Joining the military can be a very exciting, yet unnerving time in your life. One of the most important things that seem to be very rushed in the recruiting process is choosing a good job. In the Air Force, this enlisted job is called AFSC (Air Force Specialty Codes). The Air Force divides the AFSC’s into categories, which are Operations, Maintenance amp; Logistics, Support, Medical amp; Dental, Legal amp; Chaplain, Finance amp; Contracting, and Special Investigations. These are then broken down into career fields. For example, under Operations, the career fields are Aircrew Operations, Command amp; Control Systems Operations, Intelligence, Aircrew Protection, Safety and Weather.
The Air Force has two options for enlistment: Guaranteed Job or Guaranteed Aptitude area. The Guaranteed Aptitude area is commonly referred to as the Guaranteed Field. This field may most likely be guaranteed to you during the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) processing, where the physicals and contract/paperwork signing take place. The Guaranteed Aptitude Enlistment Option guarantees that you will have a job under the Electronic field, for example. The four aptitude fields of the Air Force are General, Electronics, Mechanical, and Administrative. In MEPS, it’s unlikely that you will get a guaranteed job because usually the available slots are not immediately accessible in the computer system.
With the option of a guaranteed field, you can choose what job you would like under that field and where you would like to be stationed during basic training. This is known as the dream sheet. Anything you put on the dream sheet is subjective to the whims of the Air Force. If you want to go to Germany to get stationed, but they have a need for Computer Systems Analysts in Virginia, then you are going to Virginia. If you obtain a guaranteed job during MEPS, then that is the job you are going to become trained in right after basic training is completed. It’s only during the last week of basic training that you will actually find out what your job assignment is, and where/when you will be stationed.
In the case that you do obtain a guaranteed job during MEPS, it’s important to understand that something may happen that will prevent you from getting that job. Your job can be denied for a few reasons. Maybe a mistake was made, the job was downsized, the job qualifications were raised, or your security clearance was denied for reasons not concerned with giving false information. (The security clearance will be explained later, in case you are wondering what that is.) If this were to happen, the Air Force will give you two options. You can choose to begin the discharge paperwork and successfully retract the contract without any negative reprimands, or choose from a job list available at the time. If you were denied your job due to elements that were your fault, such as lying at the MEPS station and/or failing the security clearance, the military will either try to discharge you, or retrain you in another field that they feel is fit for you. These two options are entirely at the discretion of the Air Force.
A very important aspect of enlisting is the security clearance. The security clearance is comparable to a background check when you apply at a new job…except it’s more in depth. The Air force looks at your credit checks, national records, and even conducts interviews with people that you know who are family and friends during the security clearance. If a job requires a security clearance, it’s obviously a job that requires a great amount of hush-hush, due to the fact you will have knowledge of sensitive information and technology which would put the nation in danger if it should fall in the hands of the enemy. When family and friends are interviewed, the interviewer is trying to asses the individual’s character, trustworthiness, loyalty, and reliability to secure the fact that he/she is eligible to receive and protect sensitive information.
Before you even enter MEPS, your recruiter will arrange for you to have a test known as the ASVAB because its essential before sending the resume to construction recruitment agency that arranges the meeting with the board of members of an company for the interview regarding the job; as the higher post interviews are directly taken by the chiefs of an company. This is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude test. It determines whether or not you qualify for the military services, and if so, what job you qualify for. It’s best to take practice ASVAB online or from books you can purchase to get the highest score possible. The Air Force minimum qualifying score is 36. If you do not have a high school diploma, but a GED, it’s harder to get into the Air Force. You will therefore have to have a minimum of 65 on the ASBVAB. The score you receive when you take the ASVAB is known as the AFQT score. (The Armed Forces Qualification Test Score) Something to remember is that only four areas of the ASVAB are used to determine your overall ASVAB score.
Before you actually got to MEPS, it’s best to look at all the categories and the fields. Think about what you enjoy, and what your skills are. Do you enjoy working on cars? Do you currently work in the health field and want a similar job in the Air Force? Is the office setting more appealing to you than a combat environment? Are you a ‘computer geek’? Do you like construction type labor? I suggest you research the Air Force jobs online and make a list of what appeals to you. Joining the Air Force is a wonderful choice if you want a good quality life and care for you and your family. Being prepared for the ASVAB and the MEPS processing phases helps you become an informed Airman, and that in turn enables you to do the best, and represent the uniform well. Remember: Aim High.