Joining the Air National Guard

Air National Guard deputy director wears bomb suit
Air Force Maj. Gen. Marc Sasseville, deputy director of the Air National Guard, dons a bomb suit during a visit to the 140th Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Flight, Colorado Air National Guard, May 7, 2017, on Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado. (Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea/U.S. Air National Guard)

If you are interested in joining the Air National Guard, you must:

-- Be between the ages of 18 and 39 (you can be 17 with a parent's signature).

-- You must have a high school diploma, although in some instances, GED certificates can be accepted.

-- Pass a physical.

-- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which will determine career paths available for consideration. To learn how to get a good score on the ASVAB, go to the ASVAB section.

When you join the Air Guard, you will go through Basic Military Training (BMT) at Joint Base San Antonio. This is a six-week course that teaches you the basics of military life and customs, drill and ceremony, as well as physically and mentally challenge you by building your confidence and stamina.

Education Benefits and Skills Training

The Air National Guard has units in every state and territory of the United States. Many of these units offer tuition assistance up to 100%, according to their needs. Many units offer school loan repayments. Couple these benefits of service with free air travel, very low-cost term life insurance, a monthly paycheck, continuing training and shopping privileges at military installations, and you have the best part-time job in America. In fact, depending on which career path you choose, you may qualify for a signing bonus.

For more information, visit the Air National Guard locator page to find an Air Guard unit in your state or community. In addition to the educational benefits offered through the states, the Air Guard is also eligible to participate in these programs to pay for school and training.

Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve

The MGIB-SR allows you to attend school full time while serving in the Reserve or National Guard and get more than $10,000 for school in addition to your paycheck and any other educational benefits you may be eligible to receive. For more on the GI Bill for Selected Reservists, go to the Reserve GI Bill section.

Community College of the Air Force

This institution enables students to earn an associate in applied science degree. The college is open only to enlisted active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members. CCAF, which offers 71 degree programs, is the largest multi-campus community college in the world and has approximately 270,000 airmen enrolled. To earn their two-year degrees, students combine Air Force technical training, professional military education and general education credits from accredited colleges and universities. Visit the official website for more information.

Reserve Officer Training Corps

If your hope is to become an Air Force officer, then Air Force ROTC is one of three ways. With detachments at more than 143 universities and colleges nationwide -- and more than 850 schools offering the program with host schools in their locations -- AFROTC is an excellent way to work toward a commission while obtaining your degree.

Visit Air Force ROTC for more information.

Air Force ROTC offers 3.5-, 3-, and 2.5-year scholarships in all majors. There are two categories of scholarships:

Type I -- This scholarship offers full tuition and fees with a textbook allowance per year.

Type II -- An annual payment for tuition and fees, and an additional annual book allowance.

All scholarship cadets receive a monthly nontaxable stipend throughout the school year. To be eligible, you must:

-- Have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

-- Complete at least one term of full-time, college-level work (does not include college-level work during high school) and have at least 24 semester hours of college-level credits.

-- Meet weight, fitness, medical, age, citizenship, Air Force Officer Qualifying Test score and other eligibility requirements.

After completing all AFROTC program and degree requirements, students receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and serve a minimum of four years on active duty. If interested in becoming a pilot, all pilot slots are selected during the junior year on a competitive basis. Good college grades, good physical fitness, medical qualification and good military performance are the keys to selection.

Officer Training School

Officer Training School, located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, is the "flexible partner" of Air Force commissioning programs and prepares officer candidates for the technical, physical and professional requirements of commissioned service.

Tuition Assistance

The Air National Guard offers tuition assistance. You can be reimbursed up to 100% of tuition and authorized fees.

Voluntary Education

As a member of the National Guard, you can pursue college and university courses through the Community College of the Air Force. The Community College of the Air Force provides two-year educational programs to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. These programs combine Air Force technical training with general education coursework from civilian accredited colleges.

Air National Guard

Protect America's skies and defend our freedom. Air National Guard offers over 180 career choices. You hold the key to tomorrow's future. Click here.

Promotions and Career Path

In the Air National Guard, you can expect steady advancement in rank and pay. Promotions are made with what the Air National Guard considers the "whole person:"

-- Job performance

-- Time in rank

-- Career specialty

-- Leadership

-- Job responsibility

The Air National Guard also looks favorably on your level of education.

Prior Service

If you have prior military service, then the Air National Guard is an excellent way to continue accruing time and money for retirement while at the same time continuing to serve your country. When you join the Air National Guard, you'll receive benefits for your prior military and Guard experience. There are opportunities if you are transitioning from active duty or if you've been out of the service for a while.

The Air National Guard Experience

The Air National Guard offers you the ability of attending school full time or pursuing a civilian career while serving your country in one of the most sophisticated and exciting branches of the military.

Obligation -- As a member of the Air Guard, your commitment will be to attend one drill per month and one period of annual training per year. People who join the Guard without prior military experience will incur an eight-year obligation. The last two years, you may serve in the inactive ready reserve. Although not active in the Guard, you will be subject to recall in the event of a national emergency.

Drills -- A drill consists of two days of training per month. Your pay will be adjusted automatically for cost-of-living increases. You'll get pay increases for every two years of accumulated service and may earn special duty pay. To calculate your drill pay, visit the Drill Calculator.

Annual training -- Annual training in the Air National Guard is held for two weeks per year. Depending on the unit and your specialty, you could be stationed at a shore location, with an aviation squadron or aboard ship.

Travel -- As a member of the Air National Guard, you will have the opportunity to travel on duty and off. You also qualify for military space-available travel within and between the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico. For more on military travel options and benefits, see the Travel Center.

Base privileges -- As a member, you can access all recreational facilities on military bases, such as gyms, tennis courts and libraries. You and your family can enjoy unlimited access at any Military Exchange nationwide. Air National Guard members and their families are entitled to use base commissaries for up to 24 days annually, plus any days spent on active duty. For more on recreational and family benefits, see the Guard Family and Individual Help page.

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