AFSC Selection Process (2015)

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by AFrpaso, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Hello, I've come across info on how jobs are to be selected for the class of 2016 and thought that this info might be useful for the members of this forum. It is a pretty basic overview, so feel free to PM me or post questions here and I'll do my best to get them answered.

    Keep in mind that as an applicant your current goal should be to get that appointment! Don't get too hung up on these details, especially because they might be defunct when 2020 rolls around.

    The AFSC selections take place in the fall of your senior year at the Academy and are split up into two categories. The first is for cadets who desire a RATED AFSC and the second is for NON-RATED. The rated AFSCs include Pilot, RPA, Combat Systems and Air Battle Manager. If a cadet wants to go rated then they obviously must be medically qualified. They can input preferences for a particular rated career field but could be chosen for ANY of the four based on the needs of the Air Force. It's an all in policy but there is a disproportionate amount of Pilot slots, which is naturally the most sought after rated AFSC. Applicants (USAFA and ROTC together) are racked an stacked based off of PCSM scores for pilot slots. Google PCSM for more info.

    If you want to go non-rated, then you give your AFSC preferences for no less than 6 jobs (preferably more). It's pretty much a dream sheet. You can add comments to this preference sheet (if you speak a different language) as rationale for why you should be picked for a particular job. There are also a number of jobs which require specific degrees such as Civil Engineering, Developmental Engineering, Scientist, and Finance (which only requires specific accounting courses) and are reviewed by the respective academic department heads to make sure the cadet is actually qualified. Once all the preferences are in, an algorithm is run at AF Personnel Center (Big Blue) to optimize the selection. It is a combined model, so Academy and ROTC cadets are thrown into the same mix. The selection model runs off of a list of priorities:

    1) Meet Air Force TARGETS for all AFSCs
    2) Maximize number of DESIRED degree-AFSC matches
    3) Balance AFSCs to reflect AF priorities
    4) Maximize Cadet PREFERENCES

    Lastly are the boarded AFSCs which include OSI, Medical Service Corp, Biomedical Science Corps, Special Tactics Officer, Combat Rescue officer and Air Liaison Officer. You apply to these outside of the preference sheet and are notified of selection (or attend a selection program). But you will have been slotted for a rated or non-rated AFSC by this time from which you must request release to pursue a boarded AFSC (mostly granted).

    There are also slots for cadets to continue to graduate school immediately following USAFA.
     
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  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    One addition to your info. The grad school slots have nothing to do with afsc. If you get pilot, you can still get grad school and they hold your pilot slot until you finish grad school. Same with any job. You get your afsc. If you happen to get selected for grad school, they simply hold your afsc slot until you are finished with grad school.
     
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  3. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Thank you, CC. There was limited info available regarding grad school. I understand they may hold a pilot slot for you, but what about other jobs? For example, I am an Applied Math major shooting for 61A - Operations Analyst. Say I instead tracked to Intel but later in the year received a scholarship to pursue a MS in Operations Research. Would it not make sense to reassign me?
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Like I said, you get your AFSC before you leave the academy. If you get a grad school slot, your job is held for you.

    One caveat. The air force does have their own Grad School. It's called AFIT. It's mainly for the engineering students. You still keep your afsc, but many who get selected, will start the grad school program a little later on after starting their job. They don't always start grad school right out of the academy.

    I know a lot of people who went to grad school immediately after the academy, that had non-rated jobs such as contracting, finance, communications, security, etc. All of their jobs were held.

    Both, my son and Hornet, (Another poster here), had pilot slots and received acceptance to the RAND Graduate school for 3 years to get their PhD. When Hornet finished at the RAND, he picked up where he left off and went to pilot training. My son would have done the same thing, except while getting his PhD, he chose to "Try Out" for selection as a Special Tactics Officer. It took two tries going through selection, but he was selected this past March. He got his assignment and AFSC changed from Pilot to Special Tactics Officer. He just finished his PhD last week, and received his orders today. He'll leave for Florida and STO training on October 1st.

    But had he decided to keep pilot, he would have been heading to Mississippi in October for pilot training. My son got his PhD in "Policy Analysis". He dissertation was on the study and treatment of "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder". His major at the academy was "Behavioral Science". During selection for Special Tactics Officer, the colonel interviewing him, even asked him how a degree in Behavioral Science, a Masters, and a PhD in Policy Analysis - with a concentration on human behavior and PTSD, could be a benefit to Special Operations Command as a Special Tactics Officer. They obviously liked his answer, because they accepted him into the AFSC.

    FWIW: Another cadet who graduated the same year as my son, and who received STO as an AFSC right out of the academy, majored in Management. So you being a math major, isn't that significant. There's very few AFSC's that are directly tied to your major at the academy. Some, like engineers, test pilots, etc. do require certain academic backgrounds. But very few. There are intel officers who majored in management, english, behavioral science, engineering, math, etc. Getting a master's in Operational Research won't matter that much either. Just like my son didn't get changed into being a Personnel Officer or other AFSC dealing directly with people, because he had a degree and advanced degrees in areas that concentrate on human behavior.

    The point is, I don't know of ANY AFSC, that if you receive it, that you will lose it if you get accepted to Grad School immediately after graduating from the academy.
     
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  5. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Thank you. Congrats to your son for completing his PhD and his acceptance into the STO program! That is awesome!

