Joining the Air Force: First Steps

5 First Steps When Joining the Air Force | Rose Colored Water #enlistment #airforce #military

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I’ve always been a pro-active person. I pay my bills early and always schedule future doctor appointments. I am organized and rarely let myself run out of eggs, bread, or milk. So when I started thinking about joining the Air Force, I did my research. Of course, you can’t believe everything the internet tells you, but you can get a pretty good idea of how things work by Googling.

First Steps to Joining the Air Force

I’m writing this because I want you to feel confident in the choices you make when pursuing a career in the Air Force, or military in general. You may have questions, and I’ve been through it first hand. I can offer you updated information because I went through it all.

So read on, friend! Let me know if you have any questions! To enlist in the Air Force, here’s what you need to do first:

Call a Recruiter

When I began showing interest in enlisting in the Air Force, the first thing I did was reach out to a recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to explain the benefits of their military branch and try to get you to join. They’ll answer any questions you may have, but they’ll also sugarcoat the truth. Just remember that recruiters are the military’s salesmen. They have a quota to fill every month.

The best way to find your branch’s nearest recruiter is to Google it. I found that the Air Force’s site was not up-to-date with the latest recruiter info, so Google was my best chance. Good luck finding one close to you. I live in St. Louis and currently, there are only two Air Force recruiters within a 75 mile radius. Other branches have more recruiters, so you might not struggle like I did.

So how does a recruiter know whether you’re fit to move further in the enlisting process? He’ll do something they call pre-qualifying.

Pre-Qualifying for the Military

Some of the first things a recruiter is going to ask before you ever step foot in his/her office is whether you have any illnesses, physical disabilities, felonies, misdemeanors, psychological problems, credit problems, or dependents. If you have a child and are unmarried, they may tell you that you are not qualified. This is not true. Sometimes recruiters will say this because there is a lot more paperwork involved when enlisting a single parent. So don’t let them tell you that you can’t join unless you get married.

They’ll also ask if you’re a citizen of the United States, your age and education status, and if you’ve used illegal substances. Be prepared to get personal. Don’t lie either! That will only hurt you later on. The military WILL find out if you’ve had past issues. If you’re upfront first, you can usually find a way around any baggage.

If everything checks out, you will be given the go ahead to take a practice ASVAB. That’s only if you’ve never taken the test before. This practice test is to gauge whether you’ll score high enough on the real ASVAB to qualify for their branch.

Note: A lot of this will only happen if you’ve already chosen the branch you want to enlist in. If not, you’re just going to be shopping, and recruiters may not get this far with you.

Filling Out Paperwork

If you take the the practice ASVAB, score high, and show promise, your recruiter will ask you if you’re ready to start the official process.

Depending on when you visit them, you could begin filling out paperwork right then and there. That’s what I did. You’ll fill out medical forms and sign privacy forms, harassment forms, etc. There’s a lot of paperwork. They’ll take copies of your license, social security card, birth certificate, etc.

You give your whole life to these people. It can take several days to make this happen if you work a full-time job and your recruiter’s office isn’t close. Depending on how quickly you get all the paperwork and official documents to them will depend on when you move on to take the official ASVAB and get processed at MEPS.

Taking the ASVAB and MEPS

I don’t want to go into too many details here since I’ll be elaborating more on my experience later, but the gist of it is: you go to the MEPS building (mine was in St. Louis), and you take the ASVAB and possibly process into your branch the very next day. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. It may take several trips to MEPS, but it’s easiest if you can do the “One Stop.” That’s where you test and process in a two-day period.

If you make it through that, you’ll come out as an official future member of the military. You’ll be in the DEP, or Delayed Entry Program. You hang out in this program until a job slot you’re qualified for comes through and you can get your date to leave for Basic Military Training.

That’s the basic process. It can take just a few days or months to finish these first steps. Then you may have to wait even longer to get a job and date to leave.

Patience is key.

Those are your first steps. If you have any questions, please let me know! I’ll do my best to answer!

5 First Steps When Joining the Air Force | Rose Colored Water #enlistment #airforce #military

8 thoughts on “Joining the Air Force: First Steps

    1. Thank you! I hope this will be helpful for people who don’t understand much about the military and are wanting to be more informed!

    2. I agree I think ive been confused about alot for years and this helped :)
      Also though i do have one question! I am a single mother.. surely that can NOT disqualify me from becoming a soldier!?
      If i give someone partial custody ?
      something !?
      i need to know now because ive been wanting to join for years but havent gotten off the weight but the monment i do. im going for it. but want to be 100% prepared before i set foot in anouther recruiters office.

      1. Thanks for stopping by Lulu! So, from what I’ve heard – no, being a single mother cannot disqualify you. However, it makes the process of enlisting very difficult and tedious. Don’t quote me on this, but I think you have to assign custody of your child to someone while you are in Basic and Tech school and show proof of that to a recruiter. I believe that’s how it works. Again, don’t quote me on it. A recruiter would know more about that process.

  1. This has been so informative and helpful for me! I recently stumbled upon your blog while researching the Air Force. I’ve been thinking of joining for the past 4 years, but the pressures of my parents and college always stopped me from committing. Now I’m 23 and know that the Air Force is definitely what I want to do with my life. With the full support of my husband, I plan on enlisting. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    1. I am so glad you’ve found my posts to be helpful! The Air Force has done amazing things for my husband and I. Even when I have bad days, I think of all the good that has come out of enlisting, and the stressful parts melt away. Always remind yourself why you joined when the going gets tough, because in the end, it’s only you who can make yourself survive BMT etc. Support is important, but you are the end factor. I’m so happy you’ve made this decision. Feel free to email me anytime for more advice or tips. Good luck!

    1. Yes, a collection will not stop you from joining the Air Force. It will just require some additional information during your clearance investigation. No biggy. Also, don’t let a recruiter tell you that your collections will stop you from getting in. They are lying. It just requires some extra work on their part. A good recruiter will help you through that process.

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