Specialized Skills Training

Air National Guard: Drilling

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Air Force provides specialized skills training for Airmen who want to advance their Air Force careers. Airmen meeting the right criteria may attend specialized schools and leadership training. Ongoing training opportunities include tactical, technical, physical, and leadership development. These programs help Airmen to develop skills for an Air Force career and beyond.


Air National Guard Service members on drill status are eligible to receive ongoing Specialized Skills Training. Eligibility requirements vary according to the particular program.

Benefit Highlights

Technical Training / Career Field Specialties

The Air Force provides additional specialized technical training after Airmen complete basic training that focuses on technical skills Airmen need to perform in their career field specialties. Technical training is conducted in specialties such as: aircraft maintenance, missile maintenance, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, weather, personnel, cyberspace support, intelligence, firefighting, and space and missile operations.

The Air Force provides specialized training to individuals with specific skills i.e. Medical, Lawyers, Chaplains, and Music as required by the Air Force.

Specialized Schools

  • Airborne School (Basic Airborne Training) (Airborne Tab): Air Force Service members may attend the U.S. Army Airborne School located at the U.S. Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning Georgia. This course is designed to train Service members to become paratroopers. It develops the student's confidence through repetitious training so that the student can overcome the natural fear of jumping from an airplane; develop and maintain the high level of physical fitness required of a paratrooper, by rigorous and progressive physical training. Each student must satisfactorily complete 5 jumps from an aircraft while in flight. Entrance requirements for students can be found here. There are additional reporting requirements for Airmen for more information contact the Air Force Liaison Office at:

    Address: McGinnis-Wilkam Hall, Building 4, Room 3100
    Phone: 706-545-9733 / 9734
    DSN: 835-9733 / 9734

Pilot candidates then attend either Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, or Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; or Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

  • Chaplain School Air Force Chaplain Corps College: Located at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL provides education, training and resources to prepare Air Force Chaplains (52RX) to promote professional excellence and enhance the free exercise of religion for the United States Air Force Family. Chaplain Assistants (AFSC 5R0X1) receive instruction in crisis intervention, trauma pastoral care and pluralism and faith group support requirements to provide support to the Chaplains during missions and everyday activities. The Chaplain School is critical for the success of the Air Force missions. Commissioned candidates attend a 5 week training course at Maxwell Air Force Base.

  • Defense Information School

    Defense Information School: Located at Fort Meade, MD, teaches skills for creating editorial publications, radio programs, and television programs, produces outstanding Public Affairs and Visual Information personnel for the U.S. Department of Defense. Is responsible to grow and sustain a corps of professional organizational communicators who fulfill the communication needs of the military. DINFOS is a component of the Defense Media Activity (DMA).

  • Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) : The Institute, located in Monterey, CA, teaches oral and written fluency in a foreign language to use as a skill in Military Intelligence roles that involves listening in on communications or translating in the field. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) is regarded as one of the finest schools for foreign language instruction in the nation. As part of the TRADOC, the Institute provides resident instruction at the Presidio of Monterey in 24 languages, five days a week, seven hours per day, with two to three hours of homework each night. Courses last between 26 and 64 weeks, depending on the difficulty of the language.

  • Defense Equal Opportunity Management Insitiute (DEOMI)

    Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI): Located at Patrick Air Force Base, FL DEOMI's vision is, "An including force that values and develops all individuals and thrives on their contributions". It seeks to achieve this aim thorough innovative education, training, research and collaborative solutions to optimize total force readiness. DEOMI offers the following courses: Equal Opportunity Advisor, Disability Program Manager, Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Equal Employment Opportunity Professional "Entry", "Intermediate" and "Advanced" Courses, Equal Opportunity Specialist, Mediation Certification, Special Emphasis Program Managers, and Senior Leader Development Leadership Training Awareness Seminar. Resident and E-learning classes are offered for more information see the DEOMI website.

  • The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School: Teaches the complexities of practicing law with the Air Force including military law, criminal prosecution, international law, and legal assistance. The JAG Corps offers the unique opportunity of serving one's country while quickly developing professional skills. Your responsibilities will cover everything affecting military operations, focusing on the following areas: criminal law, legal assistance, civil and administrative law, labor and employment law, international and operational law, and contract and fiscal law. Requires Service member to have Law Degree and to have passed the Bar exam.

    • Commissioned Officer Training (COT): Located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. This five-week program focuses on physical conditioning, classroom studies and training on Air Force customs.

    • The Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course (JASOC): Located at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama. This nine-week course focuses on many areas of military law, including military justice, trial advocacy and adverse administrative actions involving military member and civilian employees.

