The Air Force is all about improving its personnel. We’re always learning on the job. There are Airmen at Luke right now who are working to achieve their 3 level.
We have the career development courses to become even further tasked, eventually leading to the mystical 0 rating held by chiefs. But learning doesn’t stop there. One of the most effective ways to learn is to become the teacher.
As much as we hear about the Community College of the Air Force, and often moan about the repeated lectures on it, it is a solid degree to have. It is an associate degree in your career field. The most common misconceptions boil down to either “Well, I’m going for my bachelors so I don’t need it,” or “I don’t plan on being an officer so what’s the point?”
First, having an associate degree generally allows you to bypass many of the general education courses (History 101, English 101, Comm 101, etc.), which saves you thousands of dollars. Secondly the CCAF is needed to advance in the Air Force. Chief Master Sgt. David Staton, 56th Fighter Wing command chief, has said he believes to earn a senior rater’s endorsement, you need to have completed a CCAF and a course 14. If you’re a technical sergeant looking to make master, you’ve decided to make the Air Force a career, and according to Staton, there is no reason not to have the CCAF completed by that point. The best advice I’ve been given in regard to the CCAF is that earning a CCAF is not a hard thing to accomplish. But if you choose not to get it, it tells the Air Force you’re not willing to be a team player.
We should always be looking to our next rank and what we need to do in order to attain that rank. An airman basic or airman first class should be working on their CDCs. Senior Airmen should be preparing to take staff, then on to technical. That next rank should always be in sight, even if that next rank involves brass on the shoulders. The best advice I’ve ever been given is “You’re a senior airman now.
You should be working as a staff sergeant. I expect you to take on the responsibilities of a staff and act as one. I’m doing the work of a master sergeant and I’m a tech. Always be working at that next level.” If not, you may find yourself as that eight-year senior airman who is about to get separated, saying, “What happened?”