    I am familiar with AFIT and have talked to the Math Dept about my graduate school options. My real question isn't about losing a desired AFSC if accepted into Grad School but about requesting to be reassigned to my desired AFSC because I managed to receive a graduate school scholarship in that particular discipline (i.e. Ops Rsrch). I know you mentioned that there are few AFSCs that require specific degrees. 61A - Operations Analyst is one of those jobs and requires either a Math, Ops Rsrch or Economics degree.

    Honestly I am not particularly worried for two reasons. 1) The Math Dept practically guarantees selection for 61A if your GPA is above 3.5. 2) Ultimately I'm prepared to do any job the AF needs me to do.
     
  6. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    What exactly is the difference between an STO and a CRO?
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    In its over simplified explanation, a cro, combat rescue officer, is in charge of para rescue and search and rescue operations. An sto, special tactics officer, works special operations only and will lead and control missions that include combat controllers, tacp (combat air traffic controllers), tactical weather, as well as leading the combat rescue for special operation missions. Sto are always assigned to special operations command. They are also embedded with other special forces like seals, Rangers, Barets, etc. a cro could be assigned to a traditional command. And while the cro is in charge of the training and management of pararesue, they themselves are not trained emt. A sto trains in all the areas they lead. E.g. They go to combat controller school, tacp air traffic control school, jump school, diving, search and rescue, etc.

    Basically the cro is only for search and recovery, for normal day to day, while the sto is for special operations missions and can include search and rescue when associated with a special ops mission.
     
  8. lsredmond

    lsredmond Member

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    My DD is a USAFA 2015 graduate. Her major was biochem and was selected to go to grad school through the AFIT program. Since AFIT doesn't have a degree in chemistry, she applied to civilian universities. She will be attending the University of Florida. Then she will head to Columbus AFB for pilot training.

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  9. lsredmond

    lsredmond Member

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    She also has a minor in Arabic.

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  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Approximately 10% of a graduating academy class will be selected to attend grad school directly following graduation from the academy. It's a 2 part process. The academy/Air Force must say yes, then you have to get accepted by a school that offers and/or accepts a fellowship/scholarship so you can attend. Except for afits, the military doesn't pay for your grad school. They still pay you your lieutenant pay as well as your normal housing and food money. But they don't pay for the grad school. And it must be a fellowship/scholarship type offer. In other words, you can't have some rich grandparent or your own money to pay for it.

    So, assuming the academy/Air Force believes your grades and character are good enough, they will allow you to apply for fellowship/scholarships to grad school. If you receive one, you can go. My son was almost caught in a no win situation. As a behavioral science major, there aren't a lot of schools with masters programs in that field. Most in that major go to PhD programs. So there were a number of schools he applied to that he couldn't get into. Fortunately, there was a slot at the RAND graduate school where he did get accepted and did his PhD. If he hadn't received that offer from RAND, he probably wouldn't have gotten grad school right out of the academy. He would have gone straight to pilot training with the rest of his class.

    So even though he graduated something like #7 academically at the academy, if you don't get a fellowship/scholarship accepting you to a university that accepts your major, there's no guarantee you'll get to go to grad school immediately. Obviously, had my son majored in engineering or other fields, he probably would have had other grad school options. But because he was still on the fence about going to medical school, his degree was behavioral science with a lot of pre-med type classes like organic chemistry and anatomy.

    The good thing is he knew the risk 3 years earlier when choosing a major. But he realized he wanted to major in what he was interested in. Not just for his time in the military, but for years into the future when he goes back to civilian life.

    So, if you are really interested in grad school, make sure you're in the top 10% of the class, and hopefully the top 1% in your department. (Meaning your major at the academy). You'll need that to even have a chance at immediate grad school after graduating.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Thanks for that explanation CC. The distinction was never quite clear for me.

    Note to other posters, and even lurkers: I have been a part of this forum for many years now (see my start date?), and even *i* need some explanations on occasion. Moral of the story: Just ask.
     
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  12. lsredmond

    lsredmond Member

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    My daughter was not in the top 10%. She was probably top 12% and got a grad school slot. Her major was chemistry so there were only 2 in her major that managed to make top 10%. So the odds of getting a grad slot can be degree dependent.

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  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Also realize, believe it or not, not everyone graduating the academy wants to go to grad school immediately. Some are tired of school and want to move on to the "Real" air force and start "Real" work.
     
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  14. lsredmond

    lsredmond Member

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    That's true too.

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  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Mine definitely wanted to move on to the "real air force." Now, though, looking hard at their futures and graduate school in particular.
     
  16. Druiztx

    Druiztx Member

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    Any news on the timeframe when the selection will take place?
     
  17. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    c/o 2016 has already put in their preferences, if it works like last year, those with rated AFSCs will find out a little before the non-rated jobs. I'm sure there's a date floating around, but from what I've seen over the last two years, those dates are usually overly ambitious. Everyone should know by the end of the semester though.

    Of course, those who are applying for certain AFSCs (STO/CRO/13L/OSI, etc) or grad school are going to have to be a little more flexible if they haven't already been selected or heard back about grad school.
     
  18. swolteam6

    swolteam6 Mr. Clean Banned

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe last year's class received their AFSCs late October.
     
  19. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    My son is expecting AFSC in October. Pretty sure what he'll get, but you never know
     
  20. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Hold your horses, there, USAFAMOM2016!!!!

    My sons' very good friend, graduated top 5 in the class, requested pilot. Got AFIT. Still waiting on pilot, 3+ years out. Needs of the AF always come first. Ironically, had he been 50th or 200th, he'd probably be flying today.
     
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