Air Education and Training Command (AETC)

Regular Air Force: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is the first step in every Airman's Career. Its mission: to recruit, train and educate Airmen to deliver 21st Century airpower, is realized through its recruiting service, basic military training, technical training, flight training,) and the Air University. Air University provides enlisted and officer training and education, enlisted career development, officer professional development, professional military education (PME), pre-commissioning training and graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education.  Air University includes Community College of the Air Force, Air Force Institute of Technology, the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development as well as other education centers.


All active duty Service members may be eligible for several Air Education and Training Command programs and services.

Benefit Highlights

Air Education and Training Command education and training programs include basic military training, technical training, expeditionary training, Air Advisor Academy, Aerospace Physiology Training Program, Flying Training (traditional pilot and Remotely Piloted Aircraft), Air Battle Manager Training, Weapons Director Training. The Second Air Force conducts basic military and non-flying technical training, and Expeditionary Training for Air Force, joint and coalition enlisted members and support officers. The Nineteen Air Force is responsible for Mission Oversight and Execution and conducts flying training execution, mentoring, safety, advocacy for subordinate units and security of operating environments. Additional training centers their education and training focus are listed below.

Air University
Air University (AU) provides the full spectrum of Air Force education, from pre-commissioning to the highest levels of professional military education, including degree-granting and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members, and civilian employees of government agencies. Air University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, conducts courses both in-residence and via distance learning. Additional information on the programs offered at Air University are listed below.

  • Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education
    The Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education discharges Air University's responsibility for the education of enlisted leaders throughout the Air Force. Since its inception in 1993 as the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education, the Barnes Center has been refining, adapting and deploying Professional Military Education curriculum for enlisted education in the Air Force. It now serves as the umbrella organization for all continental U.S. Air Force NCO Academies as well as the Community College of the Air Force, the Air Force Career Development Academy, the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute, the USAF First Sergeant Academy, the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy and the Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course

    • Airman Leadership School (ALS)

      Airman Leadership School is an Air Force education program held at base level to prepare senior airmen for positions of greater responsibility. The course, the first level of enlisted PME, teaches leadership skills required of supervisors and reporting officials throughout the Air Force. ALS enhances the development of senior airmen by strengthening their ability to lead, follow, and manage while they gain a broader understanding of the military profession. ALS is attended by Senior Airmen (E-4) and required for promotion to Staff Sergeant (E-5).

    • Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA)

      Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the second level of enlisted PME and prepares technical sergeants to be professional, war-fighting Airmen who can manage and lead Air Force units in the employment of airpower. 

    • Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (AFNCOA)

      Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the third level of enlisted PME.  AFSNCOA prepares senior NCOs to lead the enlisted force in the employment of airpower in support of US national security objectives. There is a single resident AFSNCOA located at Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex.

    • Chief Master Sergeant Leaders Course (CLC)

      The Chief Master Sergeant Leader Course (CLC) is the capstone and pinnacle level of enlisted professional military education (EPME).  The CLC provides Chief Master Sergeants the education to bridge strategic vision into tactical execution.  Throughout the program, the CLC emphasizes critical thinking and an enterprise-level view in order to educate, inspire, and develop Chief Master Sergeants into strategic-level leaders who effectively lead, manage, and mentor lethal and ready organizations. 

    • The Enlisted Professional Military Education Instructor Course (EPMEIC) strives to produce noncommissioned officers who can both teach and lead effectively in and out of the classroom. The curriculum is designed to heighten students' appreciation for and understanding of classroom fundamentals, technical skills associated with EPME classrooms, and the typical day-to-day performance expected of EPME professionals. EPMEIC teaches methodologies that are very specific to EPME and is considered the "gateway" for an EPME instructor.

    • Community College of the Air Force
      Community College of the Air Force

      The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is a federally-chartered degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force's enlisted total force. Community College of the Air Force offers and awards 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 of Air Force enlisted members. Air Force enlisted members are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force and begin earning college credit during basic military training. Through a unique combination of on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses, enlisted Service members work toward an associate degree in applied science in one of five career areas—aircraft and missile maintenance, electronics and telecommunications, allied health, logistics and resources or public and support services. College credit is earned by completing courses and performing the job.

