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Old 02-04-2009, 03:39 PM
436 posts, read 1,261,205 times
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So I've been thinking about joining the Air Force for numerous reasons and benefits..but mainly to get a start on a career of some sort. Some of the fields I was considering were public health/affairs, dentistry, or services (chef).

I currently am enrolled in community college and working on an AA degree, but it is taking longer than I would like so jumping into a career in the mil is looking more exciting than trying to stick it out to finish my degree. I know that officers have greater benefits (and salaries), but does the mil only offer benefits for those with Bachelors degrees? Is there any benefit for those with an AA degree?

Also, what is mil life like for full time enlisted women? (Please feel free to respond even if you are PT for the Guard or Res). What are the typical age ranges of most females in the military? What is the housing like and is it easy to make friends with females or males on base? Can you tell me anything about the aforementioned fields? And of course..any additional feedback or stories that you may have are welcome
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:10 PM
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If you were to join any brach of the service I would suggest the Air Force! I'm female and have been serving for over 7 years. We can't complain too much because we have it pretty good in the Air Force. I DO NOT recommend you doing Services... Services encompasses many things such as working at the base gym, flipping hamburgers, or working at the base hotel. You deploy a lot too... I'm Personnel. Work 7-4, Mon-Fri. If your enlisted and have a bachlor's degree, good for you! No extra pay! Down to the road you could decide to do Officer Training School and become an officer. Being in the military is kind of having a regular job. Your just help to higher standards on and off duty and you wear the uniform everyday. The ages of females very. I came in a year after highschool. I currently live in base housing. It was brand new when I got it. But everybase is going to be different. If your single, you'll live in the dorms until your an E-4. But if your married or have a child that lives with you the Air Force give you a housing allowance. Not bad, huh! Friends are easy to make. I met my best friend in basic training and we are now stationed together and work in the same office. You can't beat the benifits! If your that interested you should go and talk to your local recruiter.
Good Luck in your journey!
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:30 PM
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,371 posts, read 17,138,877 times
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Avoid services if you can. You'll get moved around from food (think big cafeteria meals not fine dining...unless you can become a General's Enlisted Aid then you go to culinary school). Dentistry is good, you'll get good training and the AF pays for full tuition if you decide to pursue your degree part time. Friends are easy to make, especially in basic training, tech school and overseas.

You get the same benefits in regard to medical/dental, vacation, housing etc whether you are officer or enlisted, but officers get much better pay. If you plan to make it a career be an officer.

Most AF members (male or female) just entering are in their late teens or early to mid-twenties, but there are plenty in their 30's and 40's too. AF has the best on base housing of all branches of service. If you have kids there are usually elementary grade schools on most bases as well as daycare centers. Most bases have gyms (free of cost), parks, swimming pool, library, gas stations, supermarkets (commissary), department stores (Exchange), bowling alley, and recreation centers.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:55 PM
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I'm not female, but wanted to offer some insight...The reverse or guard is very different from active duty. Typically, you visit a guard or reserve base that's close to you and there are limited jobs based on what the base's mission is. In the off chance you dream was to work on a fighter jet, some reserve/guard bases may only have cargo jets or even no planes at all.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:07 PM
Location: San Antonio
3,068 posts, read 8,822,798 times
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I'm female, I joined the AF when I was 18. I have never regretted it. But everyone is different.
If you have a bachelors, you can sometimes join as an officer... more pay, more responsibility.

I can tell you that right now, after 8 years, I make $50K a year. Keep in mind that most pay charts have your regular pay, but you also get allowances. Your allowances increase if you live somewhere more expensive... I know $50K is a lot of money in some places, and peanuts in others... so it does get adjusted.

The benefits are great. 100% of your tuition while your in (some limits to that), and the GI Bill when you get out.

All medical, dental, RX, eye (except contact lenses themselves), etc, is covered. They will even cover plastic surgery (limited circumstances), braces, corrective eye surgery, etc. They really take care of you.

7am-3pm, 5 days a week... but some have worse schedules.

I have only had to move once in 8 years. So you can have some stability, others move more often and actually try to move.

There are a lot of people who will complain about aspects of the Air Force, but it's agreeable if you go after what you want.

Both of my assignments to bases, I have had control over. I actually sought to get assigned to San Antonio, and was. Some people just wait for assignments to magically fall out of the sky. Understand that it will always be what you make of it. You have to take the bull by the horns.

