CCAF offers jump on education

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LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 to recognize academic achievements for technical training by Air Force schools. It awards an associate in applied science degree to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command who have completed the course work.

Degree programs are designed to help students meet future technological and leadership challenges of the Air Force by combining Air Force technical training with general education course work from accredited civilian schools. CCAF has five broad areas in which it offers degree programs. They are logistics and resources, public and support services, allied health, electronics and telecommunications, and aircraft and missile maintenance.

Since military personnel are constantly relocating, CCAF provides a means for them to complete degree requirements regardless of where they are assigned.

I recently had an opportunity to go to a CCAF graduation ceremony on base. The commencement speaker was a retired Air Force command chief. It always leaves an impression on me when I hear from retired enlisted Airmen that have doctorates. They have worked tirelessly to support themselves and their families not only working for the Air Force, but also to get an education for themselves. The Air Force wants Airmen to be educated. It benefits by having a more diverse, qualified and educated workforce to maintain critical and valuable national defense assets outside of the normal job qualification training. The perk for the Airman is that the skills and education translate very well to public and private industries.

There are many programs set up in which the Air Force helps to offset the cost of getting an off-duty education. Most notably are military tuition assistance, Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9-11 GI Bill.

While you are in the military, the most accessible program to use is tuition assistance. It provides 100 percent of tuition and fees as long as the limits are not exceeded.

The opportunities are there for Airmen. It’s up to each person to take advantage of them.