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161st Air Refueling Wing’s New Year, New You Series: Education

New recruit Chandler Camarena, reads a brochure about the Community College of the Air Force. Chandler’s New Year’s resolution is to further his education. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin)

New recruit Chandler Camarena, reads a brochure about the Community College of the Air Force. Chandler’s New Year’s resolution is to further his education by using resources provided while serving in the Arizona Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin)

Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Ariz. --

Many Airmen have a New Year’s resolution to further their education, but don’t know how or where to get started. The Air Force provides numerous tools, which enable Airmen to advance their education, and by knowing where to start any Airmen can graduate to their resume.   

The Air Force Virtual Education Center (https://afvec.us.af.mil - Military Common Access Card required) helps Airmen advance their education by offering a wide array of on-line services empowering Airmen to actively participate in all aspects of education advancement. The website includes various tools including the Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program, which provides tools to help Airmen navigate civilian credentialing opportunities, and the Air University-ABC, which offers numerous online academic support services.

 “Your military service is already giving you a step forward in education as your military service provides some of the credit you will need for a Community College of the Air Force degree,” said Master Sgt. Kevin J McQuarrie, 161st Air Refueling Wing education and training manager. “For example, Airmen need six credit hours of leadership management and military studies, which your Professional Military Education will cover. Also, Basic Military Training provides the required four semester hours of physical education.”

Another way to quickly move ahead, is to take a College Level Examination Program test. These standardized tests assess college-level comprehension; providing college credits without taking a college course.

“The first CLEP is free if you take it at an active military base such as Luke Air Force Base however, subsequent tests do cost money,” McQuarrie said. “If you take and pass a CLEP test, it automatically gets sent to the CCAF.”

He said furthering your education will help you in your military career advancement and you should complete your PME, at each level of advancement, as soon as possible.

“Always be ready for the next level and you will never be passed up,” McQuarrie said.

Each Airmen also has a Joint Services Transcript that provides a description of military schooling and work history in civilian language. JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education to validate a service member's military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations.

The JST is accepted by more than 2,300 colleges and universities and can be accessed by logging into the JST website. From there Airmen can view, print and share JST transcripts selected college or university to be applied to any degree program.

Regardless of what path an Airmen chooses to obtain a higher education, their military service can help get them to graduation day.