Basic Requirements for Joining the Air Force

The Air Force Reserves can be an awesome way to still serve as a solider (sometimes referred to as a “weekend warrior”) and also continue to progress in a private sector career. In order to join the Air Force Reserves you will need to meet a few different requirements.

That is exactly what this article will cover.

The most obvious thing that needs to happen is… you need to be the right age.

The Air Force Reserve only allows people between the ages of 17 and 39 in most cases to join. No serious law violations can be present at the time of joining. Obviously this includes any kind of drug abuse or substance addiction. You will have to score high on the aptitude test, abbreviated as ASVAB (an abbreviation you will see often when researching about the Air Force Reserve).

The ASVAB you can study for at least to prepare and I would recommend you do this if the reserves are something you are looking to proactively join.

Outside of the ASVAB, you will need to be able to pass a physical & medical checkup. Most recruit candidates will have an easier go at it if they are a high school grad and a U.S citizen. If you are not either of those things though, that does not automatically disqualify you. The Air Force is very open to working with people outside of those two qualities, it just eases the process.

If you already in the military and are thinking of joining the Air Force Reserves, you will not have worry about your Military Service Obligation demands. What I mean by that is if you are in the Air Force actively and still have 3 years of active duty left, you could potentially finish those 3 years via the Air Force Reserves since the reserves will count towards your Military Service Obligation.

Alas, if you are a single parent, you will be ineligible to join the Air Force Reserves. There is a caveat here. If you are totally qualified to serve and still want to despite being a single parent, you can petition for what is known as a family care determination. The family care determination is a piece of paper where a third party signs saying they will take care of your child or children while you are away serving your military duty.

The local Reserve commander will have the authority to approve or disapprove this after the family care determination paperwork is all taken care of and handled.

If you are looking to become a Pilot or a Navigator though, you are going to need a BA or BS in any major before you are even considered. Not only is that, but your Grade Point Average (GPA) strongly considered for this very competitive position.   You absolutely must be a U.S citizen as well. If you have any kind of prior flight time, that will work in your favor dramatically.

The applicant in question wanting to be a Pilot or Navigator has to be in what is called OTS before they are 27 and a half. Also, before they reach 30 they will have to be in undergraduate flight training.

I hope this article helped clear up a few “mysteries” with joining the Air Force Reserves!

What are the Ranks in the Air Force?

Ranks are a big deal in any branch of military service. Yet, you will find that each service has a different ranking system and different titles overall. It makes sense then that the Air Force is no different in this regard. For instance, there is no First Sergeant rank within the Air Force like how the Army or Marines have. Rather the equivalent of that rank is treated more as a job title. This is demonstrated by having a diamond within the insignia that denotes who has this duty.

The first ranks we will look at will be the E Grade.

E Grade means “Enlisted”. If you enlist with the Air Force, you will start off at an E-something. The further your number next to the E goes up, the higher pay you will have. Also, with that higher pay usually will bring larger job responsibilities as is typical with any kind of increased pay.

After the E segment, we will explore the other ranks for people starting off or graduating to the officer ranks (also known as O)

Let us dive in, shall we?

Enlisted Grades:

  • E-1 Title – Airman Basic
  • E-2 Title – Airman
  • E-3 Title – Airman First Class
  • E-4 Title – Senior Airman
  • E-5 Title – Staff Sergeant
  • E-6 Title – Technical Sergeant
  • E-7 Master Sergeant
  • E-8 Title – Senior Master Sergeant
  • E-9 Title  – Chief Master Sergeant
  • E-9 Title – Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Below is the list of ranks that officers travel through during their time in the Air Force. You can join the Air Force as an officer, but in order to do so you first will need a degree of some kind to qualify to serve as such. Do not lost hope if you decide that college is not the route you want to take. You can eventually graduate into being an officer from the enlisted grade. Many people who enlist with the Air Force also attend college course work during that time to speed up the time until they can graduate into an officer rank.

Officer Grades:

  • O-1 Title – Second Lieutenant
  • O-2 Title – first Lieutenant
  • O-3 Title – Captain
  • O-4 Title –  Major
  • O-5 Title – Lieutenant Colonel
  • O-6 Title – Colonel
  • O-7 Title Brigadier General
  • O-8 Title – Major General
  • O-9 Title – Lieutenant General
  • O-10 Title – General Air Force Chief of Staff
  • Special Title – General of the Air Force

As you can see, there is a lot of progression that can be achieved from within the Air Force. Maybe one day once you become officer, you will even stand a shot of rising up to being the General of the Air Force – a very prestigious position that directly commands and moves the Air Force as an entirety.

First of course, you will need to get that degree either by enlisting at the E grade or by getting a college education to start right off the bat as an officer. Whichever route you go, the military can often be an incredibly exciting career with lucrative benefits, a solid retirement plan and full of interesting work and places you can end up traveling to.

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The Real Air Force Lifestyle

Air Force can be a lucrative career for the right individual. It helps to make sure that first before you join, that you really are that right individual. Unlike a traditional job, you cannot just “quit” or “opt out” of military service. When you sign up, you are doing time as the official property of the United States of America’s government.

Seriously, that is part of your contract and duty.

Out of all the branches, the Air Force promotes some of the best educational opportunities around with the least amount of combat risk. That risk is of course there, as it is with anyone who becomes a soldier. You will have to be okay in knowing that one day you may be call upon to serve in the open field of battle, lined up against the enemy.

However, this is a very rare occurrence.

As far as careers go, almost anything you can think of is here.

