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Air Force Officer Career Paths

The Air Force has a tremendous variety of career fields available to officers —each with unique challenges and rewards. The Air Force needs highly qualified individuals to fill positions in several professional career fields. Our professional programs guarantee entry into one of the following competitive career fields as an Air Force officer. The following is just a few of the Officer Career Paths available to ROTC graduates.

Civil Engineer (CE) Officer

A Civil Engineer performs and manages CE functions and activities to provide facilities and infrastructure supporting the United States and allies.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Civil Engineers maintain trained and equipped forces capable of responding to worldwide contingencies and military operations other than war, evaluating capabilities and developing contingency methodologies to accomplish mission objectives. They are responsible for maintaining an emergency response force to cope with enemy attacks, major accidents and natural disasters, as well as planning, developing and executing procedures to mitigate the effects and dispose of conventional, nuclear, chemical biological ordnance and improvised explosive devices.

The Civil Engineer determines requirements, establishes plans, provides designs and directs operations, maintenance, repair, alteration, addition and construction of facilities and utility systems. Other responsibilities include acting as technical representative and engineering consultant for operations and maintenance activities, coordinating activities with local, state, federal and host country agencies.

Communications and Information Officer

Supports joint and service communications and information (comm and info) requirements, implementing and conducting unit operations and defensive information operations.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Communications and Information officers provide information operations capabilities and deliver the global information grid, supporting commanders and Joint Task Forces with command and control communications, computer support, information resources management, postal operations and air traffic systems maintenance. They plan, engineer, install and maintain capability to collect, process, disseminate and use information.

Communications and Information officers are responsible for systems and communications architectures supporting operational needs. They translate system operational concepts, requirements, architectures and designs into detailed engineering specifications and criteria, then design, build, manage and maintains distributed networking and computing systems.

You won't find one person responsible for all of these functions in the civilian workplace. Most likely, you'll find a System or Network Administrator responsible for planning, installing and maintaining computer networks for an office or building, as well as performing technical support for the company. A programmer will be responsible for performing life-cycle maintenance on software products. This may include writing code, documenting procedures, testing and evaluating programs and database management.

Financial Management Officer

Performs financial management activities and manages financial programs and operations, including accounting liaison and pay services, and budget preparation and execution.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Financial Management officers plan and organize financial management activities, develop techniques and establish internal controls to manage financial services and analysis operations. It is their responsibility to determine organizational structure, personnel, training needs and security requirements for safeguarding entrusted assets, as well as develop, review, coordinate and execute financial management plans to support peacetime, exercise, contingency and wartime operations.

The Financial Management officer directs financial management activities that include reviewing the adequacy of internal controls and quality of services; providing assistance and performing cost estimates and economic analysis; and overseeing funds distribution and management. The Financial Management officer also establishes performance standards to evaluate cost and efficiency.

Intelligence Officer

Conducts information operations to include analysis of information vulnerability; intelligence operations and applications activities; collecting, exploiting, producing and disseminating foreign military threat information.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The Intelligence officer supports combat operations - performing and overseeing the analysis and fusion of collected intelligence, and producing assessments to meet operational requirements. Responsibilities include exchanging and collecting intelligence with other services, agencies and governments, and analyzing data to advise planners of options to accomplish objectives.

Intelligence officers evaluate mission accomplishments to determine remaining adversary capability and requirements for retargeting, and coordinate intelligence estimates and analytical activities. They coordinate input to intelligence operations plans and orders, and advise commanders on threat systems deployment, employment, tactics and capabilities, and vulnerabilities, and also provide intelligence support and assist in the planning and execution of information warfare.

Air Force Judge Advocate General (Lawyer)

Air Force Judge Advocates face an exciting variety of legal issues. Most Air Force base legal offices have three to ten Judge Advocates, and while they advise many military people, one of their primary clients is the base commander. Accordingly, they encounter a limitless variety of legal issues, including criminal law, government contract law, labor law, environmental and real property law, international law and claims.

Got more questions about becoming an Air Force JAG? Check out their website at www.jagusaf.hq.af.mil or call 1-800-JAG-USAF.

Duties and Responsibilities:
One way of becoming a Judge Advocate is through the Graduate Law Program (GLP) - a non-scholarship, two-year Air Force ROTC professional program for law students. Once selected for the GLP, students are guaranteed a position as an Air Force Judge Advocate upon successful completion of the program, graduation from an ABA-approved law school, and completion of legal licensing requirements including the admission to practice before any state's highest court.

Physician (Medical Officer)

Examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries, and manages outpatient and ward services. The Air Force Medical Corps covers a wide range of medical specialties including surgery, pediatrics, family practice etc...

One sub section of the Medical Corps is the Biomedical Sciences Corps (BSC). The BSC specialties fall under the ROTC professional program which has categories for students and cadets wanting to become physical therapists, optometrists and pharmacists.

