that passion than to join the Air Force?! Great benefits, endless room for promotion with effort, relocation is easy!”

Average compensation: $48,811.

Civilian equivalent? YES, YES, YES. Coming out of the Air Force and into civilian aviation, you’re bound to have a ton of open doors. The average salary for an aviation mechanic in the U.S. is about $55,000 – but there’s always room to learn more skills and grow with the industry.

 

3. Flight Engineer (1A1X1)

You must be a jack of all trades for this AFSC. Duties include monitoring all flight systems before, during and after flying, as well as aircraft maintenance and other essential functions of working an airplane. 

Review: “This was a great job and allowed me to see the world. I entered the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and promoted and cross trained to a flight engineer position. This move in my career completely changed my view on my time in the military and shown me things I thought I would never see.”

Average compensation: $64,739.

Civilian equivalent? YES. With all the same skills as an aviation mechanic (and maybe more), you could easily continue working on aircraft as a civilian. 

 

2. Airborne Mission Systems (1A3X1)

Similar to Flight Engineers, 1A3X1 monitors aircraft systems during all parts of the flight. They look after communications and various electronic systems, as well as aircraft personnel. Their job can include high-pressure airborne battle operations, or simply testing aircraft procedures.

Review: “The Air Force taught me so much about life, it’s actually fun to think back before I enlisted with how I thought I knew everything. Now with the knowledge, experience, on-the-job training, extra and volunteer opportunities, people I have met, and hard work I have put in, I finally feel as if I have a much better grasp on the world and of who I am as a person.”

Average compensation: $40,000.

Civilian equivalent? YES. As mentioned before, the aviation industry is excellent employment – especially when you already have your foot in the door. 


missions systems
Airman monitors aircraft systems. Credit: airforce.com.

1. Pilot

No surprise — pilot is #1 on our list of top 10 Air Force jobs. It’s why a ton of airmen join up in the first place, and the pay isn’t bad, either. But really, for most pilots, getting to live out their dream by flying for the Air Force is reward enough. 

Review: “Flying fighters is hard to describe to anyone who has not flown them. Very fun, challenging, and demanding. Job entailed long hours and was very competitive, but very fulfilling nonetheless.”

Average compensation: $102,674.

Civilian equivalent? YES. With flying experience in the Air Force you are almost automatically guaranteed a job doing the same thing out of uniform. 

 

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