What are the Air Force Requirements?

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  • Written By: A. Gabrenas
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  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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Air Force requirements are certain criteria a person must meet before being able to enlist in this branch of the U.S. military. The requirements can vary depending on the type of work a person wants to do once he or she gets into the Air Force, but they typically include age, education, physical, intellectual and residency status components. A candidate may need to submit to professional examination and take certain tests to certify eligibility. After the initial enlistment, individuals must usually meet certain additional Air Force requirements to pass basic training and to remain in the military.

The most basic Air Force requirements include age, education and weight. Typically, candidates for general enlistment must be at least 17 years old, but not older than 28, and have either a high school degree or general education diploma (GED). Candidates looking to join as officers generally need to be at least 17, but not older than 35, and have a four-year college degree. In general, a candidate must also be at a healthy weight, as determined by consulting a special table issued by the Air Force that lists the maximum weights in pounds for set heights in inches. Candidates that exceed these maximums are usually not allowed to enlist in the Air Force, though they may try again once they have lost weight.


Other physical Air Force requirements relate to vision and health. Typically a candidate must meet certain visual acuity requirements, which may vary depending on the job he or she wants to do. People who want to be pilots, for example, have to meet stricter requirements, generally having vision that is no worse than 20/70 and that can be corrected to near perfect, or 20/20, vision. Candidates must also generally meet certain health standards, which are often verified during a medical assessment. Certain medical conditions may prevent people from enlisting in the Air Force, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the situation.

Another Air Force requirement is to successfully complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which tests a person's intellectual ability in key areas, including verbal, mechanical and mathematical skills. The minimum overall passing score for high school graduates in a 36, while the minimum overall score for a person with a GED is a 65. Additional specific minimum scores in certain areas of aptitude, such as electronics or mechanics, may be required depending on what career path a person hopes to pursue.

After a person enlists in the Air Force, he or she will usually then attend basic training. At the end of this training, he or she is required to complete the last of the Air Force requirements: the fitness test. In general, candidates must run 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) in a certain amount of time and do a certain number of push-ups and sit-ups. The exact requirements usually vary based on gender and age.

In addition to meeting the fitness requirements at the end of basic training, most Air Force personnel are required to retake the fitness test on a regular basis. Weight and waist size are also generally assessed on a regular basis. Personnel must generally meet the standards set in all three of these areas to remain in good standing in the Air Force, including to maintain the option to reenlist.


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