NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – — There are times when Airmen that enter the Air Force may not have fully understood the job that was given to them, it wasn’t what they expected, or they knew what to expect but are now looking for a change.
Fortunately, Airmen have the opportunity to attain that change through retraining.
The objective for the retraining program is to balance the career force of each Air Force Specialty Code as needed; so under the retraining program, eligible Airmen can apply to join a different career field.
There are two programs for retraining: the Career Airmen Reenlistment Reservation System Retraining Program and the NCO Retraining Program.
The CAREERS Retraining Program is designed for first-term Airmen. No matter what the Airman’s AFSC and manning is, Airmen can apply to retrain. The CAREERS retraining selection is a competitive process. The retraining package is prioritized according to the most current EPR as well as the last three EPRs, current grade/projected grade, and date of rank.
Airmen assigned overseas may apply for retraining 9 to 15 months prior to their DEROS if serving any portion of the FTA window on or before DEROS, which is the 35th month for 4-year enlistees and 59th month for 6-year enlistees.
The purpose of the NCORP is to balance the enlisted force through selective retaining of staff sergeants to master sergeants from overage AFSCs to AFSCs experiencing shortages which can result in involuntary retraining of second term and career Airmen.
“I have retrained twice,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Sneed, 57th Information Aggressors Squadron adversary network warfare operator. “I felt like I wanted more of a challenge in my job, as well as become more technical in the communications career field.
“The first time I retrained the biggest challenge was waiting to hear back from the board if I was approved to retrain. The second time I retrained I was in a balance career field with no retraining out positions so I had to wait for the phase 1 and phase 2 of NCORP to be completed and then do an exception to policy letter to be able to retrain out of a balance AFSC to a chronic critical AFSC and submit my package to AFPC so the functional could review and decide whether or not to approve.”
Airmen wanting to retrain through NCORP must fall under certain criteria in order to be eligible. The Airman must be on their second or subsequent enlistment, and have a current or projected grade of staff sergeant through master sergeant.
If an Airman is projected for promotion they must apply to AFSCs that have shortages in their projected grade.
“One of the challenges that come with retraining as an NCO is coming into a new career having to complete all the skill-level requirements and CDCs while still doing all the other things that is required of you as a NCO,” said Sneed.
Additionally, Airmen looking to retrain may take advantage of the monthly Retraining 101 class offered by the career assistance advisors.
“The retraining class is highly recommended, because this is where we field a majority of questions,” said Senior Master Sgt. Marcy Holland, 99th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor. “Retraining 101 is honestly the best way I can be most effective. During a class I can reach more Airmen and use that opportunity as a way for them to learn from each other utilizing a hands-on approach.
Holland’s advice for those looking to retrain is to stay educated, know your window and if you really want to, retrain.
“Four year enlistee’s window opens 35th month through the 43rd month and six year enlistee’s window opens the 59th month through the 67th month. We offer Retrain 101 classes at least once a month at both Nellis and Creech AFB’s,” said Holland. “We tell Airmen to come to us about two to three months before their window of opportunity opens. There is also an option for first-term Airmen to retrain at their half way point. We ask that those individuals also attend our class to get more information.
“Our primary job is to develop Airmen and provide counseling on changes going on in our Air Force. One of the ways we do that is by ensuring the information we receive from Air Force Personnel Center and ACC Channels is pushed out to all levels. We field questions ranging from enlisted professional military education, retraining, and even DSD. Although we’re not the subject matter experts for some of these things, we are a central hub for information.”
For those wishing to apply for retraining, log into the Virtual Military Personnel Flight and click on the Self Service Actions followed by the Retraining tab. It is important to verify eligibility, fill out all the paperwork, and submit the application.
The application will go to AFPC for a quality check of the package and then it will forward to the AFPC Retraining Board who will then determine selections.