NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. â€“ Education benefits allow Airmen to achieve Air Force-required standards and set personal goals.
“Anytime you complete a degree, the education gained is going to make you better at your job,” said Alice Patton, 99th Force Support Squadron, chief of education and training for Nellis and Creech.
Air Force education benefits can bolster a member’s standing for selection to a special duty assignment, as well as fulfill job degree requirements.
Applicants without at least 52 hours in their Community College of the Air Force degree will be rejected for special duty assignments. Once an applicant is picked up for a special duty assignment, they are required to finish their CCAF degree in one year.
For regular Air Force jobs, failure to complete Career Development Courses will result in removal from that job or the Air Force. CCAF degrees can be just as important, Patton said. For instance, noncommissioned officers will not receive a senior rater endorsement unless they have completed their CCAF degree, hurting chances for promotion. Likewise, Senior NCOs have a very low chance of promotion past E-7 without senior rater endorsement and a CCAF degree.
Tuition assistance is another education benefit available to all Airmen. The Air Force gives each active duty member a $4,500 TA allotment annually. This is a key recruiting and retention tool that allows Airmen to attend college classes without having to pay out of pocket.
Some Air Force jobs have requirements other than college classes. For Airmen who wish to pursue a job for which they were not originally trained, the Air Force will pay for one entry-level job certification in an active duty Airman’s career.
“One time in your Air Force career, you can get up to $4,500 to do a certification,” Patton said.
Those who don’t need a certification and can’t attend classes have the option of online classes or testing to earn credit under “CLEP” or “DANTES.”
Successfully completing DANTES or CLEP tests can equate to college credit. In fact, a 90-minute test can equal a semester’s worth of class credit.
“CLEP and DANTES have become very popular with service members over the past few years,” Patton said.
The education office assists Airmen on an individual basis to determine the best way ahead.
“When we talk to the student, we get a feel for where they’re at,” said William Ide, 99th FSS education specialist.
Staff at the office help the Airman determine whether they are ready to test out of a class, or whether they should continue to learn in the classroom.
“When we find out they tend to lean toward testing, we give them all the material “â€ all the ammo “â€ to study up on the test subject matter,” Ide said.
Once an Airman is ready to test, they can head to the office’s national test center, opened in Aug. 2011, at the Nellis Force Support building.
“Everything is electronic, so they have instant results right then and there,” Ide said.
The center boasts the highest testing volume in Air Combat Command.
For more about what the education team has to offer, call 702-652-5281 or stop by the education office in the Force Support building.