Career Opportunities

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Sarah W., Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Sarah W.

    Sarah W. New Member

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    Hello all!

    I'm looking into some of the possible careers post-graduation from USAFA, and the ones that interest me the most are Air Battle Manager, Air Liason Officer, Space Agressor, and Intelligence. The descriptions I've found so far are all pretty vague, so any more detailed knowledge (what I should plan on majoring in for each, any special training I would need after graduation, likelihood of receiving that job, what the job is like day-to-day, etc.) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    Are you currently a cadet, or have you received an appointment?
     
  3. Sarah W.

    Sarah W. New Member

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    I'm a senior in high school who's applying to the Academy.
     
  4. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    I recommend searching the threads on how to make your application stand out, successful interview skills, securing a MOC nomination, etc. In short, get your appointment first, then worry about a career choice. You probably should be thinking about being an officer in the Air Force first. Is that something you really want to be? If so, (& I assume it is,) you should consider ROTC, privately & publicly funded military colleges, etc. as a plan B. The book The Air Force Academy Candidate Book: How to Get In, How to Prepare, How to Survive" mentioned in the thread "USAFA books" is definitely worth the price & a great place to start. Good Luck!
     
  5. Sarah W.

    Sarah W. New Member

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    Thank you for the advice; I will definitely be looking into that book. The reason I was asking about career choices is because I went to a meet & greet with my MOC and they advised me to have a fairly specific tentative career plan in mind because it is something that the panel would want to talk to me about in my interview for a nomination.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Obviously, most will say not to put the cart in front of the horse. First, do well enough to get into the academy. That alone is more difficult than getting any of the jobs you're interested in that you posted.

    Of course, you may be looking at whether to even apply to the academy because what type of job you get may determine whether you want the Air Force. That's fair. As I said, getting those jobs aren't that hard. And if you want more info on what the job is, simply do a google search. Air Force intelligence officer, Air Force air liaison officer, etc. you'll find all the info you need about the job.

    But something you have to realize is, when applying to the academies, you have to want to attend the academy and want to serve in that branch of the military, no matter what the job is you receive. If you can't say that, then you may want to rethink your position. I say that because you are 17-18 years old, and even if you get into the academy, you will second guess what you want to do after the academy at least 100 times in your first two years there.

    Plus, job openings that you may get, will also be determined by what the Air Force needs. Even pilots. Everyone says that being a pilot is an automatic as long as you graduate and are physically qualified. Well, believe it or not, there have been times when NO PILOT slots were given to an academy class. NONE. Same could happen in Intel, Air Liaison, or anything else. It's possible that you have your heart set on a particular job, and the Air Force simply doesn't need any more people in that job that year.

    So get your appointment first, get through basic training, realize that the academy and the Air Force is what you want to do with your future, then start thinking about what job you want. You may start taking classes and find you really like engineering. Maybe you'll find you want to be in logistics, procurement, IT/Telecom, or one of the jobs you listed. Sometimes you'll change entirely and like the idea of space and misses or a rated slot.

    Best of luck. Take it one day at a time.
     
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  7. Zandercott

    Zandercott USAFA

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    I disagree with get your appointment first, then look at career choices. I think looking at jobs first is a very smart idea. I started out wanting to attend USNA, but when I started researching jobs for all the academies, I realized I didn't want to go Navy anymore. You for sure want to start looking at jobs now. You will get a great education from all the academies, but you will only spend 4 years there- the job you have after graduation is for your whole career.
     
  8. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    Given what I know as a cadet, you're going to want to graduate from USAFA as a Distinguished grad, have a 3.5+ (preferably 3.75+) GPA, and having an engineering major will probably help. Getting grad school in a non-technical field right out of USAFA is incredibly hard.

    Engineering majors who wind up in the 62 career field (Developmental Engineering) and have a GPA 3.0+ almost all go to grad school right from USAFA. They only get to go to AFIT, though. 3.5+ in an engineering major and a 62 career field means you have a great shot at getting a scholarship to go to civilian schools. In addition, programs like the NRO scholarship offer other opportunities, and I think the cyber career fields, and even space, offer a few scholarships.

    It's not easy to get grad school direct from USAFA. Especially if you are considering a rated career field (i.e. ABM). That kind of thing is usually only allowed for rhodes scholars level stuff.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You can disagree if you want to. That's allowed. But if you re-read my 2nd paragraph, I specifically said it is understandable if you looking at jobs to determine if you even wanted the air force academy. EXACTLY what you said happened in your case. So I'm not quite sure what part of my post you actually disagree with.

