Career Paths in the Air Force

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 6, 2021 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated March 6, 2021

Published January 3, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Each branch of the U.S. military plays an important role in safeguarding the freedom and security of our country. Regardless of the type of job you would like to pursue or the industry you are interested in, the U.S. Air Force likely has an occupational path that will meet your interests and can help you begin and advance your career. In this article, we discuss several different Air Force jobs you can pursue, what their qualification requirements are and what each position does.

What careers are in the Air Force?

There are more than 200 career paths you can choose to pursue in the Air Force within many different industries including:

  • Intelligence

  • Law enforcement

  • Logistics and transportation

  • Maintenance and repair

  • Natural science

  • Missile and aerospace

  • Special operations

  • Weaponry and material

  • Health and medicine

  • Aircraft and flight

  • Arts and humanities

  • Operations and administration

  • Computers and computer science

  • Electronics and electrical

  • Emergency management and response

  • Engineering and applied science

  • Facilities

  • Future technologies

  • Ground vehicles

What are the requirements for the Air Force?

When you enlist in the Air Force, you will be given the opportunity to select a job, called a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) as long as you meet the minimum qualifications for the job you are choosing. The Air Force has several requirements that potential enrollees must meet before enrolling including minimum and maximum age enlistment, minimum education, minimum health and physical condition, and minimum ASVAB test score requirements.

Air Force jobs

If you’re interested in joining the Air Force, here are some jobs you may consider testing for:

1. Lifeguard

National average salary: $27,816 per year

Primary duties: Monitors activities of people within their assigned swimming facility to maintain order and enforce established rules of safety and behavior. Rescue and resuscitate individuals who are in danger of drowning and provide first aid, artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when needed.

2. Security forces

National average salary: $35,139 per year

Primary duties: Ensure the safety of the people, property and resources on assigned Air Force base by conducting investigations into any on-base incidents, participating in team patrol movements, tactical drills, battle procedures and military operations, apprehend and detain suspects, secure crime scenes, testify in judicial proceedings, apply life-saving procedures as first responders to disaster scenes and train handlers and military working dogs.

3. Administrative assistant

National average salary: $47,569 per year

Primary duties: Provide administrative support and act as the focal point for all administrative activities within the organization by using specialized knowledge of rules, regulations and guidance related to administrative assignments in various functional areas and a knowledge of office automation software, practices and procedures.

4. Aircraft maintenance technician

National average salary: $47,980 per year

Primary duties: Ensures aircraft can fly and is in peak condition at all times by performing pre- and post-flight aircraft inspections, interpreting and discussing inspection findings, advising on problems, maintenance and servicing needs, maintaining aircraft, support equipment, forms and records, and supervising and assisting in launching and recovering aircraft.

5. Electrician

National average salary: $29.24 per hour

Primary duties: Install, repair, troubleshoot and maintain various electrical systems, controls and equipment. Troubleshoots problem areas and inspects for defective equipment and faulty wiring. Uses and maintains various types of hand and power tools to complete job duties. Utilizes safety practices and procedures following established rules and regulations and maintains a safe and clean work environment.

6. Mechanic

National average salary: $29.69 per hour

Primary duties: Directs, monitors or performs overall maintenance, servicing, inspections and documentation for one or more aircraft and ensures aircraft documentation and Maintenance Information Systems (MIS) accurately reflect each aircraft’s airworthiness. Works in complex working conditions under time and/or mission constraints to include all-weather and night operations.

7. Superintendent

National average salary: $71,388 per year

Primary duties: Serves as the Force Support Squadron Superintendent and as the Senior Enlisted Air Reserve Technician. Plans, organizes and oversees the full complement of activities within the Force Support Squadron, manages process reengineering, continuous improvement initiatives and management consulting services.

Manages activities associated with education, training and self-inspection programs for unit personnel, and exercises supervisory personnel management responsibilities. Performs work for the planning and management of the administrative budget and related financial documents. Makes a periodic, comprehensive assessment and evaluation of program goals and objectives to form a basis for long-range planning.

8. Contract specialist

National average salary: $80,990 per year

Primary duties: Performs and follows established procedures to procure off-the-shelf materials, responds to customer needs to procure repetitive items or services, reviews requisitions to determine whether proper specifications or purchase descriptions are included in solicitation documents, prepares Invitation for Bid (IFB), Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP).

Develops source lists of responsible contractors, coordinates with small business specialists, performs a detailed analysis of responses to solicitations, assists in monitoring contract performance and assists in contract terminations.

9. Program analyst

National average salary: $93,862 per year

Primary duties: Plans, organizes and manages the day-to-day activities of the civil engineer unit with regards to mobility programs for critical essential mission requirements. Manages deployment and contingency planning for mission accomplishments. Serves as the subject matter expert and consultant to the unit commander on all matters pertaining to the availability and management of mobility programs impacting the unit.

Develops goals and objectives; reviews and revises policies, procedures and mission objectives; and implements quality improvements. Provides direction and advice regarding operating policies, procedures and guidelines.

10. Intelligence specialist

National average salary: $98,553 per year

Primary duties: Oversees the implementation of a targeting strategy to meet validated collection requirements according to program priorities, develops comprehensive targeting packages and reports on assigned targets. Develops and produces comprehensive all-source targeting packages and reports for operations to answer program priorities and bilateral partner needs.

Communicates regularly with elements of the Theater Special Operations Commands, Geographic Combatant Commands, other DoD entities and other members of the intelligence community to exchange information and ideas and share best practices. Provides authoritative guidance on targeting policies, standards and best practices.

11. Pilot

National average salary: $109,931 per year

Primary duties: Master of all aspects of advanced aviation, plans and prepares for missions, specializes in a specific aircraft and skill set, and trains and leads a crew for successful completion of missions in deployments around the world for wherever there’s a need as fighters, trainers, bombers, advisers and more.

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