joining the air force

Joining the Air Force: All Requirements You Need to Know

Requirements for joining the Air Force are some pretty strict guidelines. Let's see what you have to meet to be an Air Force man!

January 1, 2022

The Air Force is a military organization founded in 1907. It is the newest and smallest of the four branches of the United States Armed Forces, with slightly more than 300,000 active-duty soldiers in 2015. The Air Force has some strict rules for people who want to serve in this branch of the military, but they aren’t as difficult as you might think!

There are specific requirements for joining the Air Force. Air Force age eligibility, Air Force education requirements, Air Force enlistment options, and Air Force medical qualifications are just a few of the factors that go into joining the Air Force Enrollment Requirements. Before you can apply for the Air Force, you must have been a US citizen or national for at least three years. Please contact the recruiting office before applying for enlistment if you have any physical disabilities or medical conditions that may affect your ability to complete an initial active duty service obligation of ten years.

What Is the US Air Force?

One of the five branches of the Armed Forces, the Air Force defends the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.

Air Force Requirements

If you are in high school, your first concern should be education. Stay in school and graduate. Say no to drugs, keep yourself physically fit and stay out of trouble. Remember, take the hard classes (i.e., upper-level math, English and science, etc.) and you’ll have more opportunities later on.


  • Be between 17 and 39 years of age.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal, permanent resident
  • Have a high school diploma, GED with at least 15 college credits, or GED


Before enlisting, you must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which covers four areas critical to the Air Force mission: arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and mathematics knowledge. So what is a good ASVAB score? Air Force recruits are required at least an AFQT score of 36, while it is 65 if the applicant has a high school equivalency degree (GED, TASC, HiSET). This test helps determine whether you have the mental aptitude to withstand the demands of the Air Force and identifies your strengths to determine the careers best suited for your future success. To help test-takers get ready for the exam, we offer our free ASVAB practice test website which contains thousands of ASVAB practice questions for all ASVAB sections. Let us help you prepare for your future!


Once you have taken the ASVAB, your recruiter will make an appointment for you at a nearby Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to assess your physical and moral standards as set by the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and federal law. When processing through MEPS, you’ll provide your jobs counselor with a list of every job and aptitude area you are qualified for and willing to train for in your Air Force career. Depending on our current needs, you will either receive one of the jobs you expressed interest in or one that best serves your strengths and our mission.


Once you’ve passed all the requirements and tests and have been officially accepted into the Air Force, you’ll go into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), which means you’re waiting for your departure date for Basic Military Training (BMT). During this time, it’s a good idea to work on your physical conditioning to prepare for the challenges of BMT.

Duration: 8.5 weeks

Location: Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio

Benefits of the Air Force

Once joining the Air Force, every Airman is paid equally based on their rank and years of service. But your base salary is only part of the overall package you receive. The moment you put on this uniform you’re also eligible to receive additional compensation based on your job and where you are stationed as well as low-cost insurance, food, and housing allowances, 30 days vacation with pay yearly, tuition assistance, and a generous retirement package.


The Air Force provides our Airmen and their families with world-class insurance plans. They receive excellent rates, low cost, comprehensive medical and dental care at military or civilian facilities, full pay, allowances for sick days, and low-cost life insurance.


The Air Force takes care of the basic needs of every Airman. Living expenses, including utilities and maintenance, are covered for those who choose to live in on-base housing. A monthly tax-free housing allowance based on rank, family status, and geographic location is provided for off-base residents to help pay for living expenses.


The Air Force provides a generous retirement plan. Airmen are eligible to retire after 20 years of service and begin receiving benefits the day they retire. The Air Force retirement plan requires no payroll deductions. Those who’d like to save a little extra each month can take part in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)*, which allows participants to place a portion of their monthly pay into an account similar to a 401(k) investment plan.


Most Air Force bases have golf courses, arts and crafts facilities, bowling alleys, tennis courts, swimming pools, and even equipment rentals, which can be either used for free or at better rates than similar facilities or options off base.


After joining the Air Force, all Airmen receive 30 days of vacation with pay, during which they are free to travel and take time to explore local and foreign destinations. Airmen can take advantage of available space on Air Force aircraft to travel to many international destinations as well as almost any state in the U.S. For destinations near another military facility, they can enjoy hotel-quality lodging on base for a reduced cost.


The Air Force offers an array of educational opportunities so you can achieve your true potential. On day one you’ll be enrolled in Community College of the Air Force earning college credit starting with Basic Military Training. The Air Force also offers scholarships to outstanding Airmen who wish to attend or complete their college education. Or you can receive up to 100% tuition assistance through the Air Force Tuition Assistance program, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, or the Montgomery GI Bill.

Let’s see the top 10 Best Air Force Jobs in demand You Can Have to easily make the right decision before entering the Air Force!


What can disqualify you from joining the Air Force?

There are age, citizenship, physical, education, height/weight, criminal record, medical, and drug history standards that can exclude you from joining the military.

What is the Air Force mission?

The mission of the United States Air Force is to defend the United States of America and its global interests—to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace. We train for almost every imaginable contingency from terror attacks to global war to catastrophe relief. 

Where can I take the ASVAB?

Many high schools all over the U.S. offer the paper version of the ASVAB. In case your school does not offer the test, military recruiters can also help you find a location to take the ASVAB. The ASVAB test may be either at the local Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) with the computer version or at a satellite test site, which is known as a MET site with the paper-based version.

Please note that in the computer-based version, you’re not allowed to skip any questions and then return later to finish them.

To get ready for your coming exam, let’s take our free Air Force ASVAB Practice Test on this website. Thousands of free ASVAB practice questions will help you get 100% ready for your ASVAB test. Otherwise, you can practice offline with our applications that are available for both IOS and Android devices here:

Do men and women have to do the same fitness tests?

The obvious answer is yes. Both men and women must pass the basic fitness test to be eligible for enrollment. They must also pass the same annual fitness test. However, the necessary criteria may differ depending on age and gender.

How Does BMT Work?

The United States Air Force basic military training program (abbreviated BMT) includes 8 weeks of intense training (not including 4-5 in-processing days) designed to unlock an individual’s potential and produce the best airman possible.

Is there anything I should do before going to BMT?

Yes. The more fit you are when you come, the better your chances of avoiding injury and completing basic military training. Begin slowly and exercise at least 3 times per week. Concentrate your training on sit-ups, push-ups, and running 2 miles.

What Does the Airman Education and Commissioning Program Entail?

Active-duty airmen who’ve already completed at least 45 semester hours of college credit are eligible for the Airman Education and Commissioning Program. You can apply for this highly competitive program with such a head start. AECP allows active-duty airmen to pursue full-time studies in fields deemed critical by the Air Force, like computer engineering, computer science, electronic engineering, meteorology, and nursing.

AECP members are promoted to the rank of staff sergeant (E-5) while in school and receive the full Air Force wages and benefits, as well as money for tuition and books.

What Is the United States Air Force Academy?

The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs trains young men and women to be Air Force officers. Cadets study for four years to earn a bachelor of science degree. Academics, military training, athletic conditioning, and spiritual and ethical development are all prioritized. Academic classes include basic sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences. All cadets must finish a core curriculum of 91.5 semester hours within this framework. They can choose from one of 25 academic majors.

    Author Details
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    Marvin Shaw - ASVAB-Prep Writer

    Marvin Shaw is a homeschooling high school teacher and an ASVAB tutor. He's one of the creators of our ASVAB question collection. With his broad knowledge and a big love for the U.S. military, he's mentored hundreds of students to successfully enter the military.

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