    But my main emphasis was; you have to make sure you want to attend a specific academy and want to serve in that branch of the military. When it comes to jobs, be very careful when considering it a "Career Choice". You may NOT have as much of a CHOICE as you think you have. There are many cadets who graduate and get jobs that weren't their first choice. Or even their 2nd choice. It depends on your major, your grades, and most of all; what openings the air force has at the time you are graduating. Just because someone wants intel, doesn't mean they'll get it. Just because you want to be a pilot, doesn't mean you'll get it.

    And for what it's worth; with only a few exceptions, most jobs that are available in one branch of service, is available in the other main 2 branches of the military coming out of those academies. Very few are branch specific. Only the missions are different. And remember also, for many grads, their career is only 5 years. Some go to 10 years. 2LT, 1LT, and Captain in the air force, COMBINED, make up just shy of 80% of the officer corp. Only a small percentage go on to making the military a "Career" of 20 or more years.
     
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  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Sarah W, ChristCorp is seldom wrong in these matters.
     
  11. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    A little off topic but I need to address the "only get to go to AFIT" comment and prevalent attitude at USAFA. AFIT is awesome, and while I too thought of it as a back up plan, it's not. It is a great option, from professors who actually care if you finish, to very applicable Defense focused research.

    Back to the original question, I think it is great to be aware of what your options are but I'll say many of your listed jobs are highly competitive/challenging to get. ALO and ABM don't have many slots however right now due to needs of the Air Force they are more open than usual. Space Agressor I don't believe is a specific AFSC, but rather a unit that is a special assignment for many different jobs, making it even harder to get. Intelligence is definitely doable as long as the needs of the Air Force don't change drastically usually there are a decent number of intel slots.

    As for what these jobs do, google can probably tell you, although if you PM me I can talk a bit more about intelligence since I work with that community a lot in my research
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Both A10 (hap) and BFE are correct when it comes to grad school, if you're interested. AFIT isn't a secondary grad school for engineers, it's actually more the primary. I know some engineering majors in A10's class (class of 2012) who graduated in the top of the class who went to AFIT for grad school. It's the air force's main engineering grad school. Not that some don't go to grad school at a civilian school. But I don't believe that the highest grads go to civilian grad schools and the lower go to AFIT. It's just a matter of numbers. When the Air Force has its own grad school, they can allow more students into it. Just like some still believe that if you don't get ENJPPT, you can't be a fight pilot. That's not true. Plenty of fighters come out of Laughlin, Columbus, and others.

    Now, as far as the non-engineering grad schools, that is a horse of a different color. For the most part, you pretty much have to be a distinguished grad, and more importantly, be the tops in your department. (Your major). And these grad school slots out of the academy are much more competitive. Whether it's MIT, Harvard, Truman scholarship, grad school in England, or even the RAND, which I believe is the only direct grad school out of the academy offering a PhD; as well as some other, these are very competitive.

    AFIT and these other grad schools are offered to only about 10% of the graduating class. So if you get one, great. If not, no big deal. You're in the 90% who will get their graduate degree either part time while doing your job, or you'll possibly get selected later to get an in-residency slot and go full time.

    But as for you looking at what jobs interests you, there's nothing wrong with that. But as I mentioned, just about any job you look at, is available in more than one branch of the military. So concentrate on getting into the academy first. Yes, if you want to be a missile officer, working with icbm, the Air Force is probably your best bet. Or navy if you want to work with nuclear propulsion. Or army if you want tanks and infantry. But to an extent, all branches deal with Intel, battlefield management, cyber, telecom/It, logistics, contracting, special forces, etc. You'd be surprised at how many assignments dealing with "world wide" missions, have Air Force, navy, and army officers assigned and stationed together working together.

    So, unless you have a very specific job in mind, that is branch specific, you shouldn't need to worry. As for what to say to your MOC during your interview on what your military career goals are, just don't be so specific. Meaning, you don't have to narrow it down to a specific job. You can mention working in the intelligence field, or with the newest technology, or even working in airfield/battlefield mission planning. No MOC is expecting you to know the specific job you want at this time; and they also know that based on military needs, the jobs may not even be open. They just want to know that you've thought about this decision to apply INDEPTH, and not just.... "Oh, the academy sounds like a good option for college". Best of luck.
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Everyone I knew who went to AFIT knew it to be simply top notch. It is not Plan B.
     
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  14. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    Didn't ever mean to imply it was plan B. It's just objectively easier to get into straight out of USAFA.
     
  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    You will be told your assignment is AFIT. Some hold their pilot slots till AFIT coursework is completed. Some didn't have or want a pilot slot in the first place. Some, who maybe really wanted "pilot," get "scientist" and are never offered "pilot."

    The needs of the Air Force outweigh your desires, for the most part.
     

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