Whether you want to be a lawyer (also called a judge advocate officer or JAG), a doctor, a nurse, a pilot (though lots of testing goes into this one!), or even a business admin, you will find all these choices present in the Air Force.

Tech school is very similar to your traditional college experience with a few key differences. For instance, you will have to be up before the sun comes up, in room the night before classes, wearing a uniform and yes marching to class. However, depending on which vocation you have chosen, often military tech schools have easier tests and exams versus traditional universities. Again, this is really dependent on which field you choose to study.

Of course before you get to go to tech school, first you have to go to basic.

Basic boot camp will be physically exhausting. If you have not done anything physical in quite a while, it is heavily recommended that you start some kind of workout routine or regiment BEFORE joining the Air Force. You want to make sure you put your best feet forward when it comes to your service. Not to mention, you don’t want your first few weeks of serving in the Air Force to be completely miserable, do you?


So go ahead and start working out TODAY instead of tomorrow!

After basic and tech school, you will be assigned to your first base. Once you are at the first base, you will be given an assignment and that assignment will most likely be in an office environment. This really depends again on your choice of study in tech school. However, the office environment is like anything else you might find at your typical job.

Also, like a typical job, after work hours are usually your time to do whatever you want with. No one really will be keeping track of you and what you do with yourself. So it is very much like a typical 9 to 5 in that aspect.

However, the Air Force is full of opportunities your typical 9 to 5 simply will never be able to offer you.

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What is Life like for a Judge Advocate Officer?

The career as a judge advocate officer can be a lucrative one indeed. Many people reading this probably are familiar with the old show JAG – which show was literally about judge advocate officers. You could say it was the military’s version of Law and Order. Though, like Law and Order, your life as a JAG will not be so overly televised.

However, you will become an expert at law. After you pass an Air Force medical evaluation, you will then be put through various law training programs. Despite what people might think, judge advocate officers actually can learn to practice almost any kind of law out there.

Here is a small list of the kind of specialties you can look forward to:


  • Criminal law
  • Government contract & commercial law
  • International law
  • Labor law
  • Operations law
  • Legal assistance
  • Medical law
  • Cyber law
  • Claims & tort litigation

As you might imagine, having the ability to wield the knowledge of the law in any of these categories is extremely appealing for a civilian life’s resume. That is if you choose to leave the Air Force in favor for a more civilian based life.  Many JAGS choose to remain lifelong soldiers, serving an illustrious career in the military and reaping the massive benefits such services can give them.

Not only will you learn any of the specialties that I mentioned above, but you will also the intricate laws that govern the air and space itself.

As the years go on, this field is going to become even more fascinating. It does not take much of an imagination to see the explosion in aerospace legal needs growing dramatically just a few years down the road from now.

With pioneers such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origins, the private space sector will be in need of experts in aerospace legalities as well. Let’s not forget about the crazy asteroid mining plans that the guys at Google are cooking up either.

If you take the private sector out of it though, there is still a growing need of good judge advocate officers in the aerospace world. Between rising global tensions, accidental downing of planes and miscommunications between militaries, a good JAG will be sorely needed.

Also, the Air Force has been doing more and more experiments with space (testing new airplanes and whatever Plane X is). This area will likely see significant economic growth in the future.

For the right person who is willing to put in the hard work and dedication it takes to learn these skills and to really obtain this knowledge, the career of JAG is a perfect fit for you.

It is at one prestigious and lucrative both military wise and in private life. It is one of the many skills that the Air Force can give you that really do transfer into non-military situations.

However, as with anything, the career of being a judge advocate officer is what you make of it. Nothing more, and nothing less.

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Pre-Bootcamp Workouts

Thinking about joining the Air Force? First of all, good for you, it is an incredible honor to serve in the U.S Air Force as an Airman or whatever job you decide to take up within the military branch.

However, if you are like most people, you are probably wondering if you can even survive the rigors of boot camp – or basic training as some call it.  No worries. You are probably in a better position and shape than you think. And if you are not?

Well, these workouts will help you get to where you need to go BEFORE joining the Air Force.

They say success is a combination of preparation plus opportunity. The thing people do not say is that the biggest share in that Venn diagram of success is… the actual preparing part.

Obviously, before you decide to go ahead with this strategy of preparation, if you have any kind of health issues at all you should first consult with your doctor. Let them know you are considering joining the Air Force and you want to up your physical exercises to help you prepare for basic training. They will give you good advice that you should follow to make sure not to injure or hurt yourself in any fashion.

Alright… introducing the 14 week program you should follow before joining the Air Force!

You can actually read about it officially from the military itself at:

I won’t go into detail of each specific exercise that you will be doing, but I will talk about this program in, but I will go over what you will need and the basics of what you will be doing to prepare.

The 14 week program is setup to help you prepare for the Air Force basic training. Basic training is going to consist of long, grueling physical exercise and this program helps build you up stamina wise to be able to succeed.

It starts off slow, with a bit of cardio and some pushups at intervals. However, as the weeks go on longer you will from a 2 minute jogging exercise all the way on week 14 where you do a 17 minute straight run. The cardio exercises also become more intense as the weeks go on by.

Remember, regardless of what week you are on or what level of “being in shape” , that you must stretch.

Stretching is the most important part of any workout. It helps prevent avoidable injuries, loosens your muscles, and makes the entire workout much more effective due to increased blood flow.

Along with stretching, remember to hydrate copiously. This is especially true if you are just starting to work out and have not done many physical activities recently. Build yourself up slowly and win the race.

The other gear I would recommend are a good pair of wicking shorts (that moves your sweat from the inside to the outside to help prevent chafing), a shirt that also wicks away sweat, and a good pair of breathable running sneakers.