Education benefits benefit Airmen


LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Education — it’s something that’s important not only to be competitive in one’s military career but also in the civilian sector.

“A diploma or college education shows you not only have the education but you also have critical thinking skills, and that you can analyze, be objective and have a perspective on different issues,” said Sandy Cooper, 56th Force Support Squadron guidance counselor. “It also backs up the fact that you have knowledge behind what you’re saying. It doesn’t always matter what school you have graduated from but that you have a degree and that shows discipline and commitment.”

Education is also important in a military career.

“Is there ever an enlisted performance report or a package to submit that doesn’t ask you, ‘Where are you with your education?’” Cooper said. “With all the racking and stacking these days, this is an area for Airmen to excel in.”

Luke first sergeants also shared their thoughts.

“Everyone can benefit from additional education even though the expectations of education in the military have changed,” said Master Sgt. Sara Abel, 56th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant. “Military education and training, which includes the Community College of the Air Force degree, is intended to improve an individual’s capabilities in their respective roles.  If we look beyond the military, the experiences and skills learned on active duty may not land us the perfect job in the civilian sector. This is why education is very important and can make you competitive when you separate.”

Education makes a person competitive and well rounded, according to Master Sgt. Deborah Hofstra, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron first sergeant.

“Having an education is important not only to help you progress through the ranks, but it’s a part of being a well-rounded person in the Air Force,” she said. “You won’t always be in the military, and education helps in getting a good paying job.”

The time to enroll in school is now, Cooper said.

“Take advantage of tuition assistance,” she said. “Active-duty members are given $4,500 per year to use toward their education. As long as they’re up to date on their fitness assessment test, don’t have an unfavorable information file, and their supervisor approves it, they can go to school.”

Additionally, the Air Force provides free programs for active-duty members to help them excel in subjects in which they are weak.