  • Jumpmaster School: E-5 and above-The Army Jumpmaster School is open to Air Force Service members. A graduate must demonstrate proficiency in the jumpmaster personnel inspection by successfully inspecting two rigged jumpers and one combat equipped jumper in 5 minutes. Detailed information and training on: duties and responsibilities of the jumpmaster and safety; procedures for rigging individual equipment containers and door bundles; understanding and identifying personnel parachute components by their specific nomenclature and characteristics; procedures and standards required to conduct a jumpmaster personnel inspection; the duties and responsibilities of the drop zone safety officer; presentation of jumpmaster briefings and pre-jump training; and the execution of the duties of a jumpmaster from a USAF aircraft in-flight during a day/night combat equipment jump.

Pathfinder School: The mission of the Pathfinder School is to provide a three week course in which the student navigates dismounted, establishes and operates a day/night helicopter landing zone, establishes and operates a day/night CARP, GMRS, and Army VIRS parachute DZ, conducts slingload operations, provides air traffic control and navigational assistance to RW and FW airborne operations. Students participate in a three day FTX as a member of a Pathfinder Team.

Specifically Service members learn the following skills at Pathfinder School:

  • Navigate cross country on foot

  • Establish and operate a day/night helicopter landing zone

  • Establish and operate a day/night parachute drop zone

  • Conduct slingload operations

  • Aircraft rappelling

  • Provide air traffic control and navigational assistance to aircraft within an operational site control zone. The Army Pathfinder School is open to select Airmen reporting requirement can be found here .

  • Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion Training Insignia

    Ranger School: Army Ranger School, located at Fort Benning, GA teaches the fundamentals of small unit leadership and patrolling. Ranger School is the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school the Army has to offer. Trains both Officers and enlisted Service members through a two-month course on combat arms related functional skills necessary to lead difficult missions. Training at this school is available to select Airmen. It is a prerequisite for Service members to have completed Airborne School .

  • Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion Training (SERE): U.S. Air Force Survival School located at Fairchild AFB, Washington, provides SERE training to at risk of isolation personnel. Instruction concentrates on the principles, techniques and skills necessary to survive with confidence in any environment and return with honor.

  • U.S. Air Force Recruiting and School : Located at Lackland Air Force Base, TX- prepares Air Force Recruiters to maintain the strength of the force by helping high-quality recruits make the most of an Air Force career.

Specialized Skill Training Special Operations School Special Operations Schools: The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) is a primary support unit of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Air Force component of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The School is collocated with, and directly supports, USSOCOM's Joint Special Operations University. Courses are either Open-Enrollment, Self-Nomination or Commander-Nominated Courses see the Student Checklist for USAFSOS Enrollment for more information. Registration information can be found here.

Courses are available in the following areas:

  • Leadership Development

    • Flight Leadership Course: Mentorship-basic course comprised of three blocks of instruction focused on core competency of flight leadership. Duration 5 days.

    • AFSOC Leadership Development: Leadership development course for those that have demonstrated superior performance and show further potential to lead, command, and cultivate future SOCOM and AFSOC forces. Duration 5 days.

    • AFSOC Squadron Leadership Course: Comprehensive leadership course designed to ensure the success for future AFSOC Squadron Commanders and their Senior Enlisted Leaders. Mandatory for first-time squadron commanders. Duration 5 days.

  • Force Protection

    • Dynamics of International Terrorism: Exposure to terrorist threats and violent extremists. Strong emphasis on protective measures to minimize the threats to personnel/families. Duration 5 days.

    • SOF-AT2 SOF Antiterrorism Officer Level 2: A certification course for DoD antiterrorism officers designed to certify students as DoD ATO’s for an installation. Duration 5 days.

    • SOF-AT3 SOF Antiterrorism Officer Level 3: Satisfies AT3 requirements for SOF commanders in accordance with DoD regulations. Duration 1 days.

  • Warfighting

    • ISO Intro to Special Operations: An examination of AFSOC history, mission, and organization from a joint perspective. Duration 3 days.

    • SOFMC AFSOF Mission Command: An operational military educational seminar designed to prepare prospective AFSOC MC/SEL’s for duties deployed or off station. Duration 3 days.

    • SOF Air Command and Control Blended: The course exposes students to SOF doctrine concepts needed to work in a SOF C2 environment with emphasis on command relationships. Duration 10 hours of CBT’s and 3 days face to face.

  • Security Cooperation

    • Combat Aviation Advising: Educate personnel in the strategic, operational and tactical level mission objectives and force protection parameters when conducting aviation foreign internal defense tasks. Duration 15 days.

    • BPACS & BPACS-Spanish: Builds mutual understanding between U.S. and partner states of military and civilian aviation resource advantages. Presents U.S. capabilities for aviation security cooperation to strengthen allies and attract partners in accordance with U.S. National Defense Strategy. Duration 10 days.

  • Theater Engagement

    • AFRICOM Theater: Focuses on the strategic interests of the U.S. in the AFRICOM AOR as well as the creation of regional expertise and cultural understanding necessary for personnel to operate effectively. Duration 5 days.

    • CENTCOM Theater: Focuses on the strategic interests of the U.S. in the CENTCOM AOR as well as the creation of regional expertise and cultural understanding necessary for personnel to operate effectively. Duration 5 days.

