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What do I need to join the air force?

Will I need a lot of money or a degree for something big? I intend on joining the air force and doing something with languages. I have been in french for 9+ years and love it. I want to know if it's possible to join with pretty good grades and only a high school diploma.

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Bhavna’s Answer

To join the U.S. Air Force, you will need to meet certain basic requirements such as being a U.S. citizen or legal alien, passing a standard physical exam and qualifying based on age, education and prior experience. Typically, you do need at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent to join. Having a degree may be beneficial depending on the job that you are applying for.

If you have a passion for languages, you can utilize the Air Force's language programs as a way to learn and grow. There are many language opportunities available in the Air Force which can help you hone your language skills. The Air Force also has a scholarship program for strong language students, allowing you to attend college and return to the Air Force with increased language proficiency.

In terms of the cost of joining the Air Force, you won’t need a lot of money, as enlistment is free. However, once you join the Air Force there could be costs associated with uniforms, books and other supplies.

Overall, having a strong language background and good grades can put you in a great position to succeed in the Air Force. It is definitely possible to join the Air Force with only a high school diploma and make the most of the language opportunities available. Good luck!
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Andrew’s Answer

Hi Skylar! Joining a branch of the US Military is a noble aspiration, but a very serious matter and not to be taken lightly. Once you commit and sign the documents, you are stepping into a world of big responsibility that is not without sacrifice - all for the worthwhile cause of defending all of the people of this nation, at home and around the world. As mentioned by others, you will have to decide to join as either a commissioned officer or an enlisted service member. A ROTC program at your school or college will help you join as a commissioned officer. A Recruiter is your place to start as an enlisted service member. Remember to consider your decision carefully. I am not at all trying to discourage you, I had a wonderful career as an enlisted member of the US Army Reserve and made great friends, travelled and learned new skills. If you decide to join, you will be in my thoughts along with the millions of others that have stood up to serve the people of this country. You have my support and admiration.

PS: The military is always looking for people with language skills. If you go the route of enlisting, tell the recruiter that you want a rank promotion based on your language skills. Why start as an E-1 when you can start as an E-3? Good luck.
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Greg’s Answer

I agree with Austin. Don't feel obligated to sign with recruiter, and be sure of what you want to do in the Air Force. Recruiter's have numbers to meet and certain jobs to fill, so don't let them steer you into something don't have an interest in doing for a career. I completed 22 years Navy both active and reserve, and although there were times I was wondering why I was in, I stuck it out and never regretted my decision to join. I suggest going to this website https://www.airforce.com/asvab . The ASVAB in a test the military has to determine what your best fit would be in uniformed service. The better the score - the better the job opportunities. The mentioned website offers a "pre-ASVAB" test where you can see what jobs you would qualify for in the Air Force. Taking the test will show weak areas where you can study and improve so you are ready for the actual test.

If you join and do your very best, and do a bit more than what is expected, you will find great opportunities for advancement, schools (either technical or college), and be on your way to a 20 year career, where you can retire at 1/2 pay at 38 and start a second career in the civilian world. It doesn't take anything more than commitment and integrity to succeed in a military career. And just an aside, the Air Force treats it's members the best of the branches when it comes to chow, housing, travel, and per diem. If you don't make a career of it, the training you will receive can open many doors for a civilian career once you fulfill your contractual obligations with the service.

I joined with a HS diploma but didn't have the language skills you have, that skill is a big plus in the service. You will be trained for what your job will be so don't sweat that part. Good luck with your future!
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Austin’s Answer

A high school diploma is perfectly fine. Your best bet is to speak to a local Air Force recruiter and talk to them about your interests and see what your options are. Please remember to keep an open mind and know that you aren’t obligated to sign anything (some recruiters are pushy and will encourage you to join regardless of what you want to do). All branches have jobs that involve other languages so I’m certain you kind find something you may enjoy.

