The U.S. Air Force Academy prepares cadets to succeed and lead in a variety of careers as officers in the Air Force. You’ll be challenged by technological advances, increased demands for innovative resource management and the continuing pledge to guard and defend national goals. No matter your chosen path, dedication to serving as a leader in the Profession of Arms should be your primary objective.
While more than half of our graduates choose to pursue flight training, the Academy is able to classify commissioned second lieutenants into more than 35 different career fields, known as Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSCs).
Graduates who choose non-flying careers may enter a variety of fields. The percentage of graduates choosing these career paths are as follows:
- Mission Support (Personnel, Police, Public Affairs, Health): 10%
- Sortie Generation/Logistics (Missile Maintenance, Intelligence): 6%
- Operations (Air Traffic Controller, Space Operations): 16%
- Scientific/Technical (Civil Engineering, Communications, Acquisition): 18%
Below are just a few potential paths. For a full listing, explore Air Force Careers.
Civil Engineer There are literally thousands of Air Force buildings, structures and utilities around the world, and it’s the job of Air Force Civil Engineers to ensure they’re not only maintained but combat ready. A Civil Engineer can be flown anywhere in the world to assess damage, perform emergency repairs, advise commanders on emergency response and train personnel in a wide range of disaster preparedness.
Developmental Engineer Developmental Engineers are some of the best in the world, with specialties ranging from aeronautical and astronautical to electrical and mechanical engineering. They develop engineering processes and subprocesses, formulate engineering policy and procedures and direct technical operations. Developmental Engineers may be called to work on projects anywhere in the world.
INTEREST: HEALTH & MEDICINE
Military Health Career Fields USAFA has sent cadets directly to medical school since 1962. In 1997, dental and nursing schools became available for cadets. For over a decade, the Health Professions Advisory Committee has overseen the application process of cadets into military health career fields.
Combat Rescue Officer Some of the most courageous Airmen are those dedicated to the rescue and recovery of injured servicemen from the front lines. Alone and immobile, the injured are often extremely vulnerable and need a swift, effective rescue evacuation. These officers organize and strategize recovery missions, train and equip rescue personnel and manage and develop survival skills programs.
INTEREST: BUSINESS & COMMUNICATIONS
Personnel and Manpower Officer Personnel and Manpower Officers continually focus on assessing staffing needs–they handle everything from procurement and assignments to professional development, promotions and separations. They develop plans and policies for personnel, education, training and functional responsibilities.
Public Affairs Officer Public Affairs Officers use their diplomatic expertise to educate the public while safeguarding the details of our endeavors from foreign threats. They develop plans and operational procedures for communication about aircraft and missile accidents, natural disasters, environmental incidents and other newsworthy events concerning Air Force activities.
Cyberspace Operations Officer With today’s technology, information and communications can be optimized like never before, and timely information alone can make or break a mission’s success. Cyberspace Operation Officers possess a wide range of expertise from computerized, satellite and airborne communications to postal operations, tracking systems and weather equipment. They also plan, develop and maintain architectures and standards across air, space and cyberspace. Also responsible for supporting deployed communications operations, they can be sent anywhere in the world at any time to serve Air Force, joint and allied missions.
Scientist The breakthrough discoveries produced in the lab make our missions faster, safer and more effective. Air Force physicists use their knowledge in areas such as lasers, nuclear engineering and optics. Air Force chemists apply their expertise to fuels, materiel, biotechnology, bio-optics, hyperspectral research and much more.
Weather Officer Weather can be our greatest ally or strongest adversary. Weather forecasting plays an integral part in the success and safety of our missions. Air Force Weather Officers perform, manage and direct weather operations. They develop, direct and coordinate meteorological weather studies and research.
Air Liaison Officer Tactical air support can mean the difference between a victory and a loss when ground forces are engaged in battle. Providing and guiding this air support is the Air Liaison Officer (ALO) who leads Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) operations. Trained in all types of warfare, the ALO deploys to battlefield forward areas and serves as the primary adviser and advocate to the ground force commander. With expertise in TACP weapons, field equipment and signaling devices, the ALO enables the Combat Air Forces to integrate their advanced technologies and weapons systems with the efforts of the troops on the ground.
Security Forces Officer The ultimate objective of every Air Force operation is security. Security Forces Officers achieve this through their broad expertise encompassing weapons systems, antiterrorism, law enforcement, air base defense, industrial security and combat arms. Security Force Officers are needed around the world and may be called upon to travel internationally to develop, implement and supervise defense programs.
Space Operations The possibilities of enhancing our military effectiveness through the use of space are virtually endless. Space Operations Officers direct the entire system utilizing satellites that enhance our communication and tracking. They oversee space surveillance, space lift, space warning and satellite command and control. By assessing the effectiveness of all space operations and incorporating new technology as it becomes available, they develop future plans for systems, facilities and personnel in order to defend our nation.
Space Engineers The space community relies not only on astronautical engineers but mechanical, electrical, environmental, civil, and systems engineers to produce cutting edge systems. The astronautical engineer is uniquely prepared for Air Force duty with space systems as they are specialists in research, design, development, test, and analysis of space technology and aerospace avionics. Space engineers are needed throughout the space community and serve around the United States.
Space Aggressors Understanding space systems’ vulnerabilities to attack is the job of the Space Aggressor. Highly skilled warriors, they design and participate in war games to better understand our space system’s strengths and weaknesses. From their work we develop next generation systems as well as cutting edge tactics and technology to protect U.S. space assets and defeat enemy space systems.
Nuclear and Missile Operations As an elite military power, we have unparalleled nuclear and missile capabilities. It is the great responsibility of Nuclear and Missile Operations Officers to run and manage these operations. By assessing the effectiveness of missile operations systems and incorporating new technology, they develop future plans for systems, facilities and personnel.
Munitions and Maintenance The smallest malfunction in weapons or missiles can put our Airmen at risk. It’s the critical responsibility of Munitions and Missile Maintenance Officers to formulate and implement maintenance procedures that ensure Air Force arsenals are always fully stocked, highly functional and ready to be deployed.