If you’re in the US Air Force and looking to jumpstart your post-military career, there are many education options available. The Air Force offers many schools and programs to help you further educate yourself and work towards the career you would like to have – whether that’s in the Air Force or after separation. Here are some of the Education Benefits Programs for the Air Force to help you achieve your career goals.
Air Force Education Benefits Programs
If you are serving in the US Air Force, there are specific programs just for you that may be different than other branches. Make sure to take advantage of these if you decide to go to school to further your career.
The Community College of the Air Force is the only degree-granting institution of higher learning in the world dedicated exclusively to enlisted personnel.
The mission of the college is to offer and award job related Associate in Applied Science degrees and other academic credentials that enhance mission readiness, contribute to recruiting, assist in retention, and support the career transitions and professional growth of the Air Force and enlisted Corps.
The CCAF offers enlisted airmen the opportunity to earn a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree that will pertain to their Air Force career.
They are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools through Air University.
They partner with over 108 affiliated Air Force schools with 82 Education Services worldwide. There are 1,500 civilian academic institutions to serve 300,000 active, guard, and reserve enlisted personnel.
The CCAF awards over 22,000 associate in applied science degrees from 68 degree programs.
The LEAD Program
LEAD stands for The Leaders Encouraging Airman Development program.
Every year, unit and wing commanders nominate highly qualified enlisted and reserve airmen who exhibit officer potential to 170 appointments available for the Air Force Academy and the Academy Prep School.
The Air Force Academy gives students a world-class education and cost-free tuition in exchange for their commitment to serve.
The Academy Prep School is a 10-month program designed to prepare candidates for the Academy.
Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR)
Enlisted airmen who would like to attend or complete college may apply for the Scholarship for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC (SOAR) program.
SOAR will nominate up to 50 people for two-to-four year ROTC scholarships that will cover most tuition and all fees associated with going to school.
The scholarships are awarded in a variety of fields, including technical, non technical, nursing, pre-health and foreign language areas.
If you are accepted, you will be temporarily separated from the Air Force while completing their degree and rejoin after graduation.
The Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program (ASCP)
The Airman Scholarship and Commissioning Program is for active duty enlisted airmen.
The program offers the opportunity to earn a commission while also completing their Bachelor’s degree in different fields. These are technical, non technical, nursing, pre-health, as well as foreign language areas.
If an airman is selected, they will temporarily separate from active duty to join ROTC and become a full-time student at a participating college.
They will receive tuition and fee scholarships up to $15,000 per year, with a textbook allowance of $600 a year.
Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program (POC-ERP)
The Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program is for active duty airmen so that they can receive an early release from active duty to enter the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC.)
This program is open to all students in all majors who are within two years of finishing their Bachelor’s degree and commissioning requirements.
Those who are selected will separate from active duty to join ROTC and become a full-time student at a participating college to pursue a Bachelor’s degree.
After graduation and the completion of the two-year program, the airmen are commissioned as a second lieutenant and return to active duty for at least four years.
If selected for the POC-ERP the service member will no longer receive military pay and benefits until after they graduate.
The Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP)
The Nurse Enlisted Commissioning program offers active duty airmen an opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nursing is an in-demand career in the Air Force.
Students in this program remain on active duty. You will continue to receive an income while going to school full-time at a college or university that participates in the ROTC program.
You will receive a tuition and fees scholarship for up to $15,000 a year. In addition, you will receive a textbook allowance of $600 per year.
In the program, the airmen may participate for up to 3 years depending on the degree program and previous academics.
After passing the National Council Licensure Examination and attending Commissioned Officer Training and the Nurse Transition Program, students will commission.
The Physician Assistant Training
Physician Assistants are in high demand within the Air Force. This Physician Assistant training program is for active duty airmen that would like to go into this type of career.
You will receive the advanced training they will need to provide expert medical care to military personnel and their families.
The program may pay up to 100% of the cost of college. The limit is $250 per semester hour or the equivalent. There is a limit of $4,500 per fiscal year.
The courses and the degree programs can be academic or technical. Courses can be taken at a two as well as a four-year school. They can be taken on-base, off base, or by correspondence.
When figuring out your educational plans, using a branch-specific program can be the way to go. Make sure you are aware of other programs and benefits such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. There are many ways for a service member to receive money to go back to school and work towards your career.