Flight Career Prep

Aim High

Many people dream of flying in the U.S. Air Force. Flight-related careers in the Air Force are referred to as “rated” career fields. These consist of Pilots, Combat Systems Officers (CSO), Air Battle Managers (ABM), and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Pilots. Explore the information below to see what you can do to maximize your chances of obtaining one of these prestigious careers.

JUNIOR YEAR OF AIR FORCE ROTC

If you’re medically qualified and desire a rated career, you must compete for a rated officer allocation about 15 months prior to graduation from college and commissioning. During the fall term of your junior year, your detachment staff will assist you in applying for a rated career. In order to ensure that you are qualified to compete for a rated slot, you must first:

  • Have a completed physical (coordinated with Air Force ROTC and completed by November of your junior year) confirming you are medically certified for a rated career field. This is in addition to the DoDMERB physical exam you complete previously.
  • Pass the Air Force Officer Qualification Test.
  • Take the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS).
    • Pilots need minimum pilot score of 25.
    • Combat systems officers need minimum combat systems officer score of 25.

The cutoff date for submitting updated information to your package is normally the second week of February during the spring semester of your junior year. Please check with your detachment for the exact date.

SENIOR YEAR OF AIR FORCE ROTC

Once selected, you will be able to gain more insight into being a Pilot in the Air Force through base visits, air shows, and other direct interactions with current Air Force pilots. Specific duty assignments will be made prior to commissioning, based on individual qualifications and desires, and the needs of the Air Force.

Selection Process

To compete for a pilot or combat systems officer allocation, you need to:

  • Be enrolled full-time in a school that offers Air Force ROTC and qualify for the program.
  • Meet all medical and physical requirements.
  • Maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
  • Receive a waiver for any civil involvement (for example, speeding tickets, minor infractions, etc.).
  • Be commissioned before your 29th birthday.
Air Force Qualification Test

Achieve qualifying scores on the Air Force Officer Qualification Test, a standardized test similar to the SAT and ACT that is used to select applicants for officer commissioning programs or specific training programs.

It is a required test for all cadets on scholarship or in the Professional Officers Course (POC).

Prerequisites

Interested in flying? See some of the general qualifications below. Once in Air Force ROTC, cadets must pass a Flying Class 1 Flight Physical.

Pilot & Combat Systems Officer
  1. Normal color vision
  2. Uncorrected distant vision cannot exceed 20/200
  3. Uncorrected near vision cannot exceed 20/40
  4. Both distance and near vision must correct to 20/20 or better
  5. Corrective eye surgery could be a disqualifier
  6. Meet refraction, accommodation, and astigmatism requirements
  7. Meet Air Force weight and physical conditioning requirements
  8. No history of hay fever, asthma, or allergies after age 12
  9. Standing height of 64 to 77 inches and sitting height of 34 to 40 inches
Air Battle Manager & REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT (RPA) PILOT
  1. Normal color vision
  2. Uncorrected distant vision cannot exceed 20/800
  3. There is no standard for uncorrected near vision
  4. Both distance and near vision must correct to 20/20
  5. Corrective eye surgery could be a disqualifier
  6. Meet refraction, accommodation, and astigmatism requirements
  7. Meet Air Force weight and physical conditioning requirements
  8. No standing or sitting requirement
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