      • Education Services:
        Through Community College of the Air Force, the Air Force provides academic advice and offers financial assistance to Airmen in planning and pursuing their educational goals. Education services offices are composed of professional educational administrators, guidance counselors, academic advisors, education technicians/specialists and test examiners. Education services personnel support active Air Force installations, Community College of the Air Force advisors work with the Air National Guard (ANG) and training technicians assigned to the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) to counsel students and serve as the direct link between students and the administrative center. These counselors guide students toward degree completion and work with civilian collegiate institutions to arrange for course offerings needed to satisfy Community College of the Air Force degree requirements. Community College of the Air Force advisors and training technicians coordinate education services for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command personnel.

      • Testing Services
        Community College of the Air Force Education services personnel also administer the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests and Excelsior College Examinations.

  • Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development
    The Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development coordinates leadership and policy direction for the Air Force's officer recruiting, training, and commissioning programs at Officer Training School and at Air Force ROTC detachments, and the Air Force's high school citizenship training program. The Holm Center staff manages, supports and develops curriculum to train tomorrow's Air Force officers.

  • Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education
    Air University’s officer Professional Military Education (PME) schools is overseen by the Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education. Spaatz Center prepares students from the Air Force, its sister services and allied nations for more responsible positions as they progress through their careers. Emphasis in these programs includes leadership, military doctrine, and air and space power.

    • Squadron Officer School

      The Squadron Officer School (SOS) in-residence program is a 6.5-week educational experience for USAF captains. The purpose of the program is to help develop solution-minded, bold and courageous Airmen ready to overcome today's and tomorrow's challenges. In order to accomplish this task, the course is structured around four primary areas (1) leadership, (2) building highly effective teams, (3) logical and ethical reasoning in decision making, and (4) multi-domain joint warfare. Students will engage in classroom and hands-on application events that will challenge their individual leadership awareness, foster innovative thinking, provide effective methods for conflict resolution, and collaboratively solve problems

    • Air Command and Staff College

      Air Command and Staff College is the Air Force's intermediate officer Professional Military Education school preparing field grade officers of all U.S. services (primarily majors), international officers, and U.S. civilians to assume positions of higher responsibility within the military and government arenas. Geared toward teaching the skills necessary for air and space operations in support of a joint campaign, as well as leadership and command, the courses focus on shaping and molding tomorrow’s leaders and commanders.School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Insignia

    • School of Advanced Air and Space Studies

      The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) is a one-year in-residence graduate school for strategists culminating is the completion of a Master of Philosophy degree in Military Strategy. For a select cadre of top graduates, a Doctor of Philosophy in Military Strategy is offered. The emphasis is not on military operations, per se, but rather on the strategic nexus where military and security professionals interact with decision makers on policy, diplomacy, international relations, geopolitics, and matters of military and political theory. Air, space, and cyber-minded officers are educated to become strategists at the national level where the military tool--airpower in particular--is contemplated as one of several instruments of power that may (or may not) be appropriate for achieving national objectives.

    • Air War College

      Air War College Air War College (AWC) resident program is the senior school in the Air Force Professional Military Education system preparing officers from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (primarily lieutenant colonels), international officers, and civilians of equivalent rank from U.S. government agencies to serve as strategic national security leaders. All US students are dually enrolled in the AWC senior-level professional military education (PME) program and the Master of Strategic Studies degree program; therefore, they must meet admission requirements for the master's degree.

Medical Services Training
The Physician Education office manages all physician undergraduate and graduate programs sponsored by the Air Force. This involves monitoring the training progress of all allopathic & osteopathic students in the Health Professions Scholarship Program and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences as well as residents and fellows in active duty and deferred graduate medical education programs. The office organizes and conducts the Air Force's annual Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board and administers the Air Force continuing medical education program for the Office of the Surgeon General, providing continuing medical education through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

Air Force Culture and Language Center
The Air Force Culture and Language Center creates and executes language, region and cultural learning programs for Total Force Airmen. The Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) is a career-spanning program to develop a cadre of Airmen across all specialties with working-level foreign language proficiency and cross-cultural competency.

Air Force Survival School
Air Force Survival School
conducts Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training (SERE). The 336th Training Group at Fairchild AFB, Washington, provides Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training to at risk of isolation personnel.  This 5 ½ months of intensive training requires a level of dedication most people simply do not have. You'll learn to be a survivalist, and at the same time, learn to be an instructor. You'll learn to survive and thrive in multiple environments - the mountains, desert, tropics and open ocean. Approximately three months of this training will be in the field. Training and instruction occurs in all major climatic conditions, often in remote locations and in all possible weather conditions. You'll also become an expert in wilderness first aid, rough land evacuation and hand-to-hand combat. You also earn approximately 47 semester hours toward an associate's degree through the Community College of the Air Force