Basic Requirements for Joining the Air Force

OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE (AFIE) -- Two F-15 Eagles from the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Fighter Wing fly a combat air patrol mission over New York City in support of Operation Noble Eagle. North American Aerospace Defense Command has more than 100 ANG and Air Force Reserve fighters from 26 locations providing homeland defense, with another 100 fighters backing them up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Bill Ramsay) (VIRIN: 011106-F-4308R-035)

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!

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