Wednesday, August 16, 2006

2007, A Tough Year To Join The Air Force

As part of its force-shaping initiative, the Air Force will accept fewer new recruits in fiscal year 2007 than they did in fiscal year 2006. This makes the third year in a row that the Air Force has reduced their recruiting goals. To match the Air Force's new strength numbers, next year's recruiting goals have reduced by nine percent. The service will be seeking 27,760 high school graduates or the equivalent, ages 17-28 to enlist in its ranks between 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2007 (a "fiscal year" runs from Oct to Sep). This is a reduction from 30,258 for fiscal year 2006. As with previous periods of Air Force down-sizing, enlisted AFSC (job) opportunities will be limited throughout the year. Based on Air Force Personnel Center requests, there are only about 20 enlisted career field openings from which to choose. Security forces, mechanics, administration and electronics, with about 10,200 positions available, are the four most plentiful job opportunities for 2007.The linguist, aerospace maintenance, computer systems operations, fire protection, integrated avionics systems, vehicle operations, munitions systems, tactical aircraft maintenance, air traffic control operations, fuels, explosive ordnance disposal, aerospace propulsion, aircraft loading and operations intelligence career fields offer about 5,540 openings. "Hot" enlisted career fields include air and ground linguists and special tactics, such as combat controller, survival instructor and pararescueman. The Air Force also seeks 482 college graduates to join its officer corps. The career fields with the most available positions are pilot, combat systems officer (navigator), air battle management and electrical engineering. Officer Training School applications are continually being accepted by recruiters for the fiscal 2007. After all 482 OTS positions are filled, additional applications move out to fill the following year's jobs. "It is taking 12 to 18 months to get an OTS seat because the process for selection is so competitive," Master Sgt. J.P. Brown, AFRS officer accessions NCO, told the Air Force News Service. Chaplain and medical fields remain the "hot" officer careers for 2007. The Air Force has numerous openings in the "big three" medical careers -- doctors, dentist and nurses. Additionally, the biomedical science corps and medical services corps will continue to have openings in 2007. "It's challenging to find people for these positions because they must be highly qualified," Sergeant Brown said. "For example, for doctors to qualify to become flight surgeons, they must have completed their general residency, general medical education and must be licensed to practice medicine." Force shaping will also affect the number of Air Force recruiters who will work in field offices, so it may be harder to find an Air Force recruiter in your area. The exact number of recruiter reductions is under evaluation.

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