Become an Air Force Recruiter: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become an Air Force recruiter. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the United States' Armed Services.
Do I Want to Be an Air Force Recruiter?
An Air Force recruiter is a human resources development specialist within the military who has the task of recruiting qualified personnel at schools and in local communities. Duties include meeting with potential recruits, making presentations for individuals, families and organizations, tailoring daily activities to the needs and availability of potential applicants, answering recruitment questions and placing new recruits in suitable occupations within the Air Force. Working as a marketing representative for the military, a recruiter must explain a career in the Air Force to recruits in terms of training, pay, benefits and the life of someone serving in the Air Force. Long work hours might be required for recruiters.
Although a formal degree isn't a requirement for the position, gaining college-level education may help prepare aspiring recruiters by imparting the skills needed to succeed and meet Air Force expectations. Applicants must have served in the Air Force and have attained a specific ranking to be considered for the position. The following table contains the main qualifications needed for becoming an Air Force recruiter:
|Degree Level||No degree required;* selected applicants must complete 7-week Recruiting School training**|
|Experience||At least 44 months' time-in-service (TIS) and ranking at least as a Senior Airmen and no higher than a Master Sergeant, but less than 17 years of experience total**|
|Key Skills||Physical stamina and fitness, be able and willing to report for assignments on short notice, mental stability to cope with stress*|
|Additional Skills||Qualification in the Air Force Specialty, have a valid driver's license, have a history of positive performance reports**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **U.S. Air Force Professional Development Center.
Step 1: Enlist in the Air Force
In order to join the military, educational, character, physical, age and aptitude requirements must be met. Basic requirements include having a high school diploma or a GED plus 15 or more college credits, being between 17 and 27 years old and being a citizen of the United States or a legal and permanent resident.
Before enlisting, candidates must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a test that covers word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, mathematics and paragraph comprehension. After passing the ASVAB, the candidate must undergo physical and mental screening at a nearby Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). After passing all of these steps, new recruits sign an enlistment contract, which stipulates the term of the enlistment. First-term enlistments typically range from 4-6 years.
- Complete basic training. Basic military training (BMT) lasts for 8 weeks. BMT is a physically and mentally challenging experience that is designed to help new recruits gain the knowledge and skills needed to be a cadet. After orientation, recruits learn how to fall in and are taught basic war skills, combat lifesaving, how to counter threats and how to prepare for fighting.
Step 2: Consider Earning a Degree
Although having a degree isn't a strict necessity to become a recruiter, after completing BMT, Air Force members can choose between going to an Air Force technical school or being assigned to a base and then earning college credit. Classes at Air Force technical schools are intensive, typically running for 8 hours daily and 5 days a week.
According to About.com, an enlisted Air Force member doesn't need to earn a college degree to be eligible for a recruiter assignment since it is a non-officer position. Gaining a college education might offer a good foundation to build a career in recruitment. The Air Force has a Tuition Assistance (TA) program that pays 100% of the tuition costs up to $250 per semester hour and a maximum of $4,500 a year. Degree programs can be taken on or off base.
Step 3: Gain Experience and Get Promoted
Before an Airman can be eligible to apply for a recruiting assignment, the Airman must gain experience and rise through the rankings. Everyone starts out as an Airman Basic. Spending 6 months Time-in-Grade (TIG) is a requirement for becoming promoted from Airman Basic to Airman. An Airman must complete 10 months TIG to be promoted to Airman First Class. Completing 36 months TIS with 20 months TIG is a requirement for being promoted to Senior Airman. Alternatively, Senior Airman rankings can be obtained after completing 28 months TIG if that is sooner.
Step 4: Meet Eligibility Requirements
Before volunteering for assignments, aspiring recruiters must meet experience eligibility to be considered for the assignment. According to About.com, an applicant must be a Senior Airman (SrA), at a minimum, or a Master Sergeant (MSgt) at most. To be eligible for the position, the applicant must have 17 or less TIS years. Additionally, he or she must have a TIS of 36 months for a 4-year contract or 60 months TIS for a 6-year contract.
The applicant must also be qualified in his or her Air Force specialty code (AFSC), with performance reports of '4' or greater in the previous 3 reporting periods. Other qualifications include being physically fit, possessing a valid driver's license and having a physical profile of 2-2-2-2-2-1 or better. This profile means that the individual may have some medical or physical condition that requires activity limitations, but should be healthy psychologically.
Step 5: Go to Recruiting School
Before starting work as a recruiter, individuals must complete the 7-week program at the Air Force's Recruiting School, located at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. After completing the course, new recruiters go back to their duty stations and prepare to start the 3-year recruiting tour of duty. After 3 years, the tour can be extended by 1-year increments.
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