Education is more than career training — it’s the essential framework of your success in the Air Force. That’s why we offer a variety of unique and specialized programs to help you meet your goals and reach your true potential. From exclusive colleges and universities to tech training and firsthand experience, you’ll be able to enhance your education throughout your career.
America's Largest Community College
Once you join the United States Air Force, you’re automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force. It’s not only America’s largest community college, but it’s also the only degree-granting institution in the world dedicated entirely to Air Force personnel. The Community College of the Air Force is also a unique combination of on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses with classes and times that are flexible to meet your needs.
You’ll work toward your associate’s degree in applied science in one of five career areas — aircraft and missile maintenance, electronics and telecommunications, allied health, logistics and resources or public and support services. While you’re earning your degree, you’ll also be getting invaluable experience to help your career take off.
Real Education Assistance
The Air Force Tuition Assistance (TA) program is designed to help active-duty personnel pursue voluntary, off-duty educational opportunities. Currently, the program pays 100% (up to $250 per semester hour or equivalent) of the cost of college tuition with a limit of $4500 per fiscal year. Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and can be taken from two- or four-year institutions on base, off base or by correspondence.
The Post-9/11 Bill is an educational assistance program that provides up to 36 months of benefits to eligible persons for education and training opportunities pursued after August 1, 2009. These benefits may be used for undergraduate and graduate degree programs, vocational and technical training, tutorial assistance, books, supplies and monthly housing. Generally, benefits are payable for 15 years following release from active duty, and may be transferred to spouses or dependent children.
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is an assistance program created to attract quality men and women to the Armed Forces. The MGIB program provides up to 36 months of benefits to eligible persons for education and training opportunities. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following release from active duty.
The College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) is for all non-prior-service persons considering enlistment in the Air Force. If you have taken some college courses and have accumulated debt, this program may be for you. Participants must sign up for this program when signing the enlistment contract. Under CLRP the repayment maximum is $10,000 per recruit.
Assistance for Enlisted Members
Those selected for AECP remain on active duty and are administratively assigned to an Air Force ROTC detachment. Their job is to go to school as a full-time college student. Airmen selected for AECP receive a tuition and fees scholarship for up to $15,000 per year, as well as a textbook allowance of $600 per year. Those selected may participate for up to three years, depending on their degree programs and previous academics. AECP is open only to specific majors, including nursing, meteorology, physics, math, most engineering majors and certain foreign language and foreign-area studies specialties. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in another field may apply to participate in AECP to earn a second bachelor’s degree in one of the above-listed fields. All AECP students (non-Nurses) entering the program will earn their baccalaureate degree then complete commissioning training through the Basic Officer Course (BOT) at Officer Training School (OTS). Upon graduation, AECP nurses attend Commissioned Officer Training Course (COT). To learn more, contact an Air Force adviser.
Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP) is for selected Airmen who are released from active duty and enlisted in the Air Force Reserve (Obligated Reserve Section). The ASCP program offers active-duty enlisted personnel the opportunity to earn a commission while completing their bachelor’s degree as an Air Force ROTC cadet. They receive a tuition and fees scholarship for up to $15,000 per year, as well as a textbook allowance of $600 per year. ASCP scholarships are available for two to four years and are open. They are awarded in a variety of fields, including technical (engineering, meteorology, architecture, etc.), nontechnical, nursing, prehealth and foreign language areas, including graduate studies. Airmen with some or no college credit may apply for the program. If selected, Airmen may use Montgomery GI Bill benefits and also receive a tax-free monthly stipend of $250 to $400 depending on what year of school they are in. Graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants and will then be returned to active duty (typically within 60 days of commissioning) for at least four years. To learn more, contact an Air Force adviser.
The Academy Preparatory School better known as the “Prep School,” is designed to academically, physically and mentally prepare qualified young men and women to enter the U.S. Air Force Academy. Located on the Academy grounds, this 10-month school provides intensive academic preparation to make selected applicants more competitive for entrance into the Academy. The Prep School’s program emphasizes the same four areas as the Academy: academic, military, athletic and character development. The curriculum includes math, English and general sciences. Students at the Prep School are addressed as “cadet candidates.” To learn more, contact an Air Force adviser.
