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Posted: 4/14/2010 2:36:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2010 2:46:58 PM EDT by geneSW]
I'm going to be working on a BA in business with a AA in accounting (to start my own business when I get out in 20+ years) and I'm sitting here thinking... "self... if I get a BA, then why not go officer?", but I cannot come up with an answer. So ARFCOM .mil.... School me on OTS (apparently called BOT now according to my LT) and other officer stuff. The switch from enlisted to officer... anything and everything to do with it. Thanks.

ETA: I do have a family (Wife and a baby on the way) that I have to think about during all of this.
Link Posted: 4/14/2010 2:42:37 PM EDT
In addition to OCS, the Army offers a "green to gold" scholarship, where qualified enlisted soldiers are sent to ROTC. There is an active duty and a discharge option - in one you remain on AD and collect BAH while in school, in the other you are discharged and eligible for an ROTC scholarship.

I'm sure the AF offers something similar.

Link Posted: 4/14/2010 2:46:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mxpatriot51:
In addition to OCS, the Army offers a "green to gold" scholarship, where qualified enlisted soldiers are sent to ROTC. There is an active duty and a discharge option - in one you remain on AD and collect BAH while in school, in the other you are discharged and eligible for an ROTC scholarship.

I'm sure the AF offers something similar.

Yes they do and I've looked into it a little bit, but I think my best option (as far as my family as a whole is concerned) is going through OTS after I get my BA in 4 years. I will update my first post to include the family part as I just realized that would make a difference. Doh!
Link Posted: 4/16/2010 8:21:37 AM EDT
I'm interested in this as well. I am currently enlisted in the AF and have a B.A. degree. Some of the research I have done has yielded that the AFOQT has to be taken (Rated and Non-Rated sections regardless if you want a flying job) and a package submitted that is put before a board. Beyond that, my knowledge is minimal.
Link Posted: 4/16/2010 2:58:19 PM EDT
I did the OTS route back in 85 (ancient history) when the school was still located at the Medina Annex at Lackland.

I served eight years - as a Navigator on a C-130, seeing a good chunk of the world. I finally got caught up in the
RIF at the end of 92. I have spent the last 18 years as a civilian - working in the private sector.

Now to some points:

Do I miss it?...every damned day. I have never had a job that I loved more.
But I will say, with a wife and family, putting your degree to use in the civilian
sector will yield exponentially more monitary/security benefits than a military career.

If you're young enough, you can still put in your twenty and then start a second career.

We all serve for different reasons...but most experience the call to serve for personal, patriotic reasons - down in our gut.
You've served honorably already - nothing to prove in that regard. Further service is an option not only for you but for your
family too. Think about what is best for all. Think long and hard, for both options have rich rewards.

On one hand, you may regret missing out on the adventure of a lifetime; on the other, you may regret seeing your children grow -
a time of life that can never be recaptured.

I wish you luck in your decision. God bless.

And thanks for your service.

Link Posted: 4/19/2010 12:09:36 PM EDT
apparently there is very little information about this floating around here...
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 10:46:13 AM EDT
Are you active duty enlisted now, and trying to finish your degree so you can go to OTS, or are you looking at getting commissioned in the future at some point?

If the first, then you've got several options. 1) Finish the degree while on active duty and apply for OTS. 2) Apply for one of the early release programs that lets you go to ROTC for a few years, finish the degree, and get commissioned. 3) Get out, use GI bill benefits, and go for ROTC or OTS that way.

If the second, then you've got similar options, with ROTC being your best (read: highest percentage for selection) bet. OTS is generally easier to get into as non-prior enlisted than as prior enlisted, but those percentages fluctuate from year to year. OTS also has the fewest slots of all the commissioning sources. OTOH, you get to pick your career field before you go in to OTS, whereas ROTC is needs of the AF.

In either case, I'd suggest you get a technical degree, instead of a business degree. Technical degrees look better to the AF than non-technical degrees, so that puts you one step ahead of the competition. If you really want a business degree, go for something with a math background, like accounting, or something that relates directly to an AF officer career field. In both cases, do something besides school and work that makes you stand out. Volunteer for something. Join a school club or sport. Even better to lead some outside group to show that skill.

Officer recruiting is down right now, but that is cyclical. From what I understand, ROTC cadets are competing for the right to get slots and stay in the program. A couple years from now, who knows.

Drop me a note if I can try to help with more details.
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 10:53:33 AM EDT
AFROTC det commander here. USAF offers some very good programs to go enlisted to officer.

The best source is your base education office. They've got all the info on all the different programs.

OTS is one route. It's tough to get in. Especially looking at this next year, they're significantly cutting the number of beds available at OTS to reach authorized USAF end-strength, so there'll be much fewer slots available to the same (actually more, given the state of the economy) number of people competing for them. Your prior enlisted experience will help, but they're essentially taking tech degrees (chem, physics, math, comp science, and most of the engineering disciplines) and nursing degrees, and that's about it. If you've got a poly sci degree, your odds are pretty low.

There's (IIRC) three other routes available to active-duty airmen. All three involve some form of separating and going to AFROTC.

-AECP is where you stay active duty, but your "job" is to go to school. You appear at the local AFROTC det once a month in uniform (and every duty day during breaks) but otherwise you're in class like any other college student. You still have to meet physical, grooming and retention standards (no goatee, sorry). Once you graduate, you're off to OTS. AECP also leans heavily towards the engineering degrees for selection.

- NECP––same concept, but specifically for nursing degrees.

- ELA (formerly the Bootstrap program). You take a two-year leave of absence from the USAF in exchange for getting your degree. You get base pay but no allowances (BAH, BAS, etc.) and earn a two-for one active-duty service commitment (for every year you're gone, you owe Big Blue two). You also don't get additional tuition/ed cost assistance––you either use GI bill, or student loans/robbing banks.

Or you could completely separate, then apply through OTS or local ROTC detachment for admittance. In all honesty, ROTC is the way to go; your odds are much better than OTS and it's pretty easier for a prior-E to rise above the ranks of the fresh-out-of-high-school cadet who still can't find their dorm room two out of three times.

Hope this helps. Once again, go to the base ed office––they've got ALL the details, plus how to apply for these programs.

Good luck!

Link Posted: 4/20/2010 5:40:05 PM EDT
Thanks to both the replies above! Really appreciated.

I've got a family so leaving AD USAF isn't an option, nor would I want to anyways as being a Airman has been my dream from age 4. Sounds like OTS, while tougher, may be my best route. I'm just starting up in getting my BA, but it will be in business management w/ a minor in accounting for future use when I go to start my own business after 20+ years. Volunteer events won't be a problem as I've got plenty under my belt, and after a 1 year hiatus from it i'll be back at volunteer events again (JROTC tour guide for the base for example is one that I was doing and have over 60 hours from just 15 tours in about 3 months, over 250 JROTC students wowed). Is there any more specialized volunteer events I should begin to look at so I can build a solid package over the next 4 years? Thanks again for taking the time to help this Airman begin the long journey from enlisted to officer.
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 9:33:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/20/2010 9:33:39 PM EDT by cmdrstask]
Take a look here for OTS board results from last year. 865 applications, 308 selected...of which 162 were enlisted.

"As part of the selection process, board members review both objective and subjective factors. Objectively, the board considers each applicant's academic discipline, grade point average and Air Force Officer Qualifying Test scores. Subjectively, board members evaluate work experience, accomplishments, adaptability, character, leadership ability, potential for future growth and other recommendations. For active-duty enlisted members, performance reports and commanders' recommendations are also evaluated."

If you're going to be competitive as an airman, you'll want firewall 5s, high grades, good CC recommendation, and have shown leadership. That means volunteering at events like you mentioned is good, but leading them is better. Act as a committee chair for the squadron picnic, Christmas party, or annual awards banquet. Be the president of the Rising 4, or 5/6 club, or whatever level you happen to be at, etc.

If being an officer is your ultimate goal, you'll want to consider the ROTC programs as mentioned above, simply due to odds. In some of the cases, you'll still be on active duty (see Limaxray's post) and paid to go to school, so it doesn't hurt you to do that for a while. In other cases, you won't get paid, but ROTC offers scholarships to a lot of participants, and (I think) a monthly stipend to all contracted cadets. You could also get a civilian job while you go to school if you don't get one of the active duty AF positions. In any event, the same leadership and job performance that will get you into OTS will also help you here, so do the best you can at your job and work on volunteering and keeping the grades up.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 2:21:36 AM EDT
Yep, stipends are still given to contract cadets.

Also, read this.

This is what we are looking for out of an officer. Live the idea that you know how to carry a message to Garcia, and you'll do just fine as both an airman and an officer.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 7:56:50 AM EDT
Also, take a look here to see why OTS as a sole plan isn't the best idea...it takes up the slack for the other commissioning sources, and as such is variable in terms of manning.
Link Posted: 4/21/2010 3:19:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmdrstask:
Also, take a look here to see why OTS as a sole plan isn't the best idea...it takes up the slack for the other commissioning sources, and as such is variable in terms of manning.

Yep. USAF is about 1500 over this year's officer authorized end strength. They're fixing that by some targeted separations & crosstrainings, but the bulk is coming out of ROTC/OTS. They're moving the active-duty dates of about 700 cadets from this year into next, and to fix the bump that'll cause in next year's manning, they're cutting the majority of OTS classes out of next year.

ROTC is getting increasingly competitive. We've got more and more people competing for the same number of slots. This last selection board for the final two years of ROTC (where you're under contract to graduate/commission), the average selection GPA was 3.6 the average selection physical fitness score was an 86, and the overall selection rate was about 70% of those eligible. Still not as bad as for OTS (at one point last year they had a two-year waiting list for slots), but still increasingly competitive.
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