How to Join the Air Force Quickly

Two Parts:Meeting Eligibility RequirementsGoing Through the Enlistment Process

Joining the Air Force is an extensive process. You must meet requirements of age, education and aptitude. You must demonstrate financial and legal responsibility. If you are well-prepared for joining the Air Force, the process will go more quickly.

Part 1
Meeting Eligibility Requirements

  1. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 1
    Meet age requirements. To join the Air Force for the first time, you must be at least 18, and able to be enrolled in Basic Military Training before your 28th birthday. If you plan to apply for Officer Training School, you must be able to be commissioned before your 35th birthday. If you want to apply to be a physician, nurse or allied health, you must be in Commissioned Officer Training before your 40th birthday.[1]
    • If you are already in the military, these age requirements may vary. Talk to your local recruiter for more information.
    • If you are 17, a guardian can sign permission for you to join.
  2. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 2
    Be a Tier 1 candidate. To be eligible for Tier 1 status, you will need a high school diploma, and score at least 31% on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Tier 1 candidates get first pick of any open positions with the Air Force or other division of the armed forces. By getting first choice, you'll enter more quickly because you can be almost certain you'll get a job.[2]
    • If you don't have a high school degree, you should take the GED. If you have a GED, you'll be a "Tier 2" candidate and required to score at least 50% on the AFQT.
    • The military is not allowed to accept more than 10% of its candidates from individuals who do not have high school diplomas (i.e. those with GEDs).
    • If you have a GED and take at least 15 credit hours at the college level, you may qualify for Tier 1.
  3. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 3
    Have no more than 2 dependents. The Air Force, like most branches of the military, draws its ranks from those who do not have a large number of dependents. If you have more than 2 legal dependents, you may not be eligible to enlist in the Air Force.[3]
    • If you are a single parent with any dependents, you are not eligible for the Air Force.
    • If you give up custody of your children for the purposes of joining the Air Force, you will be permanently disqualified from joining.
  4. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 4
    Pass a criminal background check. If you have certain crimes on your record, you may need to get a waiver in order to enroll in the Air Force. The reason it's necessary to show good moral character before joining the military is because the person must be trusted with making good ethical decisions without direct supervision. [4]
    • It is up to the recruitment officer to decide whether or not you will qualify for a waiver. If you know that you'll require a waiver, it's a good idea to bring letters of positive reference from people who can testify to your good character, but the recruitment officer doesn't have to accept them.
    • Examples of the crimes for which waivers may be offered include: civil offenses, misdemeanors, minor non-traffic related charges, or a combination of minor and misdemeanor charges.
    • If you've committed 1 felony, you may be eligible for a waiver.
    • If you have multiple DUIs or have ever been convicted for using or selling drugs, you may not be eligible for the Air Force.
    • If you have ever been dishonorably discharged from the military, or if you were discharged for drug/alcohol abuse, you will not be eligible for reenlisting.
  5. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 5
    Meet financial eligibility requirements. The Air Force uses a 40% standard, meaning that any recruit whose monthly consumer debts (not counting debts which can be deferred, such as student loans) is greater than 40% of her anticipated military pay is ineligible for enlistment.[5]
    • If you have a history of bad debts, collection agencies, bankruptcy or other financial challenges, you may be required to provide proof that you can meet your current financial debts.
    • If you are over 23, married, or have dependents, you may be required to provide proof that you can meet your current financial debts.
  6. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 6
    Meet height and weight requirements. The standard is a maximum body fat of 20% for males under 30, 24% for males over 30, 28% for females under 30, and 32% for females over 30. You must be at least 58 inches (4 feet, 10 inches) tall, and no taller than 80 inches (6 feet, 8 inches).[6]
    • For example, if you are 5 feet, 6 inches tall, your maximum weight would be 170 pounds.
    • If you are accepted on a Delayed Entry Program, you should maintain your eligibility weight as you await your admittance date.
    • Height/weight requirements are identical for men and women.

Part 2
Going Through the Enlistment Process

  1. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 7
    Contact a recruiter. For a fast enlistment process, it's recommended that you call ahead of time and make an appointment. At this appointment, the recruiter will ask you about your background, and make sure you meet certain eligibility requirements.[7]
    • Make sure you answer all questions honestly and to the fullest extent of your knowledge. Providing false information during this process is strictly prohibited.
    • The recruiters will ask questions regarding your medical background, law infractions, drug use, education, family status and other issues relating to eligibility.
  2. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 8
    Bring the necessary paperwork. If you're prepared with all your paperwork, this will speed the process of enlisting quite a bit. Prepare as if you're applying for a job.[8]
    • You'll need to provide proof of identity (Driver's license, Social Security card, Green card (if applicable), Passport (if you have one), Birth certificate)
    • Bring any Marriage license or divorce papers (if applicable)
    • Prepare any legal records and credit reports.
    • Contact your school to get official transcripts, and bring your high school (and/or college) diplomas and/or degrees (the actual ones, NOT copies)
    • Bring your work resume, as well as records, locations, and contact info of all places you have worked at over the past 5-10 years
    • If you're applying to be an officer, bring professional and/or personal recommendations
    • Bring a list of all addresses where you have lived the past 7-10 years
    • If you have traveled outside the United States any time over the past 10 years, bring detailed lists of travel dates and locations.
    • Bring the contact information (name, address, phone number) for personal references, people you've known up to 10 years.
    • If you have any significant medical conditions, bring copies of your medical records.
    • If you know you'll need a waiver for any criminal convictions, bring several letters testifying to your good character.
  3. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 9
    Choose a career field. There are over 130 different career fields found in the Air Force. You can find them listed at the U.S. Air Force website online. You'll be asked to offer a list of acceptable career paths for which you're qualified. If you know what jobs you're interested in, this will speed up the enlistment process.[9]
    • Realize that the Air Force is very selective. You may not get your first choice of career.
    • Ask what the required ASVAB score is for the career fields you've chosen. The recruiter can give you this information.
  4. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 10
    Take the ASVAB. The test is a timed, multi-aptitude test, determining the areas of the military you might qualify for, possible enlistment bonuses and other aspects of service. which Your score in 4 areas - arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension and mathematics knowledge - will affect your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score, which determines whether or not you are eligible to join the military.[10]
    • A high score on this test increases the chances of your getting the career you prefer.
    • You are encouraged to study for the ASVAB. Practice tests are available online.
  5. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 11
    Read your enlistment contract before you sign it. No matter what was promised by your recruiter, if it's not written in the contract then it doesn't exist. Look carefully at the details of your commitment. If you were promised a signing bonus, make sure it's listed in the contract.[11]
    • Regardless of the time of active duty you'll be serving you are signing an 8-year commitment.
    • During these years, you may be recalled to active duty any time.
  6. Image titled Join the Air Force Quickly Step 12
    Ask to be put on the "quick ship" list. The Air Force typically recruits people several months prior to the date they'll be called to serve. If you're in a hurry to join, ask your recruiter to be put on the quick ship list. This means that if there are recruits who drop out at the last minute, you can be called to take their place.[12]
    • The drawback of being on this list is that you'll be required to accept whatever career the original enlistee had accepted, which may not have been on your list of preferred careers.
    • You may only get 24 hours notice if you're called on this list.


  • You may be able to take the ASVAB test in high school. You can also try a practice test in your recruiters office, and there are study guides available to help you prepare for the test.


  • If you are a single parent with custody of your children, you cannot join the Air Force. You also cannot give up custody for the purpose of enlisting with the intent of regaining custody later.

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military