An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

CMSAF vision for training, college comes case by case

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For those in upgrade training who want to attend college, the option to pursue both at the same time is encouraged by Air Force leadership, but still remains a privilege for responsible Airmen, not a right.

Historically, Air Force supervisors have required Airmen to finish their job specialty training before going on to take classes or obtain college credit through standardized tests.

The Air Force is now challenging that tradition. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rod McKinley encourages Airmen to quickly pursue their Associates Degree through the Community College of the Air Force. It's because Developing Airmen through the pursuit of college education has been recently identified by Air Force leadership as a priority of the Air Force.

This guidance comes in response to an average of 10 years for Airmen to complete their CCAF according to the Air Force Personnel Center, a number the chief said he wants to reduce to about 4 years.

Since Airmen can take up to a year to complete their Career Development Courses once receiving them, a supervisor who prohibits concurrent study may delay college by 13 or 14 months.

The CMSAF's position is that the old Air Force concept of no college classes while in upgrade training is rapidly fading as the force evolves into the most educated fighting force to date, said Master Sgt. Adam McComb, Vandenberg Career Assistance Advisor.

The objective of having well-educated Airmen will only be met as long as they succeed in both training and college. For those who can only succeed in one at a time, the Airman will have to give up college and focus on their CDCs.

"Career training will always be a priority," Sergeant McComb said. "If the Airman starts to do badly, college will be one of the first things that have to go."

And when the Air Force wants educated, financially responsible Airmen, dropping a college course is counter-intuitive.

"Failure hurts financially and academically, damages transferability, and takes a significantly long time to repair a grade point average," said Jacquelyn Crutchley, an education counselor with the Vandenberg Education Center.

She advises against actions that would damage a college record, saying it's better a person doesn't take on more than they are capable of.

"You want to be successful in your career, so it's better to take them one at a time and master it," she said. "Once you are proficient in one area, you can transition into another."

Success in both upgrade training and college education results in a stronger force. So, to align with Chief McKinley's vision to develop Airmen, supervisors may continue to follow the unwritten rule; that Airmen in upgrade training won't pursue college so they won't fail either or both.

For mature and responsible Airmen, however, supervisors may elect to let them take a class or CLEP test and earn a few credits early. The decision to deny an Airman concurrent training and college need not be based on the tenet, "that's the way it's always been done".