Commentary

July 12, 2013

Education – it’s free, take advantage of it

1st Lt. GREGORY THOMAS
309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit

One benefit we have as military members is the opportunity for a free education. Surprisingly, many individuals do not take advantage of this and go their entire careers without ever stopping by the education center. This is extremely common, but hopefully this article will provide some resources to those thinking about pursuing educational goals.

The right time for Airmen to begin is in the first term of serving. The first priority should always be to knock out the career development courses in order to understand the job. Once the 5-level is obtained, Airmen are authorized to obtain a Community College of the Air Force degree. Those days in tech school actually accounted for college credit, so Airmen already have a head start. Most career field tech schools account for all but five classes. By taking one eight-week course at a time, Airmen can earn an accredited associate degree in less than a year.

Many colleges offer self-paced online courses, making each class extremely flexible and obtainable by anyone, regardless of their specialty. As you finish your CCAF, you can then look into obtaining a bachelor’s degree. If you already have a CCAF or want to plan toward what you are going to do once you get one, look on the Air Force Virtual Education Center website and check out the ABC program. This program builds on a CCAF degree and allows for you to knock out your bachelor’s in 60 semester hours.

For NCOs looking to get their education, it’s harder now that they are in the role of a supervisor. Not only is job knowledge important, but they also have Airmen to watch over, mentor and groom to be future leaders. That should not be an excuse. Even taking one class at a time will make progress. To be successful, Airmen should sit down with a mentor and establish accountability.

Senior NCOs need to complete course 14 and CCAF in many career paths. Making senior master sergeant and chief are available only to those who have completed education requirements. Taking care of this now will only benefit a member later on.

This forum has a pattern, and now I speak to our senior NCOs.

I urge you to consider the benefits of being that mentor to our junior enlisted and constantly reinforce to them the importance of education. I urge you to not only inspire subordinates to see the importance of education, but get them excited about what they can accomplish. By now as a senior NCO, you do not need a lieutenant to tell you that your course 14 and CCAF should have been done long ago. However, if it is not, it is never too late to start.

The military is evolving, and education is more important than ever. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are established while going to college and pursuing an academic degree will only make our Air Force better. If you are thinking of “pushing the button” on retirement, consider this alarming fact from recent attendees of the job fair held on base. The majority of companies appreciate the experience gained in the military, however management positions on the outside require accredited degrees even beyond the CCAF. By getting a degree you are not only taking advantage of a free resource offered to you, but are gaining valuable knowledge that will benefit the Air Force now, and will give you a better job when you decide to start a second career.

I close with one last thought. It is your responsibility to pursue an education. It is not your supervisor’s or anyone else’s. If you are unsure where to start, contact the education center or send me an email. There are an endless number of possibilities when discussing what you can do. Currently Air Force Tuition Assistance covers $4,500 every year to cover classroom expenses. This money can be used to pursue certificates, associate, bachelor’s and even master’s degrees. The education office phone number is 623-856-7722. Give them a call. You will be glad you did.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
image001

It’s a way of life

Maj. Ronald Marquez Air Force Instruction 1-1 Paragraph 1.5 states, A way of life. “The mission must be accomplished.” Luke AFB is taking a small break from that mission, back-to-back four-day weekends for some. This means ...
 

 
600-Jesus-Nativity504

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Courtesy graphic Do we have the humility and strength to hear the truth from those beneath us? “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field … All they that heard it wondered at those things which were ...
 
 
a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-dvd_600

Fly Over: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ and ‘Home Alone′

On DVD: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ I love Westerns, both dramatic and comedic, and I was eager to watch this movie with the tagline “From the guy who brought you ‘Ted.’” That alone should have been ...
 
 

Gratitude cultivates exceptional leadership

Several months ago I was inspired by the phrase “cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” The topic was presented in a religious context; however, I found these words significant and profound when considered as a tenent of exceptional leadership. Cultivate is an action verb. The word brings to mind images of an experienced gardener patiently tending...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin