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August Shirt Blast

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Alex Gross
  • 169th Fighter Wing

Hello Swamp Foxes and welcome to August Drill! With the new school year just around the corner, this blast will focus on education. More specifically the Community College of the Air Force. Before we get started, I would be remiss if I didn't address the recent change in policy for E-8 promotion. Recently the requirement to hold an associate degree from the CCAF has been replaced with a requirement to hold an associate degree or higher from a nationally or regionally accredited academic institution (Ref: AFH 36-2618 This will come as great news to many of our Swamp Fox Airmen! That said, if you do not hold a college degree of any type, the Associate in Applied Science Degree from the CCAF is still the path of least resistance toward achieving this goal. 

Not worried about rank? Ok, how about your bank account? I have heard that a degree is just a piece of paper more times than I care to think about; but so is cash and having one leads to more of the other. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports earnings for a high school diploma at $35,000 per year and an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent versus an associate degree at $41,000 per year and an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. That's a $500 per month difference. In most cases, THE DEGREE IS FREE! People outside the military are paying up to $23,000 for this!

Let's touch on some general facts and misconceptions:

- Think the CCAF Associate in Applied Science isn't a real degree? WRONG. The CCAF is under Air University and is regionally accredited through Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The CCAF holds the same accreditation as the University of South Carolina, University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, University of Florida and about 20 pages of other schools (nearly 800 schools in all).

- We use the term CCAF degree, but this actually means an associate in applied science in a given field from the Community College of the Air Force. The term CCAF degree is Air Force jargon, which is perfectly fine between Airmen; just realize people outside of the Air Force may give you a goofy look when you say you have your CCAF degree. Its equivalent to saying I have my University of XYZ degree versus saying I have an associate degree from University of XYZ.

- The CCAF mission is to "Offer and award job-related associate in applied science degrees and other academic credentials that enhance mission readiness, contribute to recruiting, assist in retention, and support the career transitions and professional growth of the Air Force enlisted corps."

- "But Shirt I already have a higher level degree." AWESOME! Why not get your CCAF as well? It's usually just a matter of sending your transcripts over to the CCAF for review. It's not too complicated and could have a significant, positive impact on your career. It certainly won't hurt.

- You can only complete the degree as an enlisted member and as an actively participating member whether that be through active duty, Air National Guard, or Reserves.

- CCAF has been around since April 1, 1972.

Next month we'll go deeper into some of the programs the CCAF offers. It's not just associate in applied science degrees. There's much more. Stay tuned!

I hope this has been helpful; please feel free to discuss this topic with your peers, supervisors, and subordinates, you never know who it could help. Thanks for your time and all you do!