Austin recommends the following next steps:

Speak with a local recruiter.
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Eric’s Answer

SKylar,

You do not need money or a degree if you would like to join the Air Force right after high school.
There are two paths to joining the Air Force (or other services) from high school: Enlisted or Officer. You will need to take a test called the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) which will give you scores that determine which type of jobs you are qualified for in the Air Force; the higher you score, the more jobs you are qualified to choose from. You'll need to be between the ages of 18-39 to join. You will need to be physically fit: A female under 30 years old needs to do a minimum of 18 pushups in a minute, 38 situps in a minute, and a 1.5 mile run under 16:22 in order to score for the test. See https://airforce-pt.com/standards/air-force-pt-standards-female/air-force-fitness-standards-females-under-30/

The Enlisted path from high school just requires a GED or high school diploma. Good grades are not necessary, but good study habits and retention of information will help you to do well, especially in basic training and your technical school training.

If you would like to become a linguist, which is part of the intelligence career field, will require an ASVAB score of 72 in the General category. The linguist school normally will be for a year after completing basic training, then you will proceed to your first duty station to gain on-the-job training and experience.

The Officer path from high school requires going to college first and graduating with a four year degree. While in college you can also be a part of the AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps); you'll have to check with the college if the ROTC program is available. The ROTC program will help you to understand how the military works before you join.

Please do your research before speaking with a recruiter so you'll be prepared. You will have to be adamant as to which career you would like to work and not have the recruiter "lead" you into a job you would not want. They have to fill the career fields that do not have enough people.

A good starting point for you would be the following website: https://www.airforce.com/frequently-asked-questions

I wish you well in your choice of career path.
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Julio Cesar’s Answer

I served on the Air Force reserves for around eight years as a security force specialist and air transportation specialist. I joined when I was 22 right after completing some community college courses. Some of the needed things will be listed below,
Be at least 18 years of age. Must obtain a 65 qualifying score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Obtain 15 or more semester hours of qualifying college credit to gain the same eligibility as a high school graduate. Be in good physical condition, so you have to make sure you can run and start eating healthy. Make sure you study before you ASVAB which will determine what jobs you qualify for and it pretty much builds your career path upfront. There are many jobs and just look online for different jobs that might interest you, just have a plan. Also, be prepared to leave, you will be in basic training then your technical school and it will be away from home so be prepared to be homesick. It will be worth it in the long run when you have the military on your resume and look for jobs after. Languages allow you to have different jobs so talk to your recruiter, and take your time with your decisions, you are not obligated to choose any which means you have the choice to join or not. Best of luck.
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James’s Answer

Hello there! You only need a high school diploma or equivalent to enlist. If you want to become an officer, (in order to be a pilot, you need to have an officer rank) you will need a college degree. Keep in mind that becoming a pilot is incredibly competitive.
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Richard J (Rich)’s Answer

Skylar - I an a retired Colonel, USAF and started my career as an enlisted person. Your first choice is if you want to join the USAF as an enlisted person or an officer - both sides of the service are good.

If you want to join as an officer - you are going to have to get a college degree first. I am not sure what year you are in high school but if you have great grades, volunteer time and some sports background - you are a potential candidate for the USAF Academy - you can talk to you HS Guidance Counselor. There are other options to get a degree, if you are not going to do it on your own, is to look for schools that have a USAF Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) associated and you can apply for ROTC scholarships as well. If you do get your degree on your own - then you can apply for the Officer Training School to enter the service in that way

If you want to join enlisted - the best place to start is with your local recruiter. He/She will guide you in the journey it will take to become an enlisted member. The recruiter will discuss with you career options in the Air Force (you can look most of those up online) and you should go in there with some sense of what will be of interest to you as a job if you join the Air Force. There are lots of options

I started enlisted and while serving in my operational duties I took advantage of the college degree courses offered and ended up getting an ROTC scholarship through a USAF program called the Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program to become an officer. If you are the best you can be at the job you get as an enlisted member - good opportunities like the one I had could come your way. There are several similar programs in the USAF today to go from enlisted to officer.

Bottomline - you have to decide if you want to go to college, get your degree and become an officer or join enlisted. If enlisted - start with your local recruiter. Let me know if you have any other questions
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