CCAF degrees help Airmen succeed in the work force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Having higher education such as an associates or bachelor's degree can be an important part of succeeding in the work force. By no means is it necessary to land a job, but in today's economy, it's something that will help potential desk jockeys and pencil pushers stand out from the rest of the crowd. For Air Force Airmen, earning their degree can prove to be equally as important.

The Air Force allows Airmen to earn a degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Earning a degree from the CCAF is an associate's degree in the individual's career field. Because the school is accredited, credits received from the CCAF could transfer to other colleges. Getting one's degree from the CCAF can be very advantageous to promotions and moving up through the ranks.

"For those who are going to be trying to get Senior Airman below-the-zone, their BTZ packages look better if they have their CCAF degree or if they're actively pursuing it," said Master Sgt. April Little, 355th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor.

Below-the-zone may be one thing, but for those who want to stay in the military and want to make it to chief master sergeant, having a degree is an absolute must.

"Even though someone may be eligible to test for E-8 or E-9, if you don't have your CCAF degree you won't be considered for promotion," Little said. "You can test and have a board score, but you will not get a line number because it's a requirement."

Some special duty assignments, including Academy Military Training noncommissioned officer and professional military education instructors also require completion of a CCAF degree.

Although it may seem like a lot of work and some Airmen would rather get a root canal from the dental clinic, getting a CCAF degree may take less time and be less of a pain than expected. Some of the credits needed even come from graduating basic training and technical training school.

"A lot of people who are looking to get their CCAF degree already have some of the requirements needed," Little said. "Maybe all they need is to complete Airman Leadership School or maybe public speaking. Some of the time, it's just a matter of knocking out those last few classes and then applying for it. Some people don't know that they already have all the requirements needed, they just have to apply and get their transcripts sent."

Little encourages all Airmen to work toward attaining their CCAF degrees. Not only is it essential for those Airmen who want to make senior and Chief, it's also useful when applying for jobs after separating from the Air Force.

"I think the Air Force's reasoning for encouraging Airmen to get their CCAF degree is because they want people to better themselves," Little said. "I feel that people focus in so much on their career fields and don't think about how further education can help them with team building, problem solving, and leadership and management skills. It helps keep their mind sharp, expands their horizons and better prepares Airmen for when they eventually leave the Air Force. So why not take advantage of the educational benefits?"