Public health does things like check food safety in the on base dining facilities and the hospital. They also might track immunizations. They actually track and interview people with STD's, and then notify their sexual partners. That's about all I know.

Public affairs deals with civilian news agencies, to issue press releases, etc. They also deal with public relations... imagine if the base were hosting a dinner and the local mayor were coming, public affairs would check the script, reserved parking, seating arrangements, etc, to make sure that all the proper respects were paid. They are also involved in writing the base newspaper, and some Air Force wide publications. Check out "Airman Magazine" I think you can find it online and it has good "insider" type info. You'll get an idea about the "culture" from it.

Also check out AF Mentor. Some of it might not make sense, but good indicator of our "culture'

As far as "Services"... you won't get to be a "chef". They might train you to cook "chow hall" foods, but not culinary quality. After you are in for 4 years, you can find opportunities to go to culinary school. Becoming a General's Aide, or Flight attendant are two ways to get to go to culinary school... but I don't think it's an extensive culinary program. With services, I think you will also do things like work customer service at the base gym, and a few other things... I'm not sure.

Enlisted dental techs pretty much do all the teeth cleanings, x-rays, molds, appointment making, records keeping, and things that a regular dental tech would do in any civilian dental office.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:12 PM
Location: San Antonio
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Oh yeah, when I joined, 20 college credits earned you an extra stripe upon graduation basic training (a promotion to E-2)... but I don't know if that's still accurate.

It is usually easy to make friends because you'll start in the dorms, with hundreds of other people away from home, hoping to make friends. Usually you live in the dorms 2-3 years, but that can vary a little. After that, you will get a housing allowance and get to rent a regular apartment in town...

I did want to respond to everyone saying not to do services. Most people do think of services as a crap job... but if you like it, that's all that matters. I will tell you, services troops are like God's when you're deployed. They can't get you all kinds of "hook-ups" like ice-cream!

Some people like services. It's generally easy, and lends itself to helping the base be a happy place to live. Services means you serve others on base. Think of it like the "hospitality" industry. Jack of all trades, master of none.

But it's important, and appreciated!
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dmarie123 View Post
Oh yeah, when I joined, 20 college credits earned you an extra stripe upon graduation basic training (a promotion to E-2)... but I don't know if that's still accurate.
When my husband joined in 1995, he had a couple of yrs of college under his belt and started as an E-3.

So its definitely worth asking the recruiter about. Every little extra penny counts in the lower E grades!
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:17 AM
Location: San Antonio
3,068 posts, read 8,822,798 times
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Here is a 10 page list of benefits of being in the Air Force. I can attest that these are true, and not BS.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:02 AM
Location: Maine!
469 posts, read 1,605,521 times
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i'm here to speak up for Services troops. I was a Services troop and it wasn't a bad gig. yes, it is irregular hours, but it's all in your work ethic--not the work schedule. i can't speak for most troops, but you do get a chance to learn culinary arts, it's unfortunate though that supervisors do not take the time to get the training scheduled or as it seems monies slated for training were diverted for other reasons. we've sent troops to the CIA and other prestigious schools for training. USAFE has it's own in-house "culinary academy" run by French & German chefs to train our troops. services gets bad mouthed a lot because it is a "thankless" career field, but all of a sudden we're people's best friend when they need something. as a female enlisted member (i was in for 15 years before i had to separate due to medical reasons two years ago), i learned that you can be strong--mentally & physically and still get the job done without being called a b*tch. and if i was, well, so be it. my former troops & supervisors still keep in touch with me to this day because although i could be tough and demand excellence, i am understanding and would help them out in a pinch.

one thing that always struck me when i'd see a new female member is their lack of "self worth" and compromise themselves in precarious situations. we're stronger than we give ourselves credit for. and it would break my heart everytime i would see a young troop whip out the "i'm a girl" card because they needed to get out of a situation. or use that same card to instigate one.

Last edited by thechappells; 02-05-2009 at 08:23 AM..
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:54 PM
Location: Western Bexar County
3,823 posts, read 12,970,720 times
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The Air Force is a good choice. You might look at going into the Intel world (interesting jobs and assignments). Good benefits and you can pursue a degree (after you finish technical school). If you decide to make it a career, then try to get promoted to the highest rank you can as this affects your retirement income. These days you see more women in the Senior NCO ranks (E-7 through E-9).

Good Luck!
Retired AF Enlisted (26 years)
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