    • EUCOM Theater: Focuses on the strategic interests of the U.S. in the EUCOM AOR as well as the creation of regional expertise and cultural understanding necessary for personnel to operate effectively. Duration 5 days.

    • INDOPACOM Theater: Focuses on the strategic interests of the U.S. in the INDOPACOM AOR as well as the creation of regional expertise and cultural understanding necessary for personnel to operate effectively. Duration 5 days.

  • Culture and Language

    • Intercultural Competencies: Exposes students to the mission essential military need to build intercultural competence to conduct Special Operations tasks for U.S. National Defense Strategy objectives. Duration 1 days.

    • Intercultural Skills for Engagement: Utilizes critical thinking to build knowledge and skill on cultural perspectives; educates and build skills on mission essential intercultural competence capabilities needed to conduct Special Operations tasks for U.S. National Defense Strategy objectives. Duration 5 days.

  • Academic Development

    • Methods of Instruction Course: Prepares instructors to develop and teach curriculum while creating active learning environments focused on higher levels of learning through the use of various teaching methodologies. Duration 10 days.

Leadership Training

Noncommissioned Officer Education System

  • 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 is the first level of the Enlisted Professional Military Education and prepares those in the rank of senior airman to be professional, warfighting Airmen who can supervise and lead Air Force work teams in the employment of air, space and cyberspace power. Completion is required to assume the grade of Staff Sergeant.

Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the second level of enlisted Professional Military Education and prepares technical sergeants to be professional, Airmen who can manage and lead Air Force units in the employment of Air and Space power.

    • Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (AFSNCOA): Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. The AFSNCOA is the third level of enlisted Professional Military Education. It prepares senior NCOs to lead the enlisted force in the employment of airpower in support of U.S. national security objectives.

The AFSNCOA Advanced Leadership Experience (ALE) is a resident program that consists of 200 classroom hours. The Advanced Leadership Experience prepares Senior NCOs for increased leadership responsibilities in the joint, combined, and interagency operating/strategic environment. Providing an education to help them become adaptable, critically thinking, and strategically relevant leaders in their operating environment.

Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Coarse: Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

The capstone and pinnacle level of Enlisted Professional Military Education this coarse consists of 165 hours of facilitated resident learning. The mission is to provide Chief Master Sergeants the education to bridge operational-to-strategic perspectives of the Air Force. Creating strategic-level leaders that will be equipped to inspire, effectively lead, manage and mentor our present day and tomorrow’s Airmen.

USAF First Sergeant Academy

The mission of the First Sergeant Academy is to develop, through education and training, selected senior noncommissioned officers to serve as advisors to commanders on issues that impact our Airmen in successfully accomplishing the Air Force mission. Students attend 20 days of resident study at the Academy.

Officer Education

The Education of Air Force Officers is a progressive and sequential education and training process that begins in the pre-commissioning phase and continues in schools through basic entry level, advanced level, intermediate command and staff level, and senior level. The system is comprised of the following opportunities:

  • Officer Training School (OTS): A four-phased, nine-and-a-half week program of initial entry training which develops junior officers into leaders. Upon completion of OTS, graduates receive the oath of office and are commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the Air Force.

  • Squadron Officer School (SOS): Squadron Officer School (SOS) is the Air Force’s center for company grade officer professional development. Squadron Officer School is a five-week in-residence course that delivers primary developmental education for captains from U.S. and allied militaries and civilian equivalents.

  • 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: The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) is a 50-week, follow-on school for selected graduates of intermediate-level Department of Defense professional military education schools. School of Advanced Air and Space Studies creates warrior-scholars with a superior ability to develop, evaluate, and employ airpower with the complex environment of modern war. Upon completion of all requirements and with faculty recommendation, graduates receive a Master of Philosophy degree in Military Strategy.

  • Air War College: Air War College 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.

  • Air Force Institute of Technology: The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education. A component of Air University and Air Education and Training Command, AFIT is committed to providing defense-focused graduate and professional continuing education and research to sustain the technological supremacy of America's air, space, and cyber forces. Since 2008, AFIT has been designated as the Air Force’s Cyber Technical Center of Excellence.

  • CAPSTONE: The CAPSTONE General and Flag Officer Course objective is to make these individuals more effective in planning and employing U.S. Armed Forces in joint and combined operations. The CAPSTONE curriculum examines major issues affecting national security decision making, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine, interoperability, and key allied nation issues.

  • eSchool of Graduate PME eSchool of Graduate PME: In an effort to deliver high quality, precision distance learning and professional education to the “Total Force”: officer and civilian equivalents the eSchool offers distance education programs in the following areas:

Online Master’s Degree Program (OLMP)

Additional Information

For more information, please see the ongoing training webpage maintained by the Department of the Air Force:

Air University

Air Education and Training Command

Document Review Date: 31 August 2021