The military provides people training and job skills that can be unmatched in the civilian life. The Air Force is no exception. I spent 10 years in the Air Force working as an aerospace propulsion technician for the most advanced cargo plane in the world, but I also spent time in special duties that allowed me to touch base with airmen in other career fields. From my own experiences as well as those of people who served and went onto civilian life, there are some jobs that can better prepare you for life outside the uniform. Combined with on-the-job training, getting free certifications and money for school, a four-year enlistment can add a lifetime of valuable experience. These are the top Air Force transition jobs.
Medical. The medical career field is one that is almost recession-proof. As long as there are people in the world, they will need healing. The Air Force has dozens of medically oriented careers for the enlisted Airman, from public health to emergency technicians. You can even serve as a flying medical attendant. For those who prefer not to work with people, the medical career field includes equipment repair positions and veterinary technicians.
Most Air Force medical jobs take place in outpatient clinics all over the world, but there are four major medical facilities where you could be assigned, such as the David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base, California. It’s less than an hour away from San Francisco, so it could be a great assignment if you get it.
PME. Professional Military Education is a career field reserved for experienced Air Force members. However, acceptance into this special duty can look especially good on a resume once you get out. You could earn an Associate’s Degree in technical or occupational instruction, course credits for leadership training and an extremely rewarding experience working with future leaders of the Ai r Force. It’s one thing to be proficient in your career field; it’s another to be proficient AND have the ability to train others. What future boss wouldn’t want THAT in his company?
Communications. The communications career field in the Air Force is a cornerstone to how the Air Force functions. Be it telephone, satellite or computer communications, a “com” technician has a lot of responsibility in making sure Airmen can contact each other 24/7 to get the mission done. In the civilian world this can translate into big bucks. Communications technology is always moving forward. By gaining that experience within an enlistment in the world’s most advanced military, you could have a heads up on the competition.
Finance. Money moves the world. It moves the Air Force, too. After all, someone has to manage paying for all the hi-tech equipment as well as making sure Airmen are paid correctly and on time. Finance is a high ops tempo career field that can train you in anything from big-budget management to processing paychecks. Imagine being responsible for allocating MILLIONS of dollars on a monthly basis and getting free certification at the Air Force’s expense. That shines on anyone’s resume!
Linguist. This career field isn’t the easiest to get in to, but it can be the most financially rewarding from the day you sign up. Linguist career fields often come with enlistment bonuses worth more than $10,000. That’s because you could find yourself translating foreign documents and information in secret locations. But a linguist outside of the Air Force could also find himself as a professional interpreter for hire with organizations like the United Nations or even in the White House.
Contact your local Air Force recruiter if you are interested in pursuing any of these career fields, known as AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Code) in the Air Force world. You may need to meet higher ASVAB scores in certain categories to qualify. If you are already in the Air Force and are considering a switch, speak with your squadron’s career advisor to find out the cross-training requirements.