Education in the U.S. Air Force

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In the Air Force, the learning never stops. You’ll get hands-on experience in your field, and you’ll have the opportunity to take your training as far as you’d like—on or off base. To start your experience in the Air Force, apply now. Or to learn more, contact your local recruiter.

Find out more about educational opportunities available in the Air Force.

Community College of the Air Force

When you join the United States Air Force, you’re automatically enrolled in America’s largest community college, the Community College of the Air Force. It’s a unique combination of on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses with flexible classes and times.

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. And you earn college credit just for doing your job as you gain invaluable experience to help your career take off.

Hands-on Career Training

How do you learn your career field, let alone become an expert in it? Air Force Technical Training. From hands-on experience to college credit toward a degree, your career path begins here.


Money for School

The Air Force Tuition Assistance (TA) program is designed to help active-duty personnel pursue voluntary off-duty education 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.

Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR) are offered to enlisted enlisted Airmen who would like to attend college. SOAR nominates up to 50 people for ROTC scholarships, which pays most tuition and all fees. You 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. Scholarships are awarded in a variety of fields, including technical (engineering, meteorology, architecture, etc.), nontechnical, nursing, pre-health and foreign language areas.

The Post-9/11 Bill is an educational assistance program that provides eligible Airmen up to 36 months of benefits for education and training opportunities outside of the Air Force while they are on active duty. 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 that provides eligible Airmen with up to 36 months of benefits for education and training opportunities outside of the Air Force. 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.

The Air Force Technical Degree Sponsorship Program (TDSP) offers money to those working on an engineering or meteorological degree who are within 24 months of graduation. Each candidate must successfully complete an evaluation by an Officer Training School (OTS) board. Once selected, each candidate receives active-duty E-3 (Airman 1st Class) enlisted pay, along with housing and food allowances. Candidates are also eligible for medical and dental benefits. Upon graduation you’ll be commissioned as an officer and get started in an Air Force job that utilizes your skills.

Health Professions Scholarship Program offers scholarships for healthcare professionals and includes one- and two-year benefits for Biomedical Science Corps specialties (Pharmacists, Optometrists, Clinical Psychologists and Public Health Officers), two- and three-year benefits for Nurse Corps specialties and three- and four-year benefits for Medical Corps and Dental Corps. This scholarship covers tuition and required fees, textbooks, small equipment items and supplies needed for study. You’ll also receive a monthly allowance for living expenses. While on scholarship, you’ll spend 45 days on active duty in the Air Force. And once you graduate, you’ll serve on active duty (one year for each year of scholarship, with a minimum of three years).

The Air Force Financial Assistance Program for medical and dental residencies can help you complete your residency without having to worry about finances. You’ll receive more than $45,000 for every year you participate in the program and a stipend of more than $2,000 a month to cover living expenses. Upon completion of your residency, you’ll have a one-year obligation for each year of participation, plus one extra year.

Competitive Pay

The Air Force strives to provide salaries that are competitive with those in the civilian sector. Pay increases with rank and time in service. You’ll also receive a yearly cost-of-living increase.

Additional benefits include signing bonuses, specialty pay, vacation with pay, low-cost health and life insurance options, retirement plans and more.

To learn more, contact your local recruiter