If you are selected for the professional program for a BSC category, you’ll be commissioned in your specialty as a Second Lieutenant. Visit the ROTC Professional Programs page for information.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The General Practice Physician manages primary care services, examining, diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries. Responsibilities include preparing and reviewing case histories and obtaining data through interviews, interpreting test results and evaluating examination findings. General Practice Physicians administer and prescribe such conservative measures of treatment as antibiotics, drugs and compresses, and also performs minor surgical procedures.

General Practice Physicians are responsible for coordinating health service and patient care with military and civilian medical agencies, participating in meetings of professional societies and clinics, and conferring with commanders and staff members concerning manning, equipping, operating and training of medical installations, facilities and units.

Medical Officers can pursue numerous specialties ask your recruiter for further details or visit http://www.afrotc.com/careers/jobsearch/category/medicine/.

Nurse Corps Officer

Provides professional nursing care, coordinates health services in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner, acts as patient advocate and advances desired health outcomes through patient and family education.

Nursing is one of a hand full of professional programs offered through Air Force ROTC. These programs guarantee entry into the some of the Air Forces most competitive career fields. This program awards Type 2 (tuition capped at $15,000 per year plus $510 per year for books) scholarships. In many cases, these scholarships can activate during the same term as nomination.

The Nursing Scholarship program is operated on a noncompetitive basis – those who meet the qualifications are awarded the scholarship and do not meet a scholarship selection board. The processing of the scholarship award is completed at the local detachment. Visit the ROTC Professional Programs page to learn more.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Clinical Nurses assess the health and needs of individuals and populations - collecting, recording and analyzing patient or population health data from preventive health assessments, health evaluation and risk appraisals, nursing history, health screenings and other sources, then using the data to determine their nursing needs.

Some serve as Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists, performing comprehensive health assessments and rendering direct patient care, including assessing, diagnosing, planning, and prescribing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of health problems, health promotion and preventive care. Promotes wellness and prevents illness and injury.

The Air Force offers several nursing career paths, contact your recruiter or visit http://www.afrotc.com/careers/jobsearch/category/nurse/46NX.htm


Air Force Pilots fly every type of aircraft and are responsible for commanding crews to accomplish combat, training, surveillance, rescue and other missions.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The Air Force Pilot must possess extensive knowledge of flight theory, air navigation, meteorology, flying directives, aircraft operating procedures and mission tactics. As pilot and crew commander, duties include operating aircraft controls and equipment, in-flight refueling, cargo and passenger delivery, and training crewmembers.

The Air Force Pilot develops plans and policies and monitors operations, and also must plan and prepare for missions by reviewing intelligence and weather information, filing flight plans and briefing the crew, and ensuring that the aircraft is inspected, loaded, equipped and manned for mission.

Space and Missile Officer

Operates and manages space and missile operations systems, including surveillance, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, spacelift, ballistic space warning and satellite command and control (C2).

Duties and Responsibilities:
On a daily basis, the Space and Missile crew coordinates space and missile operations activities, and coordinates with national and international space agencies on ICBM, space, and satellite launching, as well as space warning, tracking, control and cataloging activities.

The Space and Missile crew operates and controls space and missile operations, performing missile combat crew operations. They maintain readiness to execute, then launch ICBMs and apply current directives for targeting, execution and positive control of ICBMs. They initiate, advise and control space and missile combat crew operations, and serve as duty controller in space and missile command posts. Space and Missile crews perform satellite position predictions, satellite maneuver planning, orbital analysis and space based object position, and also catalog foreign and domestic space objects, detect continental ballistic missile threats and provide assessment to national military command authorities.

Weather Officer

Performs, manages, and directs weather operations for Air Force and Army activities, integrating current and forecast atmospheric and space weather conditions into operations and operational planning.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The Weather crew performs global analysis and forecast duties at weather and space centrals. They analyze and evaluate meteorological data and prepares mission forecasts, integrating weather analyses and reports with radar and satellite imagery interpretations. The Weather crew is responsible for briefing aircrews and staff personnel on current and forecast weather, and instructing personnel on the application of weather to operations, and the interpretation and use of meteorological products.

The Weather crew conducts and directs meteorological, astrophysical and geophysical studies, provides meteorological consultation for research activities, and directs gathering and preparing of data for specialized weather support activities. The Weather crew also writes directives on operational techniques and procedures to observe, analyze and forecast atmospheric and space phenomena.

They also interpret and integrate radar imagery and satellite data into forecast products and observation reports. They advise commanders and staffs on the capabilities and limitations of AF weather service while providing commanders with mission and weapon specific, time sensitive, forecast and observation support critical to successful mission accomplishment. The AF meteorologist is the focal point for all weather-related concerns to the Air Force.

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