Leaders Encouraging Airman Development (LEAD) Program allows commanders to seek out outstanding and deserving qualified Airmen for appointments to the Air Force Academy and AFROTC scholarship programs. To learn more, contact an Air Force adviser.
Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR) are designed to nominate up to 50 people for ROTC scholarships, which pay most tuition and all fees. Military members will separate from the Air Force while earning a degree. SOARs are awarded for two to four years, depending on how many years you have remaining in your bachelor’s degree program. Airmen with some or no college credit may apply for the program. Scholarships are awarded in a variety of fields, including technical (engineering, meteorology, architecture, etc.), nontechnical, nursing, prehealth and foreign language areas. SOAR cadets are provided with a tuition and fees scholarship not to exceed a set amount each year. To learn more, contact an Air Force adviser.
Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program (POC-ERP) offers active-duty Airmen (who can complete all bachelor’s degree and commissioning requirements within two years) an opportunity for an early release from the active-duty Air Force to enter the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). This program is open to students in all majors. If selected, you would separate from the active-duty Air Force, join an Air Force ROTC detachment and become a full-time college student. You must pursue a bachelor’s degree and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation and completion of the two-year program. You will then be returned to active duty (typically within 60 days of commissioning) for at least four years. If selected for POC-ERP, you will no longer be collecting military pay and benefits. To learn more about POC-ERP, contact an Air Force adviser.
Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program
This program offers active-duty Airmen the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in a high-need academic major.
Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program students will complete their degree at a college or university with an Air Force ROTC detachment or a college or university with a cross-town agreement. A cross-town agreement is an agreement between a host school with an Air Force ROTC detachment and another school in the local area. The agreement contains a clause allowing students to attend the school, but tuition and fees are paid by the Air Force ROTC detachment.
The Nurse Education and Commissioning Program (NECP) allows airmen to remain on active duty and continue to receive an income while going to school full time. People selected for NECP receive a tuition and fees scholarship for up to $15,000 per year, as well as a textbook allowance of $600 per year. Those selected may participate for up to three years, depending on their degree programs and previous academics.
To be considered by the board, Airmen must contact their base education office to review the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program guidelines for eligibility/academic requirements, application procedures and contact information.
Completed application packages should be sent to: HQ AFPC/DPAMN, 550 C Street West Ste 25, Randolph AFB, Texas 78150-4727.
Students will commission after passing the National Council Licensure Examination and then attend Commissioned Officer Training and the Nurse Transition Program. Students will be required to attend school year-round for up to 24 consecutive calendar months, to include summer sessions.
The Physician Assistant Training Program offers qualified individuals the advanced training they need to provide expert medical care to military personnel and their families. Only active duty Airmen are eligible to apply for this program. Click here for more information.
Download the Physician's Assistant PDF for more information
Earn Money For College
The Air Force ROTC program is available at nearly 1000 colleges and universities across the country and offers scholarships to high school and college students with outstanding academic and leadership qualities.
Air Force ROTC offers one- to four-year scholarships on a competitive basis to both high school and college students. Scholarship recipients will receive partial or full tuition, as well as a nontaxable monthly stipend. Many colleges also offer an additional subsidy for tuition, fees and books to ROTC cadets.
Through the ROTC experience, you’ll be able to complete your bachelor’s degree and receive outstanding leadership training that will prepare you to succeed in the 21st Century.
To learn more about how the Air Force can help with your college education, contact an adviser or visit the official Air Force ROTC website.
An Education Like No Other
In order to attend the Air Force Academy, you must be nominated for appointment by a U.S. Congressman or Senator or the Vice President of the United States. The Academy will give you instructions to help you with the nomination process when the time comes.
But your first step is to start early. The best time is when you’re still attending JUNIOR high school. That’s when you should begin planning and preparing for your high school academic course choices, as well as starting your physical fitness training. Both activities can put you a step ahead of other applicants.
To further improve your admission chances, take the following high school courses and aim for above-average grades:
There are more guidelines regarding admissions and physical fitness requirements, all detailed in the Air Force Academy application package available from your high school guidance counselor. The admissions process is lengthy, so start at least a year or more before the date you’d like to enter the Academy.
To learn more about joining the Air Force or entering the Academy, contact an adviser today or visit the Air Force Academy admissions website.
Download the Air Force Academy is for Airmen brochure.